A new website devoted to raising “the visibility of female illustrators, female illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other minority groups” got off to a high-flying start when it launched in late December. Women Who Draw was such an immediate smash hit that it racked up 6 million page views in its first three days of existence — an audience so massive it ultimately crashed the site, whose founders weren’t expecting it to make such a splash. “We had to close submissions because we were overwhelmed. We received 1,200 submissions in 24 hours,” Julia Rothman, who co-founded the site along with Wendy MacNaughton, told the BBC. Artists from all over the world sent their work in for consideration.
Rothman and MacNaughton, both successful U.S.-based illustrators, noticed that despite the industry being predominantly made of up female illustrators, it was men who were getting all of the top jobs. “We counted a certain magazine that often has illustrated covers, and noticed that in the past 55 covers, only four were by women,” Rothman said. She added that in her experiences, the sexism has been subtle — “no-one has specifically said to me that you are a woman so I am not going to hire you — but manifests itself through who wins awards in the industry, and who decides who wins.”
The site essentially functions as a place to showcase artists’ work and provide their contact info for anyone who would like to hire someone listed there. Already, several illustrators featured on the site have landed paying gigs. And its early success hasn’t faded. Just last week, the site passed a major milestone when it published the work of its 1,000th illustrator.
Upon visiting the site, observers will notice that the illustrators are categorized there by race and ethnicity — though, MacNaughton points out, the site does not point out which artists are white.
Read the full story at the BBC.