6 Indian Women Graphic Novelist You Should Know About!

Do you love graphic novels? We have curated a list of Indian Women Graphic Novelists that you must explore today!

[ Love graphic novels? We have curated a list of Indian women graphic novelists. ]

Graphic novels, if you identify as a reader— you must have run into them in some bookshops or seen a TV adaptation of them on some OTT platform or other. Graphic novels are comic books, it is the format of presentation which distinguishes a graphic novel from, ‘superhero comic books’.

In India, the graphic novels debuted as early as the 90s with Orijit Sen’s River Of Stories. Since then many have self-published their illustrated novels and from early 2010, there has been a steady flow of graphic novels from leading publishing houses.

Here are the Indian women graphic novelists

Many of these published works we have been created by amazing women graphic novelists — who have written, and illustrated stories span from mythology to dystopia!

They have employed various art techniques and styles to present the best stories to their readers over the last two decades.

Amruta Patil

Patil debuted as a graphic novelist with her haunting story Kari, where her characters  explore queer love, female sexuality, friendships and death. After Kari which is created in tones of black, white and grey, her following works took a deep dive into the mythology.

In her Parva duology—Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean (2012) and Sauptik: Blood and Flowers (2016), is the retelling of Mahabharata from the viewpoint of narrators, a sassy Ganga and a melancholic Ashwatthama.

Her latest work is Aranayak: Book of forest.

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Saraswati Nagpal

Is a writer, performer and artist with huge interest in Indian mythology. Her debut graphic novel was Sita: Daughter of The Earth (2012). After which she published Draupadi: The Fire-Born Princess.

Her retelling of the stories of the two most important women of Indian mythology, is gentle and questions the role of personal agency in a woman’s life. And her books are aimed at young adults, which makes them open to nuanced reading.

Sita: Daughter of The Earth is the first Indian graphic novel to get nominated for the ‘Stan Lee Excelsior UK’ Award.

Debasmita Dasgupta

Is an artist, screenwriter,  and “Kirkus Reviews Prize for Best Picture Book” nominee. Her first work on a graphic novel as an artist was, Climate Katha, written by VK Shashikumar,  in 2017.

In 2019, she debuted with NADYA,  which she wrote and illustrated. The book is written for young adults and follows the life of a 13-year-old Nadya, whose life has a tumulus change after her parents decide to separate.

Debasmita also works as an illustrator and writer and is actively involved in the ArtsPostive organization, where she works for the rights of the girl child.

Priya Kuriyan

Kuriyan is an animator, filmmaker and writer, she is best known for creating the book, Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back (2015).

Drawing the Line, was a product of a 7-day workshop that she did with Zubaan Books, the book was edited by Priya, where 14 women discuss protest and activism after the horrendous incident of Nirbhaya.

She has also illustrated and written, the graphic-biography of Indira Gandhi. Where she died to give the story the female gaze that most of Gandhi’s biography lacks.

Samhita Arni

Samhita Arni’s first book was published when she was 11!  The Mahabharata: A Child’s View, which she started writing at the age of 8  was also illustrated by her, which later got translated into different languages.

Her second book, Sita’s Ramayana, is a graphic novel which she created with Patua artist, Moyna Chitrakar. After which she wrote a novel, The Missing Queen.

Her fourth book is another retelling called, The Prince

Arni also columnist, teacher, illustrator and screenplay writer too!

Ita (Sunandita) Mehrorta

Ita is a trained visual artist with keen interest in history and scholar of graphic narratives. She is also an arts educator and has conducted workshops with Artreach.

She also happens to be among, the few women in India, to have published non-fiction graphic stories. Shaeen Bagh: A Graphic Recollection, came in the year 2021, the book documents the lives of women whom Ita interviewed during the CAA protests and post-covid lockdown.

The book is a testament of the power of community and the courage of ordinary women.

With this list, we have just touched the tip of the iceberg of Indian comics and graphic novel industry. There are many hidden gems created by women in our Indian Languages, which often don’t get the limelight they deserve because of lack of publicity!

Image source: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, The Hindu edited on CanvaPro

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Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

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