Born to Weave: A Comic About Consuelo Jimenez Underwood

An Overview

Fiber artist and weaver Consuelo Jimenez Underwood is the daughter of migrant agricultural workers. In her richly textured creations, she weaves common threads of history and cultural resistance and affirmation.

This comic is part of a series Drawn to Art: Tales of Inspiring Women Artists that illuminates the stories of women artists in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Inspired by graphic novels, these short takes on artists’ lives were each drawn by a student-illustrator from the Ringling College of Art and Design.

We invite you to read the comic and share it with your friends and young people in your life.

Read the other comics

Sonya Clark Comic - Cover

Sonya is pictured in a three-quarter front view, gazing toward the text to her right that reads: “If You Stitch With Me, I’ll Tell You a Story, The Work of Sonya Clark.” Her skin tone is a warm brown, complemented by her red headwrap and dangling earrings. Sonya’s eyes are behind her iconic large round glasses. Draped around her body is a fabric reminiscent of the Confederate Truce Flag: it is a warm cream color with red stitched lines across the horizontal. The background is etched with a light cerulean blue, leaving a colored-pencil-like texture. A red thread flows up and behind Sonya’s head, weaving in and out of the background. Towards the bottom of the image, the illustrator’s name is written in dark red: “Abigail Rajunov.” 

If You Stitch With Me, I’ll Tell You a Story: A Comic About…
Nellie Mae Rowe Comic - Cover

Artist Nellie Mae Rowe stands at the doorway of her house. She’s a Black woman with curly dark brown hair, medium dark skin, and a genuine smile. She is wearing a long, green dress with short sleeves, a silver necklace, and flat black shoes. Above Nellie is white text against a red background with the title of the comic, “Playhouse.”  
Nellie stands at her doorstep and gestures with her right hand to invite the viewer into her artistic house. Just below her feet is more text, reading: “The Story of Nellie Mae Rowe.” Several items decorate her home and its lawn; dangling glass bottles and ornaments are strung together to frame the building. The front of her white house has small, lush green bushes adorned with ornaments. Dolls and mannequin heads also decorate the yard. On the left, one rests on the ground. It is brown with a tuft of yellow hair at the top and a smile on its face. Another mannequin stands tall, held up by a metal pole. It is brown with curly black hair and several colorful ornaments on its cone-shaped body. Sitting against the base of the rod is a doll that the artist made. The doll has brown skin, brown curly hair, and a beautiful pink and yellow dress. Scattered around the lawn are colorful glass bottles and potted plants.  

Playhouse: A Comic About Nellie Mae Rowe
Kay WalkingStick Comic - Cover

A woman stands facing us in the center of the page, wearing a brown suit on top of a blue shirt with a maroon scarf. She has light skin, brown shoulder-length hair, and is looking at us with a full-blown smile. In her left hand, she holds three paintbrushes and right hand is tucked in the pocket of her brown trousers. She stands with one leg in front of the other, as if she is walking toward us. The background displays two separate landscapes behind her. On her left side are rising mountains and canyons, and on her right side are colors in abstract forms including purple, green, orange and some blue on top, both of which remind us of Kay Walkingstick’s artworks. The image is framed in black background decorated by two strings of diamond-shaped cosmic design with colors changing gradually from black to orange on the left and right sides of the cover. The top of the page reads: “Kay Walkingstick,” while the bottom reads: “Closer To The Cosmos.” 

Closer to the Cosmos: A Comic About Kay WalkingStick
Ester Hernandez Comic - Cover

Ester Hernandez stands proudly in the center, holding a large basket of green grapes that spill to the bottom of the page. Ester has light brown skin and is wearing a black shirt with a red floral print, shiny silver earrings, and a turquoise necklace. She smiles slightly and seems content, with her eyes looking sideways under her black square glasses. Her hair is a stark black color with a few strands of gray that frame her forehead. The background is a parody of the Sun-Maid raisin box, a reference to her screen prints Sun Raid and Sun Mad. Behind Ester are protest signs, which read: Chicana Power, Don’t Buy California Grapes, LGBT Rights, We Will Not Be Intimidated, and a symbol of a fist.  

Text at the top of the page reads: “Ester Hernandez A Better World.”  

A Better World: A Comic About Ester Hernandez
The Weaver’s Weaver: A Comic About Kay Sekimachi, cover

Comic book cover shows a colorful illustration of an old woman from the torso up. The elderly woman’s hair is short and white in a pixie cut and she is wearing glasses and a red scarf around her neck. She is wearing an orange sweater and a smile on her face. Her cheeks are rosy. On each side of her head are three woven rectangles in progress, alternating in orange and a sunshine yellow with threads of fabric crisscrossing each other. Across her chest, there is a singular strand of fabric that loops into a heart over the place where her human heart is. It glows in bright white on the otherwise orange sweater. On the left side of this strand, there are two red paper origami cranes, one below the strand and one above the strand. At the bottom of the page is the title. Text reads, “Weaver’s Weaver: Kay Sekimachi.”

The Weaver’s Weaver: A Comic About Kay Sekimachi
In Awe of the Straight Line: A Comic About Carmen Herrera, cover

Comic book cover depicts an illustration of a woman, Carmen Herrera, who is drawn only in thick black outlines against white background. She is wearing glasses, a blue dress with black flowers, and a green sweater against a yellow background. She sits with a square canvas in her lap. The canvas is half covered in white and half in green, the same color as her sweater. She is peeling back orange painter’s tape on her artwork that is running diagonally from corner to corner to show a straight line down the center and to reveal that the white half of the canvas is red underneath. At the top of the page is the artist’s name, Carmen Herrera. On the artwork in her lap is the comic title. Text reads, “In Awe of the Straight Line.”

In Awe of the Straight Line: A Comic About Carmen Herrera 
Picturing a City: A Comic About Berenice Abbott, cover

 A gray-and-white illustration depicts a bustling cityscape. We stand on a street filled with people all going in different directions. Businessmen in light fedora hats and dark trench coats and other people with their heads and eyes down, hurrying forward. Above them are tall buildings with dark windows in stark rows. The facades of the buildings recede away from us down the street. Facing us is a young woman with short dark hair with a heavy sweep of bangs above one eyebrow. She has big eyes and a bright smile and wears a long scarf, loose flowing jacket, and skirt. She stands behind a large camera on a tripod. Her hands cradle the bottom and side of the lens of the camera, which is pointed straight at us as if she is about to take our photo. Above her at the top of the page, text reads, “Berenice Abbott: Picturing a City."

Picturing a City: A Comic About Berenice Abbott
Beneath the Holly Tree: A Comic About Alma Thomas, Cover

At the top of the page, a woman with brown hair in a bun and scoop necked blue dress is standing with her back to us, looking at a painting with pink and red dashes of paint in bands of bright color. Other colorful paintings sit propped on the floor beside her. On the lower part of the page, in front of the woman and facing us, is a young girl, about eight, in a white, long sleeve dress with a ruffle collar. The girl is running out of the frame, her face is towards us, looking back over her shoulder. She has curly chin length hair, brown eyes and brown skin. She has a bright, happy face, and is smiling, holding a paintbrush aloft with a swirl of bright red paint coming off the brush, framing both figures and the words "The Story of Alma Thomas: beneath the Holly Tree."

Beneath the Holly Tree: A Comic About Alma Thomas