17 lady comics artists you should know

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Apr 12, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT

If you're new, new-ish or even just a casual reader of comics, navigating the world of writers and artists can be difficult. The problem is that there's such a great backlist of great comics and discoverability isn't always easy. As someone who's worked in the comics industry as press for a few years and made my main goal to demystify comics for, and bring in, new readers, I have a lot of recommendations for how to find comics you love.

My biggest recommendation: Find an artist you love, dig into their back catalog, and follow their work.

For me, art is a lot more important than writing in comics. Because comics is such a visual medium, it's actually the art that does the bulk of the storytelling. I can easily read a comic with a "meh" story but with gorgeous art, but I cannot get through even the best story if the art isn't doing it for me.

Take a look at the work of these 17 female comics artists — you may be very familiar with some of them, while others may be new to you (or you may not know any of them, and that's okay!) — and pick a few you might want to explore more in depth! This isn't a comprehensive list, just a suggested starting point — there are too many great female comics artists out there to encompass in one list.

Fiona Staples

Fiona Staples is best known for drawing Saga with Brian K. Vaughan, the comic I recommend to each and every new comics reader. Her vibrant colors and clean lines are just breathtaking.

Annie Wu

If you don't know Annie Wu's angular lines and sharp corners, you're missing out. Check out her work on Black Canary with Brenden Fletcher for the rock-and-roll series she was born to draw.

Veronica Fish

Veronica Fish has done a lot of comics work, but she's probably best known as the regular series artist for the Archie reboot with writer Mark Waid (the series did some artist shuffling at the beginning). Her playful art style is a great match to the series.

Erica Henderson

Erica Henderson is the perfect match for Doreen, aka Squirrel Girl. Henderson's whimsical drawings and commitment to drawing Doreen as something other than the pole-skinny-superhero comic aesthetic are refreshing.

Babs Tarr

Babs Tarr comes from a fashion background, and you can tell with her precision and attention to detail when it comes to characters in Batgirl and Motor Crush. Her outfit choices are especially awesome and bring a level of realism that 50-year-old dudes drawing teenagers and 20-something women just can't seem to muster.

Afua Richardson

Afua Richardson has been everywhere, which is why you should definitely know her work. Her current most widely-read book is probably Marvel's Black Panther: World of Wakanda, for which she does the covers.

Sophie Campbell

Sophie Campbell has been working in comics for years but she really made a splash as the original artist for Jem and the Holograms. Her intricate bold art, combined with M. Victoria Robado's vibrant colors, really are what made so many people love the series.

Molly Ostertag

The artist for the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, Molly Ostertag has not one but two graphic novels releasing in 2017 — I'm betting this will be her breakout year. I've been following her work for years, and you should too. I love her rounded art style and vivid colors.

Kaoru Mori

It's a shame more people stateside haven't heard of Kaoru Mori. She's a Japanese writer-artist and her manga is just incredible. Her art is so incredibly detailed; if you think you prefer color to black and white, take a look at Emma and A Bride's Story (pictured below).

Brooke Allen

Brooke Allen is best known as the original artist for Lumberjanes. She's left the series, but many people (including me) feel that the book just isn't the same without Allen's angular art.

Emma Ríos

"Dreamy" is the word I'd use to describe Emma Ríos' art. It has a sort of otherworldly quality. She's best known for her collaboration with Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pretty Deadly (with color work by Jordie Bellaire), but she's done some great other work too.

Brittney Williams

Brittney Williams was the perfect match for the girl-gang comic Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat (written by Kate Leth). The series is coming to an end in May, but you can also see her work on the EXCELLENT teen detective comic series Goldie Vance.

Caitlin Rose Boyle

If you like whimsical art, you need to check out Jonesy (written by Sam Humphries), starring a teenager who can make anyone fall in love … except herself. Boyle's wacky colors and stylized characters give this comic its absolutely adorable and warm tone.

Leslie Hung

Collaborating with Scott Pilgrim writer/artist Bryan Lee O’Malley is no small thing, which is why you should have your eye on Leslie Hung, who's the artist on Snotgirl. The colors are great and her attention to detail and texture is gorgeous.

Paulina Ganucheau

If you want someone to draw a bright, fabulous, girl-power comic, Paulina Ganucheau should be at the top of your list. She draws both Another Castle and Zodiac Starforce, two comics that feature strong women and a lot of pink. And they're both great reads.

Mingjue Helen Chen

Mingjue Helen Chen is a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation, but she also draws incredible comics. Her use of color and brush work is especially breathtaking. She's worked on comics such as Gotham Academy (pictured below) and has done cover art for Silk.

Joelle Jones

The artist on books like Lady Killer and cover artist for the too short-lived Mockingbird, Jones was responsible for the amazing cover (pictured below) that set off an Internet comics fan-bro firestorm. She's definitely one to keep an eye on.

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