Inspiration June 20, 2018
These Instagram illustrators will empower you and make you feel less alone.
With the unrealistic beauty expectations, institutionalized sexism, everyday toxic masculinity and for some of us, dealing with our periods every month, being a woman in this patriarchal society can be hard sometimes. Throw mental health issues into the mix, and it can sometimes feel unbearable.
As isolating as these feeling may be, you’re never truly alone. These empowering Instagram illustrators want to remind you that you have so many reasons to love yourself, that women are just as strong as men and that it’s okay to publicly talk about depression, anxiety and all the feels — no matter what society tells you.
Prudence Geerts is the Belgium-based creator of Planet Prudence. Through her blue-haired alter ego she shares her experiences and opinions about unrealistic beauty expectations for women, mental health and the day-to-day moments she experiences in her attempt to ‘ adult’.
The series compares society’s expectations to her reality, and highlights how she does not adhere to the beauty standards imposed by mainstream society.
Her illustrations promote unapologetic self-love ‘despite’ hairy legs, tummy rolls and stretch marks. (All of which are totally normal and absolutely lovable!)
Her art is not only relatable to women or mental health advocates, but to everyone trying to ‘adult’ and navigate daily struggles with self-esteem, dating and productivity.
“You can say my account is like reading my diary. It’s based on how I feel, what I do and situations I’m in,” Geerts said in an interview with Huffington Post. “In a way, she’s become kind of like my heroine because of how awkward, yet loveable she is!”
Geerts published a book on May 31st with a collection of illustrations that speak to being “Bad at Adulting, Good at Feminism.” She also launched a line of stationary merchandise, including planners and notebooks, prints and cards.
Geerts also makes YouTube videos in which she does not only talk about illustrating, but also her struggles with mental health issues.
Her illustrations are charming, relatable, comical and “will make you laugh out loud at your adult life,” as Geerts said on Webtoon.
The “infamous anti-socialite and pug lady” from the UK is now based in Oakland, CA where she draws about the struggles of womanhood (#period), mental health and pugs.
She creates illustrations about introversion, anxiety and depression — and makes excellent puns.
Correll is an established illustrator outside of Instagram as well. She has collaborated with Mental Health America, Body Positive and Amazon, among others.
As a feminist Correll also uses her art to highlight the female experience, including destigmatizing period talk.
Correll is the author and illustrator of multiple books including “It’s a Punderful Life,” “The Feminist Activity Book,” The Worrier’s Guide to Life” and, as expected for a pug lady, a series on a guide to dating, etiquette and wisdom from the perspective of a pug.
Correll’s art is available on t-shirts, tea towels, greetings cards and many other pug-inspired products.
Arizona-based Holly Chisholm dedicates her Instagram to “depression, anxiety and being just ok” by sharing her experience of living and dealing with mental health problems. Her relatable illustrations describe the heavy feelings of depression and anxiety, but also share words of encouragement, affirmation and advice.
Chisholm started her comics as a way to cope with depression after a bad breakup, she explained on her Tumblr, and now that she has started she cannot stop. She says, “I hope that these comics can help people be more open about their depression and anxiety in public.”
In addition to talking about mental health, Chisholm also draws about her personal experiences in love, relationships and quirky moments.
Emily McDowell’s account features lettering art about empathy and “the relationships we really have,” including those with romantic partners, family members, friends and ourselves.
McDowell’s lettering is also dedicated to empowering women, fostering sisterhood and spreading self-love.
McDowell also creates designs that destigmatize mental health and express words of encouragement.
She creates illustrative lettering that expresses the appreciation we have for our loved ones in a unique yet relatable, funny way. McDowell writes what few have put into words, but many have felt.
McDowell’s letterings are available on cards and merch for purchase, so you do not have to say anything yourself to express the love.
Instagram feeds of successful and beautiful people who seem to live the dream life can be depressing and isolating sometimes, and make you question yourself. But these Instagram illustrators keep it real, and show how it is to not be perfect, live with mental health issues and still make it through the day.
These artists depict their struggles and life experiences with humor to make it easier to talk about their vulnerabilities in public, and to help others who go through similar experiences feel less alone and spread the (self-)love.
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