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cosmic cuties: characters for change


Courtesy of Mikhaila Nodel

Courtesy of Mikhaila Nodel

Are you sick and tired of the constant imagery of skinny models with perfect skin plastered all over media? Well, we have all been sick of it for a while. But artist Mikhaila Nodel has decided to make images and put them into a zine, and these images inspire confidence for all girls and women, of any shape and size. Say hello to the beautiful characters, the Cosmic Cuties.

I caught up with Mikhaila and asked about how and why she started her Cosmic Cuties.

Can you tell me about how you got started as an artist?

I’ve been drawing since before I can remember. I guess I started really taking it seriously last year though, when I joined the art program at school. I had always loved to draw but had never considered it as a profession because it seemed too impractical. I realised this year that I really want to go to art school. I’m thinking of being an illustrator actually.

What inspired you to start Cosmic Cuties?

I’m really passionate about feminism, and Cosmic Cuties was just a fun way to combine that with my art.

When did you start the site?

I started the site after I made my first zine – Cosmic Cuties for Feminism – in feminism club at school. We had a zine making day and I really enjoyed making it so I decided to start making them every month. Then a few days later I scanned it and put it, along with a few other cosmic cuties drawings (which I had been doing for about a month before I made the zine) on tumblr, and that was it.

Tell me about the journey of Cosmic Cuties so far.

I created them last October, just as little sketches and drawings for my friends. Then I made the first zine in November. In December, a woman from the website Proud2Proud2BeMe somehow came across my tumblr and asked to interview me! It was so amazing, I didn’t expect anyone to care except for my friends. Nothing happened after that for a few months, but then in April someone reposted the interview from Proud2BeMe and things just got crazy and Cosmic Cuties went viral! It’s been really surreal.

Image courtesy of Mikhaila Nodel

Image courtesy of Mikhaila Nodel

What do you hope those who see your drawings walk away with?

I really just hope that Cosmic Cuties make people feel better about themselves. I also want to educate people about feminism, because there seems to still be a lot of taboo against the word, and many people just don’t understand what it is.

What has been the biggest challenge in creating your work?

The biggest challenge is to create zines about stuff that I don’t really have experience with. During February, there was the national eating disorders awareness week, and I really wanted to create a zine about eating disorders, but I just didn’t know what to write in it. I wanted to write things that would possibly help people with eating disorders, but I wouldn’t know what to say, because I’ve never been in that position. That was my biggest challenge. I’m still trying to make that zine, but it’s a much darker subject than what I’ve addressed so far and I’m just afraid I’ll do it wrong somehow.

What are your plans for the future of Cosmic Cuties/your art?

I’m going to keep creating a new zine every month for Cosmic Cuties. One day hopefully I can make an actual comic book with a storyline about them, but right now I just don’t have time for anything that largescale. Right now, in terms of my other art, I’m working on a portfolio for applying to art schools. I’m a junior right now so I’m going to be applying in the fall/winter. Besides Cosmic Cuties, I do mostly fine art, like oil paintings.

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