Drawn to Art: Tales of Inspiring Women Artists

What draws artists like Judy Baca, Tiffany Chung, Sonya Clark, Sarah Goodridge, Ester Hernandez, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Nellie Mae Rowe, Augusta Savage, or Kay WalkingStick to create? Find out in a new set of Drawn to Art comics that are sure to inspire middle-school-age readers and art lovers of any age.  

For two years, Drawn to Art has illuminated the stories of women artists, some of whom may not have received the attention they deserved in their lifetimes. Each has artwork represented in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Inspired by graphic novels, these short takes on artists’ lives were drawn by student-illustrators from the Ringling College of Art and Design. In creating this project, we wanted to give young people the opportunity to identify with the struggles and triumphs of visionaries and rule breakers, to see themselves reflected, and to draw strength from that visibility.  

Can art make a difference in your life? We think so! And after reading the comics, we hope you’re inspired to learn more about each artist, while also holding them up as a mirror to see yourself, perhaps in a whole new light. 


Jaune Quick-To-See Smith Comic - Cover

Illustrated by Maddy Williams-Solberg

Becoming an Artist: A Comic About Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana in 1940. As a child, she escaped her harsh world through books and the drawings her father made for her. Now, she uses her art to powerfully express her beliefs.

Illustrated by Micah Eubanks

Playhouse: A Comic About Nellie Mae Rowe

Nellie Mae Rowe was one of the first self-taught Black women to be widely celebrated for her art. After a childhood lost to hard labor and twice widowed, she dedicated herself to creating art. Her imaginative works are filled with joy, playfulness, and pride. 


Illustrated by Emily Fromhage

Threads of History: A Comic About Anni Albers

Anni Albers studied art at the innovative Bauhaus, where she discovered weaving. She fled Nazi Germany and became an influential teacher at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.


Generous support for the 2021 Drawn to Art series was provided by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. 

The logo of the Smithsonian's Women's History Initiative