DRAWING BEYOND THE LINES OF GENDER
We want to collaborate with you and the talented artists who developed illustrations graphically inspired by interactive print media (comic books, storyboards, coloring books, connect the dots, fill in the blank) to explore the themes, scenes, and scenarios derived from peoples’ answers to our survey on masculinity.
3 illustrations from each artist are embedded with interactive elements that prompt you to reflect on and challenge your own understandings of gender expression and embodiments of masculinity, more specifically.
Click to download the printable illustrations, fill them in and email to us at email@example.com! If you are an educator, contact us for distributable copies!
WHO TAUGHT YOU ABOUT MASCULINITY AND WHAT DID THEY TEACH YOU?
JIE EN LEE
jie en is a taiwanese-american illustrator who loves to play with shapes and colors to create wonky, dreamy imagery.
Reading through all the different types of responses (from the X-aMEN-ing survey) was interesting and relatable. Though I could sadly relate to plenty of the experiences with toxic ideals of masculinity, I really enjoyed seeing all the less limited perspectives being taught to so many. I hope everyone who engages with these illustrations see them as something to put on the wall, and adjust based on mood (like if you’re in a workout mood, you swap to workout Arnold).
Cut out the monster, and the little heads, and you can put the heads in the empty spot on the monster, switching to whichever guy you like most! Cut out the TV and the hole where the screen is. Then cut out the two screens, and you may switch between workout Arnold, and crying Arnold. Cut out the camera and polaroid. Add a slit at the top of the camera mouth, and you can slide the photo through like it’s printing out!
Geov is a trans/nonbinary multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Using clay, ink, and digital memory, they craft stories with an unsettling whimsy to them. Previous works include short comics for Northwest Press, ShortBox Comics Fair, and Peow Studio.
These three collage illustrations function like a workbook / journal prompt. A small beast thinks out loud about masculinity in relation to culture and self, hoping to converse with you.
ARANTZA PEÑA POPO
Arantza Peña Popo is a queer Latinx cartoonist and illustrator based in Los Angeles, CA. She makes vibrant and intimately expressive comics that explore the sticky sensations of sexuality, mental illness, and queerness all in a pink and purple hues. Image by Jon Del Real.
- The first piece is a body scanning exercise that’s meant for individuals to examine how gender constructs have constructed the ways they move throughout the world and how these constructs have manipulated the body or aided in the celebration of the body. Essentially, it’s a space to think critically about our small habits, from why we shave our legs to why we lift weights for bigger muscles.
- The second piece is reminescent of the cursive worksheets from elementary school. Instead of tracing over the alphabet, individuals can trace over cursive affirmations about gender identity (and lack thereof).
- The third piece is a way to restructure our visions of gender presentation. Individuals can essentially depict alternative versions of their gender presentation and then pick and choose which aspects they would like to integrate into their day-to-day appearance. It’s through this exercise that individuals get to experiment and re-envision what “feminity”, “masculinity”, and “gender expansive”, means to them.
Molly Stanard is a transmasc nonbinary illustrator and visual development artist, primarily working in the animation industry from their studio in scenic Brooklyn, New York.
These illustrations are reminiscent of dollhouses and sets. Whatever goes on within them is entirely up to the participants and there can be elements of both performance and truth alike in the actions. Projection and reinforcement are present, but also the ability to play and experiment. All of this is informed by my interpretation of the importance of space in forming lasting impressions.
Feel free to jot down ideas in the space below the prompts, draw over and color in areas within the illustrated rooms, add props and characters, dialog.
Olioli Buika (They/He) is a Sāmoan faʻatane illustrator currently living on Canarsee and Munsee Lenape land (Brooklyn, New York). His art is a simple love letter to his experiences growing up in the arms of the island of Maui, growing up as a queer trans child of diaspora, and the love and healing he has experienced through his indigiqueer and trans siblings across every ocean. Recently he has been creating digitally but loves to make art through analog media, such as watercolor, ceramic, and whatever else the future holds. You can find his personal work by sifting through some fanart on instagram @friedchiliflakess <3
- Truth or Dare: I loved to create “fortune tellers” (also known as “cootie catchers”) as a child and thought this would be a fun opportunity to bring it back and combine it with the classic “truth or dare” game. The outside of the fortune teller has words associated with society’s view of masculinity / toxic masculinity, while the inside contains questions and dares that aim to challenge masculinity in a healthy way. After the participant fills out the spaces with their own answers, they can fold the fortune teller and either play it themself or with another person.
- Exquisite Masculinity: Inspired by the “Exquisite Corpse” game of the Surrealist art movement, “Exquisite Masculinity” is a collaborative game prompting participants to draw a “masculine” form in a playful, unexpected way. Each participant will take turns drawing a different part of the body, folding it to conceal their contribution, then passing it to the next player to continue the creation. As the paper gets passed from person to person, it garners different perspectives on what is masculine to each participant– simultaneously constructing and deconstructing masculinity for themselves and the other participants. Your paper will return with a surprising result of a “masculine” form to share with the group! The border frame represents both a mirror and water, symbolizing reflection, change, fluidity, and abundance. Print a copy for every participant to pass around each turn.
- Operation: Inspired by the children’s game “Operation”, where instead of bad things getting removed, good things are placed inside the figures. This illustration is based off “The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis” by Jacques-Louis David, a painting about traditional ideas of masculinity, but is reimagined with trans and gender non-conforming individuals that provide a space for non-traditional values of masculinity to be conceptualized and honored. The speech bubbles outside the figures leaves room for ideas of masculinity that are not important to the participant.
My art practice encompasses a range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, and more, to explore themes of sexual and gender identity as they interact with and contradict my Korean American background. I employ the physical deconstruction and reconstruction of materials to metaphorically dismantle social norms and challenge hegemonic forces that constrain my self-expression. While much of my work’s content is based on personal experience, its essence resonates with universal experiences of conformity. Through my art, I strive to critique and push against societal pressures to conform, ultimately creating space for personal and collective liberation.
Referencing Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s iconic scene where molded cheese on a playground’s asphalt caused mass hysteria amongst children who were afraid to get the “cheese touch” from those who were rumored to have made physical contact with the food, I as an queer, Asian American deeply related to the cheese. Within and outside of LGBTQ+ spaces, the Asian body is deemed either undesirable or fetishized due to our “exoticism”. Through this series of illustrations, I hope to reveal such intersectional experiences and ask the viewer to play an active role in these scenarios.
JANETH APARICIO VAZQUEZ
Janeth Aparicio Vazquez (Los Angeles), is a first-generation Chicanx artist and historian as curandera. Her work spans ink and graphite drawing, wood-burning, printmaking, and mixed-media installation. Aparicio uses this range of materials to create tender offerings to her communities: past, present, and future. As of late, Aparicio is interested in agroforestry and restorative perennial ecosystems. She holds a BA in visual art from Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA.
This series of three coloring pages–one with connect the dots– is a reflection on how machismo, Capitalistism, and other societal pressures have interrupted the generational passage of traditional healthy emotional processing practices in many families just trying to survive. And how music can act as a crutch that clears blockages, helps build emotional intelligence, and fosters healthy relationships. The lyrics featured in the first two coloring pages are from legendary Mexican singer Juan Gabriel’s “Pero Que Necesidad”.
A mî me requisito estar solito
pa soltar un llanto
las de Juanga me las sacan
pero ellos le frenan
Lo que vi, yo hago lo mismo
el mismisito Juanga me saca las lágrimas
“pero que necesidad
y para que tanto problema”
Juntos al final
dejando reventar el llanto con el violín y guitarra
con gritos de charro si sabemos
con quienes somos
Kezna Dalz, Also known professionally as Teenadult, is a multidisciplinary artist based in Tio’tia:Ke (Montreal). Her work mostly consists of painting and digital illustration. We recognize it by the raw brush traits and use of bright colors. The recurring themes addressed in her work are feminism, self love and self care, emotional vulnerability and anti-racism. She sometimes tackles difficult subjects, making them accessible through a pastel and soft universe with naive features.
- Queer Dance Night: Have fun colouring this joyful dance scene with bright colours that make you happy. The characters in this illustrations feel free and safe and are enjoying themselves.
- Comic 1: This comic is about seeing yourself for who you truly are and slowly learning to break free from unreasonable expectations put on yourself by society. It’s a comic about the early healing journey of the character. Choose the words that seem fitting.
- Comic 2: This comic is about not letting traditional gender roles stop you from being who you are and breaking the pattern. Here, you can narrate what goes on through the characters minds as they are enjoying themselves while still being judged by oppressing eyes.
Paradise is a visual artist, poet, and graphic designer exploring science fiction, color theory, the fabric of reality, and the sensual richness of our world. Their work ranges from digital illustration to animated music videos, color pencil drawings, and book media. Their general interests include science, cultural analyses, delicious food, and music. They are Iranian American and from Los Angeles, California.
- Hotter Brady Bunch: This grid of portraits depicts different bejeweled hairy queer hotties in a multi plane, abstract, twinkling, and shape-filled realm. I am inspired by the optical illusions and layering of Iranian miniature illustration again. I hope to celebrate fashion, jewelry, and poetic expansive queer identity in this illustration. Interactivity: please feel free to fill in the empty box on the grid. Whether with your own drawn or photographed portrait, or with a poem, shape, or collage.
- Cool Party Girl: This illustration depicts a cool girl with facial and body hair, fun jewelry, and twinkling gaze in a plant frame realm. I’m inspired by the 2D flatness and multi plane/frame layering and illustration style of Iranian miniatures. I hope to challenge and complicate the association of body and facial hair with masculinity in this piece while also asserting and celebrating the existence of masculinity on bodies and aesthetics society deems incongruous. Interactivity: please feel free to color in this black and white drawing.
- Teardrop Garden: This illustration is a “Where’s Waldo” style search for teardrops. I am inspired by the flat, map-like landscapes and buildings in Iranian miniature illustrations. In the Freewaves survey on masculinity, many people wrote that to them, masculinity meant a lack of emotion or crying. In this piece, I want to assert the neutrality and natural human compulsion to cry and feel regardless of gender or identity. Interactivity: try to spot all the crying/tear drop visuals.
Trankis (Karina/they/she) is a Mexican American artist and DJ from South East Los Angeles. As a youth they participated in intersectional feminist filmmaking practices with iMediate Justice and immersed themselves in photography and stop motion animation. In high school and college they sharpened their skills as an illustrator and received their BFA in illustration from CSU: Long Beach. During their last year of college they joined the all women vinyl collective Chulita Vinyl Club (CVC) where they began their colorful musical career. In CVC they amplified their unique style, meshing latin sounds along with queer dance music classics and various genres. While in CVC they also developed their artistic style creating event flyers and social media assets for the collective. Trankis currently hosts a monthly night called A Quien Le Importa? with another CVC member that explores queer latin dance music, roquero and post punk genres. Additionally, Trankis artwork can be found under @bientrankis via instagram.
- Coloring Sheet: The coloring page was initially designed with the idea to put out a positive outtake on self expression, gender expression and self- empowerment ~while giving each participant the chance to select a color palette and add on their own personal touch.
- Dress Up Sheet: The dress up sheet includes some fill in the blanks to get folks in touch with their own personal expression/style and how they feel about it. The cut and paste aspect of it allows us some control as to what type of outfit the character will wear but also gives some creative freedom and encourages folks to add on/create something themselves.
- Get To Know Me Sheet: This sheet was designed to write up and think further about our own gender, our perception of ourselves and reflect upon that. It would be ideal to do it in a classroom/group setting to create further discussion.
Isa Moreno is a Los Angeles based queer and trans Mexican-American animator from Watsonville CA, moving through this world with their pen in one hand and their heart in the other. Since childhood, they have dedicated their work toward imagining new realities and sanctuaries for her Queer, Trans, Black Indigenous, Siblings of Color to exist in. They are currently a graduate student at the UCLA Animation Workshop, completing a mixed media 2-dimensional and stop-motion short film. Their career interests include character design, film editing, animating and telling stories that reflect the lessons they learned in childhood.
- Love Your Homies: I made “Love Your Homies” after thinking too often physical intimacy between men and masculine people is immediately labeled as queer, especially for brown men. While Queerness is amazing and liberating, I want to see more physical action among masculine friends of color.
- Re-Define Your Masculinity: From the survey responses I read, I noticed that a lot of people have learned to channel masculinity through rigid expectations and practices. To challenge this “toughness,” I want to encourage people to channel masculinity through fluidity. Honor your heavy feelings, have silly fun, be present for ones you love, or simply exist in order to embody your divine masculine.
- Generations of Love: I never once was able to see generations of men in my family come together and embrace femininity. I drew a picture of what I wish I could have seen. A young princess
playing pretend with their elders before bedtime. Their grandpa records on his phone to keep this memory alive.
Dakota Noot is a Los Angeles-based artist and curator. He uses drawings, paintings, and installations to create animal-human hybrids that explore rural yet fantastical, queer identities. Originally from Bismarck, North Dakota, he continues to show in both North Dakota and Los Angeles, including solo and two-person shows at Highways Performance Space, MuzeuMM, and PØST. Noot has exhibited in group shows at Charlie James Gallery, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Torrance Art Museum, and LAST Projects. His series of cutout drawing-installations have been shown at LA Freewaves, Cerritos College Art Gallery, and Otis College. His work has been featured in Hi-Fructose. Noot graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota (2015) and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University (2017).
- Centaur Coloring Page: Centaurs are often associated with virility and even assault in some myths. For this drawing, I wanted to subvert the centaur as male perpetrator – and have his submissive, kneeling form caught under a feminine gaze.
- Crying Arnold Schwarzenegger Coloring Page: Arnold defined masculinity and male body standards through bodybuilding and film during the 1980s. I wanted to express the emotional and humorous side to Arnold that expanded male expression. He allowed men to cry.
- Teddy Bear Paper Doll: Masculinity is a performance – and I wanted to render that exaggeration through a paper doll. Even a “soft” and cute teddy bear can become an icon of male beauty through cut and taped muscles.