5 Contemporary Female Illustrators To Follow On Instagram, For When You Need To Feel Inspired

I was a "professional" doodler up until sophomore year of high school, when AP Art came and sucked all the joy out of drawing for me — which can happen when you put grades and rules on something that was previously done purely for fun. After high school, I stopped drawing for a long time, and would occasionally pick the pencil back up just to put it down when I saw how out of practice I was. But recently, as I’ve started to pay more attention to artists and illustrators online, I’ve felt more inspired than I have in years.

I’m a huge fan of women doing amazing things, so of course I’m here for women creating amazing art. I’ve been lucky enough to find a few wonderful artists through the magic of the Internet, and so I have to celebrate them. This list is hardly exhaustive, nor is it trying to be. There are a ton of amazing artists out there and I encourage you to find them and buy and share their work, or the very least be inspired by them. But for now, here are five women artists whose work I love.

1. T.S Abe

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T.S Abe is a genius with graphite. I first saw her work when the gif of her wonderful "72 Degrees in the Shade" was making the rounds on the web. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with her smooth and (seemingly) effortless lines and I'm impressed by the variety of subjects in her portfolio. While I love her portraits, I’m also in awe of the attention to detail necessary to create series such as Jewelled and The Shoe series.

2. Jetti Lewis

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Jetti Lewis is a freelance illustrator I was happy to stumble upon. She also works with graphite, although not exclusively or as hyperealistically as T.S Abe. In fact, most of her illustrations have a bit more of a comic book look, reminding me of the format that got me into drawing in the first place. Be sure to check out her instragram, where she occasionally posts short videos of her working.

3. Katie So

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Katie So is an illustrator from Vancouver who’s work is full of dry, dark humor. She also does illustrations for theaters and shows that aren't dark at all, but I saw her “Attempts at Positivity” collection first and the humor in it is what made me a fan. 

4. Brittany Holloway-Brown

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Brittany Holloway-Brown is the artist behind the artwork for two of my favorite podcasts, “Black Girls Talking” and “The Back Talk.” One of my favorite series of hers is “Dark Girls” which her website says was inspired by the face charts that beauty brands use and "how representation matters to little black girls growing up." As a kid, none of the make up charts I saw in magazines ever included my skin tone, so I'm especially appreciative of this series.

5. Sarah Gilstrap

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Sarah AKA "Catface," is an illustrator from Colorado. And if I get lucky in the future, she would be my ideal fantasy book or comic illustrator. Her work is full of her "Babliens," gorgeous three-eyed women, doing everyday things like hanging out with their pets and eating psychedelic-looking pizzas. "I enjoy finding and showing the inner goddess, or alien, or magical babe in every woman," Sarah told Bustle in an email. "We all have it in ourselves, but it depends on whether we chose to express it."

Images: T.S Abe/Instagram; Jetti Lewis/Instagram; Katie So/Instagram; Brittany Holloway-Brown/Instagram; Sarah MG/Instagram

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