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Girls Drawing Girls at Meltdown

Okay guys, the animation-geek social event of the summer is here. On Saturday night, Meltdown Comics in Hollywood is hosting a really cool art show to celebrate the just-published 2010 pin-up calendar created by Girls Drawin’ Girls.

The Girls are a collective of over 30 female animation artists, who include animator Anne Walker, Simpsons director Nancy Kruse and designer Anand Duncan – among many others.

The opening night party is this Saturday, August 15th, 7pm-11pm at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd. The gals promise an awesome show “with tons of fantastic artists, fantastic ladies, and fantastic good times”. For more information, visit the website.

  • Paul Villeco

    There’s something really disconcerting about the entire girls-drawing-girls thing. It seems really exploitive.

  • Hey Paul- as a member of GDG, have you read through our mission statement and what we actually do? The entire point of the group is to bring women working in animation and entertainment (itself a male-dominated industry) and create are based on our take of sexuality and femininity via pin-up art.

    We’re taking the whole “exploitative” thing and turning it on it’s head- bringing it to a woman’s perspective. : D

  • Paul Villeco

    I don’t doubt that’s your intent. But it still reads like a take of sexuality and femininity as defined by heterosexual male interests. I can’t say I’ve seen the entire body of the group’s work, but from what I’ve seen, I think it’d come off as a little less exploitive if it celebrated the way women actually look, outside the male fantasy image; or if it showed a greater diversity in female body-types, big nosed girls, chubby girls, hairy girls, muscular girls, morbidly obese girls; or if it took female objectification to a level so ridiculous, it parodied the whole concept.

    I don’t really see much that, honestly. I don’t mean to shit on anyone who just wants to have a good time drawing sexy ladies and getting exposure out of it, but the impression I get is that you girls are selling your sex more than your talent, and it’s something that alienates a number of extremely talented women who feel the same is expected of them.

  • It WOULD be nice if there were a few more thick, or hairy, or big nosed, etc girls in the books. I disagree with the implication that they wouldn’t necessarily be as pretty or sexy as the typical mainstream fantasy image, too. But hey, the girls will draw what they want. One doesn’t see many men drawing many unusually skinny, hefty, or out of the norm fellas outside of comedy, either, so eh.

    I wish I were down in Hollywood. This is the kind of show I love, and I never seem to catch them when one goes down in the Bay Area.

  • Joe

    I think it sucks that guys can draw what they want with no criticism but women are held to a different standard. How many sexy pinups are drawn in the industry by guys and no one questions it.

  • Don’t know what Paul’s been looking at, but the women I know aren’t all drawing the same type of woman.

    What type of woman I draw is different from the type of woman Daisy draws which is different from the type of woman Danni draws which is different from the type of woman Melody draws and on and on and on…

    I think Joe’s got it right when he says that women are being held to a different standard when it comes to pinups.

  • Anne

    Thanks for posting this, Jerry! :)

    Looking forward to seeing everyone at the show!

  • Anne

    Paul – Speaking for myself, I draw cute girls, because I like drawing cute girls. I really don’t think too much into it. If members of my industry want to objectify me, let them. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time, and if it’s the fault of what I draw, well, I really don’t give a damn. I’ll draw what I want, and I’ll continue to draw what I want, and so will the 49 other talented ladies who continue to make GDG amazing.

    See ya at the show. ;)

  • Paul, it is what it is. If sex sells, then yes, we’ll use it to our advantage. The sex part is merely something that gets people’s attention to the fact that we have real talent and are representing a population of creative women artists. If the “sexy image” is going to be there either way, I’m going to market it as much as I can as an artist and as a woman.

    The whole point of the group is to bring women artists, working in animation and other creative industries, together. We have fun at what we do, and yes, we do like drawing sexy women. We’re not defined by anybody else’s interpretations of pin-ups other than our own, and that’s what’s important.

  • Lissa

    First, i second Anne’s first post, thank you for the exposure, Jerry!

    As to Paul’s statements:
    I whole-heartedly support variety in representations of female beauty, and what it means to all different people. I don’t think there’s anyone within Girls Drawing Girls who feels differently.

    That being said, i think saying that we’re exemplifying only “heterosexual male interests” is just as narrow minded. There are women out there who are attracted to other women, and the things they look for aren’t always different from the things men are attracted to. That’s to say nothing of the fact that “beauty” is not necessarily recognized based solely on sexual preference. Saying that you expected better of us because we’re women draws the same gender line, it just draws it in a different place.

    And quite frankly i think to say that “selling your sex more than your talent” borders on insulting, as i know that i and everyone else in this group put our artistic talents into everything we’re putting on the walls and i like to think that shines through whatever the subject matter.

    As a member of Girls Drawing Girls i can testify that within the group. there is no pressure to draw women a certain way. When I signed up for this show and asked what the subject matter would be i was told “anything as long as you’re drawing girls”. That was the only specification. Whatever any of us chose to do from there was up to us as individuals.

    All that being said i can appreciate a call for a shift in the standards of female beauty, especially from a male perspective. But I know that Girls Drawing Girls doesn’t uphold a “standard model of beauty” and doesn’t take in members on that basis. All women are welcome to join, regardless of what they think is beautiful. If anything, i’d call upon women who feel their viewpoints aren’t represented within our group to shoot us an email and apply.

    I say come to our show, talk to us and actually see what we’ve got before anyone passes further judgment.

  • I can’t wait for this. I’m a big fan of many of these artists and I cannot wait to see what they do!
    Paul, I always like diversity is all types of characters.
    That said, you are coming across as one of those jack-off “feminist” men who thinks he has to speak out for the ladies because they can’t do it for themselves, and managing to come across as incredibly sanctimonious and condescending in the process. These women are doing what they like to do. If it happens to appeal to the prurient interests of hetero sexual men, then who cares? What’s the harm?
    That was what the pin-up was all about in the first place.

  • C

    I’m probably not going to articulate this well at all, but this kind of thing has made me uncomfortable for a while. It seems like even when women get to be the creators, they’re still expected to make women the “objects” in their work. And furthermore to proclaim to love drawing sexy women, so as to be cool with the boys. What if I honestly DON’T love drawing sexy women? I mean, I love drawing them the same as I love drawing all human forms, which is very much. I love the complexity and variation and expressive power of the human form, but I find “sexy” women no more compelling in that regard than any other human subject. It bothers me, this idea that it isn’t in a viewer’s PERCEPTION that women are sexy, it’s some inherent, gender-essential quality—basically that women are the universal “object.” Myself, I like drawing sexy men and think their bodies have just as much aesthetic quality as women’s. Is there a place for that?

    I respect the artistic chops of these artists, and all female artists who draw sexy girls as their trademark. But it strikes me as a kind of female minstrelsy—cheerfully presenting women as a limited stereotype for the purpose of acceptance and salability to the male-dominated field.

  • Hey Paul!

    I’m new to Girls Drawing Girls, but I’ve always loved their stuff. If you’ve looked through their Fairytales book, you’d find old women, fat women, chubby women, skinny women. The works. And that’s why I found Girls Drawing Girls appealing.

    Personally, I’m not a buxom bombshell. I’m not thin. This doesn’t mean that I should only draw chubby girls. I find all beauty in all shapes and sizes. Flat chested, large breasted, big beautiful eyes, thin lips or thick… Whatever tickles my fancy. My goal with Girls Drawing Girls is to alleviate the frustration of drawing mechanical stuff from the last production I was on for the last nine months.

    I don’t remember who said it, but I live for this quote:

    “It is an easy task to draw an ugly thing. It is a much harder task to draw something beautiful.”

    I also find the idea that we’re drawing women from a male heterosexual viewpoint as well… silly! We’re women! We’re going to draw women from a woman’s standpoint, not a man’s. My view of drawing sexy gals doesn’t come from what will please a male eye, but how it pleases me. This is my chance to draw for myself, not for others. Hopefully in doing so, I’ve created work that others will enjoy as well.


  • Ashley

    So let me get this strait, it’s only exploitative because we don’t draw ugly chicks? I guess we should leave the drawing of “hot” chicks to men only. :P

  • Leedar

    Drawing a beautiful ugly thing is the hardest and most virtuous. :-)

    I have a theory that art, especially something more direct like (cartoon) drawing, is an extension of one’s person.

    Boiled down, it simply follows that women will prefer to make drawings that satisfy a feminine disposition, where men will do the same but with masculinity. Without going into heavy socio-sexual stuff, women want to look pretty, men want to appear able; the drawings follow. (Although for practically the same reasons as attire, females ‘crossdress’ with their drawings more commonly and with more acceptance than males.)

    The reason women might draw apparently sexy pinups is indeed unrelated to why men do it, in a vast majority of cases, and has little/nothing to do with some sort of male oppression.

  • NatZ

    I actually see a lot physical traits of our members in the paintings they create. Ashley draws tall slender girls, I draw slightly curvier girl, Danni’s are as gorgeous as she is, Daisy’s rock the pinup smile and flare that she has herself. So I guess I would say… damn us all for being hot!

    Paul I’m sorry you feel that way. I think as artists in the public eye we could either position ourselves to rebel against the ideals our society has placed on women, or we could embrace it unapologetically. I think every girl on our team has the freedom to decide what side of that line she would like to stand. But I don’t think that women acknowledging and celebrating the power that they hold in their sexuality is anything to be ashamed of.

  • C:
    I’ve never felt forced to claim that i love drawing pin-up art to impress anyone. I’ve never felt “expected” to draw anything.
    But it is a THEMED group. This is something that we DO enjoy doing. You asked if there’s a place for you, for someone who doesn’t necessarily like drawing sexy women, who likes drawing sexy men, or who just plain likes drawing anything else.
    Of COURSE there’s a place for you! Trust me, i draw for a living and it’s certainly NOT pin-ups (and it’s a job i wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world). And pin-ups aren’t the only thing i love drawing. Just because a group like ours exists doesn’t mean we’re the only thing out there, or that you should feel forced to conform to this particular theme. The world is full of artists, men and women alike, who showcase what they do, regardless of what it is. We’re not the only type of people who get gallery shows or public recognition. Check out the work people are doing in comic anthologies such as ‘Flight’, or even other gallery shows at places like Meltdown or Gallery Nucleus or any number of places. Men AND women drawing things other than this and getting recognized. Seeing what they do doesn’t invalidate shows like ours for me. It’s all different subject matter and it’s all different tastes, and in my experience no one who’s worth a damn will make you feel less valid for drawing what you love to draw.

    I don’t know if it can really be boiled down that way. I don’t feel that any sort of theme in art can be innately attributed to one gender or the other. The whole problem here seems to stem from the fact that people seem to perceive this group as a beacon to the world telling women what they ought to be drawing in order to be accepted. That’s entirely not the case.

    This subject matter is inherently charged, and people have strong opinions on both sides, myself included, which is why i can’t pull myself away from this discussion. I think what it all comes down to is creating art that you enjoy creating, and that’s all the women in this show are doing. At the end of the day, as artists, that’s all anyone’s trying to do. If along the way other people can enjoy it too, then all the better :)

  • Leedar

    Oh, I’m open minded. And I’m a compulsive generaliser, so I come off a bit blunt edged sometimes.

    Of course people do things for a variety of reasons that aren’t strongly related to their sex, but it seems foolhardy to disregard this important influence in one’s life, that is both internal (natural) and external (‘nurtural’/cultural).

    I’m not sure the reason women don’t feature proportionately in the creative industries is purely due to sexist exclusion by men. Art is informed by life, and I imagine women don’t share all the same general motivations in life as men do, so there is an insulating gap between them.

    It is an artefact of earlier times when sexism was explicit that the people with influence and money today are still mostly men. The men of today (I hope) simply don’t understand a woman’s perspective, so it is difficult to empathise and support work that is driven by female motivations. And of course, vice versa, women have some degree of difficulty empathising with male motivations.

    Hopefully that wasn’t meaninglessly general or regurgitative…

    I of course support any project that tries to give some spotlight to women. Men need to be more aware of having to put some effort on their part to meet somewhere in the middle.

  • Leedar: women want to look pretty, men want to appear able; the drawings follow.

    Mm, I’m not sure I entirely agree. I don’t always do pretty drawings. It’d be nice to be paid to draw pretty all the time, but normally I’ve been assigned the gritty, detailed stuff, nor would I want to draw pretty things all the time. But, when you’ve been assigned nothing but problem solving on mechanical stuff for nine months, the relief in drawing curvy women runs (no pun intended) pretty deep. That’s why I’d say that in this industry, women don’t want to look pretty, we want to appear able more than anything. My own boss is one of the strongest women I know. And she’s done it all.

    “I’m not sure the reason women don’t feature proportionately in the creative industries is purely due to sexist exclusion by men. Art is informed by life, and I imagine women don’t share all the same general motivations in life as men do, so there is an insulating gap between them.”

    Well, if you look at Disney, they didn’t hire women into animation (and yes, Mary Blair was the one that made it, we all know that story) readily for a very long time. I would ask you this: Why is the nursing industry so heavily female? Yes, men are breaking into the field, but why? Why has it remained a female dominated industry? Food for thought.

    The stereotypes are still with us, as much as we’d like to think we’ve made progress, while women are just as talented as men, I think the reason why it’s still male dominated is because we still haven’t had the time to break the stigma. Women’s equality was something that broke through to the public surface in the 60’s and 70’s worldwide. That’s not that long ago. We didn’t even sign into law the Violence Against Women act until 1994.

    We have a long way to go, but I really do feel like with time, and a lot of talk, we’ll get there. But, this is why dialogues need to happen, without them, nothing changes.

  • Wow, what an interesting conversation.

    Mainly because the only objections to this show have come from a guy.

    Another thing to remember is that I think we’re bound to lose our sense of humor a bit if we over analyze this too much…women are not being catapulted off into cave man days because they are drawing pics of sexy women.

    There is also the very basic facts of life..and why can’t we have fun with these facts? Women ARE sexy..right? Well, alot of them are. :D Clearly they are built to get men’s attention. All the right body parts, all the right what! Why can’t a girl have fun with this? Why does it have to be degraded into “exploitation” and something grim and heavy and oppressive? What if a lady can draw and she likes drawing what men want…oooohhhhhh!!! Major crime going on here. She’s *exploiting* herself! Poor thing. Next they’ll be calling these artists hookers or some sort.

    All I know is that as a female artist cute/sexy girl drawings are not what I do, but I have always gotten a kick out of seeing what other gals come up with. I’ve never once had it go thru my mind that a woman is a sell out or exploiting herself or just offering up what men want (again, like that’s a crime). The drawings are cute and sexy, alive and appealing.

    Weird that the problem starts when you find out who made them..a man or a woman? *sweats!*

    It’s like saying a woman has no right to acknowledge herself as a sexy being and certainly has no right to reproduce anything on paper that might highlight a woman’s natural sex appeal.

    Plus, men seem to have the freedom to draw “fantasy drawings” of their ideal super heroes, giant robots or other representations of male power…why can’t women draw on one of her own powers…her sexuality?

    Yes, it is possible to live in a post feminism world and embrace both female freedom AND female sexuality. Try it some time!

    PS I love how the topics of women and their sexuality always make men’s heads explode. Haha. Pun intended.

  • Chuck

    Just FYI, “exploitive” actually IS an acceptable use of the adjective.

  • Why all the analysis? Take it for what it is. It’s fun. That’s it! ENJOY!

  • Roxy

    i like to draw girls as they are alot more intresting to draw than men, they have curvy bodies and i think the reason women start drawing them is because they wish they looked like that ( i mean i do!) I like drawing very sexy cartoon women. So sit back and enjoy!

  • Charlie D

    I have am not seeing enough drawengs of the bigger butted girls here. Or the ones with more than two boobs. I find this whole theng affensive actually. Get serious ok!