Laverne Cox spoke at a local college last week, where she expanded minds with brilliance and compassion. If she’s speaking anywhere near you, go go go!

Malcolm X, sketch with two colors

My friends and I are all very strong and very cute.

Steps of Queen of Hearts, A tight-enough drawing, 95% in one mighty go, and about an hour of clean up. I wanted the pose and color palette and let the rest develop as I worked. The initial drawing was rather refined because I didn’t have a plan so I mostly incorporated it rather than inking or painting over it.

I like progress photosets. The bottom row is 100% in case you’re into that kind of thing.

Watercolor sketch of Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell


Clockwork Queen of Hearts

New icon self-portrait

Noodlesandbeef is a cutie.


Mary Jane Patterson (1840-1894)

Art by Misha VanVaerenbergh (website/tumblr)

Mary Jane was the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree.  She graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1862.  Oberlin College historian Robert Samuel Fletcher believed that Mary Jane was likely the first black woman in the world the earn a bachelor’s degree, although she is only documented as the first black woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in the US.

Mary Jane was preceded at Oberlin by another black woman, Lucy Stanton Day Sessions, who also completed a four year degree.  However, Lucy graduated with a literary degree rather than a bachelor’s degree.  At the time, Oberlin offered a lady’s course and a gentleman’s course.  The two curriculum covered much of the same material, but the gentleman’s course had a greater focus on classical languages and mathematics.  The gentleman’s course was required for a bachelor’s degree and the first female students to earn an AB graduated from Oberlin in 1841.  

After graduation, Mary Jane taught at black schools in Ohio, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.  For over ten years, Mary Jane was principal of the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth (today Dunbar High School in DC).  She was also a founding member of the Colored Woman’s League of Washington DC which focused on training kindergarten teachers and increasing the homemaking skills of working class women.

My illustration of Mary Jane Patterson for Cool Chicks from History! I really enjoyed working on this project. The only known photo I could find was from her college years, so my goal was a fictional portrait of Principal Patterson c 1870s. Although she’s best known for acquiring her degree, I was most impressed that she spent her remaining years furthering the education of other women and youth of color.