Monthly Archives: April 2014

Jillian Tamaki – SuperMutant Magic Academy

Love Story

Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy captures all of the teen angst you’ll find at a school for magical mutants — or any school at all. The comics follow groups of mutant school kids on their various day to day activities, although the comics follow weird people and goings on they “all at once totally surreal and completely relatable for anyone who went to high school”.

I find the comics really funny because they’re so simplistic in design which matches the everyday kind of problems and humour portrayed in the comics. “A huge portion of the strips basically ignore that the students can fly or turn invisible or have magic wands and shows them going through regular teen angst and emotional upheavals.”. The fact that they are everyday problems and ‘ignore’ the ‘superpowers’ of the characters make the comics more relatable but the inclusion of mutants and superpowers make the comics and situations easier to laugh at, I think.

Almost SeventeenSnowwoman


Might Be Love




In this modern day and age ‘selfies’ have become a form of empowerment for younger girls everywhere. Vloggers such as in the video above have taken a stance on making the ‘selfie’ a thing that makes people feel beautiful, rather than a mark of vanity.

At the Saturday Girl: Women Visibility and Playful Acts conference I attended at Munroe House, Joan Murtell talked about a project she was doing with a young girls group which involved ‘selfie’ taking. She found that the girls mainly deleted all the photos they took of themself, and thought that perhaps the ability to pick, choose and edit the photos they take is where the empowerment in ‘selfie’ taking comes from.

Brands such as Dove have noticed the empowering nature of the ‘selfie’ and have created a project out of it for their Real Beauty Campaign.

In the campaign girls and their mothers take selfies that are put in a public exhibition “visitors are encouraged to leave Post-It notes on the portraits, which compliment the very features the women are self-conscious of.” This helps to encourage the stance that all bodies (or faces) are beautiful and natural and that “women are often too critical of their looks”. These kind of adverts, I think are helpful because they give a less distorted view of beauty in the world. By using both mothers and daughters it makes the message of the video more applicable to different generations as women of all ages are told there are problems with them so they’ll buy whatever product.

Dove have been criticized  not for their Real Beauty Campaign but due to the fact the company they are owned by also own Lynx/Axe and Slimfast with have conflicting messages with slimfast encouraging weight loss and lynx’s sexualisation of the model body. //March 1st 2014 // Kate Knibbs // June 30th 2010 // ‘The Week Staff’ //April 18th 2013 // Elena // January 23rd 2014 // Brogan Driscoll




ONEQ is a Japanese artist  “pulling inspiration from both traditional Japanese comic book art and American pin-up photography, her work simultaneously has the feeling of being vintage yet contemporary through the combination of digital rendering techniques with classic pin-up poses. “  Her influences are visible in her work even though they may be subtle additions to the image. The pin up influence is readily apparent as most of her work features a female figure who is beautiful and has the same kind of pose and minimal clothing as displayed in classic pin up imagery. Though ONEQ’s pin-ups definitely have a more modern twist to them.

Similarly to the classical pin up the women in ONEQ’s drawings are oozing with confidence,  which you can tell from their expressions and poses. They look as if they are flaunting their sexuality but they also look as if they are in complete control, which I think could be seen as a strong influence for female viewers. Perhaps the character of the image can be empowering despite being just a drawing. ONEQ says in an interview with Supersonic  ” Another influential to me is Simon Bisley. He is an American comic artist and the way he portrays women in his artwork, with their strength equal to their feminine qualities, was extremely influential on me. After discovering his work, I began portraying the strength of women as well as their beauty in my art.” I think that the merging of strength and beauty in her work is clear, as I said before the confidence and control portrayed in the characters adds to the strength. Not a single women in her images looks weak, and she enhances the strength by normally portraying the woman alone, I feel that this in a way sends the message that women are strong and beautiful by themselves and could suggest that they don’t need anyone to ‘save’ them as if they are weak or a ‘damsel in distress’. This is an excellent message, the ideas behind ONEQ’s work give great feminist messages subtly.

I have looked at Sailor Jerry style pin-up drawings and I find that the aims of those drawings are similar to these in the way that they simplify the human form but still convey a great amount of character and detail.ONEQ says about manga artist Rumiko Takahashi “Her designs were simple and interesting, this is the style I use today.”

The classic pin up was mainly designed for men to look at, what I like about these images is that since they have been created in a modern era by a female they have not been created for mens viewing pleasure, they’ve just been created for great art! I find the first image displayed above particularly fabulous as the woman  has been drawn to be doing her own thing, her expression and body shows she is preoccupied reading her book and she could not give a hoot what anyone thinks of her.

I think the Japanese influence is most apparent in the above image as the characters tattoo, white clouds behind and black clouds in front of them are reminiscent of the style used in traditional Japanese art. I also think the scales that feature on some of the girls’ body and outfits relate to some mythical creatures portrayed in Japanese art, for example dragons and the feathers on some birds.

The colour schemes that ONEQ uses in her work is also somewhat reminiscent of traditional Japanese art. The sepia toned background adorned with vibrant reds and greens is somewhat similar to that style but she also does some pieces that have even more varied colours such as brighter purples and greens which make it look more modern and futuristic, which contrasts with the sepia tones which give a more vintage effect.


ONEQ’s work is relevant to my project in a few different ways. Firstly she creates modern pin ups which have a feminist aura to them due to the portrayal of strong, confident, beautiful women. She also adds some monster/mythical type creatures into her work such as mermaids, and adding fangs and/or claws to her women. It is mainly the pin-up element that is relevant here but I find it interesting that there were some monster-types included. // Posted February 29th 2012 // By Russ Crest // Posted 14th June 2012 // Interview by/Posted by Zach Tutor // Posted 6th April 2013 // Written/Curated by Zach Tutor

Saturday Girl – Casey Orr

Saturday Girl is a series of portraits of young women specifically as seen through their hairstyles.

All of the photographs are taken on Saturday afternoons in a pop up studio in Leeds, UK and on Saturdays this city brims with young women, out with friends, shopping and generally hanging around looking and being looked at. 

These girls are experimenting with fantastically creative ways of expressing themselves. We have always dyed and cut, sprayed and shaved; as a way of stating individuality and belonging to a tribe. All this big hair also reflects past trends in hair fashion, passed down to them intuitively through culture.

Saturday Girl is an exploration of what hair means culturally and personally to young women and how they experience and use the power inherent in becoming visible as women.

This synopsis by the Artist Casey Orr is interesting. I love the way she describes the hairstyles as ‘belonging to a tribe’ as that gives a kind of ritualistic and spiritual meaning to girls’ hair and suggests how highly girls’ regard their looks or individuality. By calling it a tribe Orr suggetss a sense of unity between funky haired girls, like the sense of unity I am trying to portray through my monster girls.

Image for Saturday Girl: Casey Orr

I particularly like this image as the girls hair blends into her coat and kind of makes her look like a yeti, very relevent to my project. The colour gradient from light to black draws the viewer through the image and is emphasized by the model looking down.

Her works focus around the girls’ hair but as a lot of the pictures are taken up close the imperfections of the girls are somewhat highlighted in the images, especially when they were displayed. One one you can see the girls dye on her face from the night before. At the Saturday Girl conference the Artist said that despite their flaws being pictured in the photographs they didn’t mind them being displayed as when they saw the images it was ‘more like they were an art piece, like a painting’ than just a ‘selfie’ or a photo taken by a friend.

I love the fact that the series doesn’t erase anyone and there are loads of different looking girls with different bodies, ethnicities and styles. Although it was not the aim of the artist these works could help girls feel good about their looks as they can see people with similar styles etc in works of art.

The project was supposed to sum up what’s meant to be a young woman in Leeds and I think it does this well. There’s representation of different styles of girls, and the diversity of the models definitely sums up the diversity of Leeds.


Michael Michael Motorcycle

Michael Michael Motorcycle started off his art  ‘career’ making flyers for his and his friends bands he now continues to make band posters and has a wonderful style.

Michael Michael Motorcycle’s posters are really quirky and fun. He has a recognisable style that unites all of his work. The posters he creates remind me very much of circus posters, with intricate writing and bright vibrant colours. Although he has a style it seems like he tries to match up the imagery with the band it is advertising. Above, Danzig has heavier block, text and more mythologically inspired imagery which relates to the rock/metal sound of Danzig. Below the Cure’s poster is more light and bouncy, it’s quite dream-like in a way which reflects the cure’s lighter music.

In Swag 2: Rock Posters from the 90’s and beyond it was stated that he screenprints most of his posters, I find that impressive as in his pieces he uses at least 5-7 colours in one piece.

Maya Kern

Maya Kern illustrates and writes an online comic called ‘Monster Pop’ ” Monster Pop! is set in an alternate Earth where monsters coexist with humans”. Monster Pop follows two friends, and various other  monster type characters. Like Jillian Tamaki’s “Supermagic Mutant Academy” Kern’s monsters are “instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations”.  The characters are often going through events that everyday teenagers do, making them very relatable and engaging for teenagers. In the image below the Cyclops character ‘George’ wears a magic hat to appear as if she has two eyes to fit in with ‘normal’ people.

Kern says “My least favorite thing about anime and about shoujo manga is how much all the characters look alike. You get all these chances to make different characters, and they all look the same. Why would you want to draw the same thing, the same face, all the time?”. I  think that this feeling has sparked Kern to create vastly different characters and what’s better to make characters different than monsters! Her earlier Monster Pop comics appear to have more of an anime/manga inspiration, the hair shape and eye shape of George is very reminiscent of manga characters as her eyes are large and have the ‘shine’ that is typically used in manga.

Her style has since developed to more 2D shapes with block colour. I think this is a really cute style, it’s also a lot sharper than her earlier work. She has retained the same qualities in the character so the cute, shy looking, cyclops is obviously George but I find the newer style more appealing to look at as the block colours help to highlight areas of the image, for example having brighter colours on the character draws the viewer to the darker outline of the eye.

“What I want to do with it is take people who don’t usually get treated ‘normally’ and treat them normally,” she said when describing her approach to Monster POP!. “Treat women as people, treat gay people as people, treat everyone as people – they’re all people and they’re all normal, but usually when you have [a character] who’s not the white cis heterosexual dude, they make a big deal out of it, it has to be a big deal, and they get marginalized and they don’t get treated the same, and the rewarding part is when people see what I’m doing with that, trying to treat everyone as normal.” The  ideas behind Monster Pop I find very interesting as Kern has found a way of representing people subtly, which helps to remove problems of certain demographics not being representned.

This is relevent in my project as I am also trying to represent people without making anyone feel left out by not representing them, I feel like this is easy to do via monsters as they are clearly not human but have relatable human characteristics.

Kern did this comic  captioned ‘cute underwear is the best cure for low self esteem’. This is a cute body confident comic that I find very relevent to my project. I like the way it starts off looking like the girl should be criticizing her body when she looks at it but in the end she’s more positive about it. The illustrations are cute and simple and by using a pink colour scheme she has kept it feminine and again cute!

Kern’s characters are instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations. I

Read More: Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks & Rec’ Even More Adorable [Art] |

Kern’s characters are instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations. I

Read More: Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks & Rec’ Even More Adorable [Art] |

Kern’s characters are instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations. I

Read More: Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks & Rec’ Even More Adorable [Art] |

Kern’s characters are instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations. I

Read More: Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks & Rec’ Even More Adorable [Art] | // Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks and Rec’ Even more Adorable //  Lauren Davies // September 2nd 2012 // Featured Artist Maya Kern of Monster POP // Felizia // October 7th 2013