This month I have been drawing a lot – scratch that, a LOT – of women and female bodies. This is thanks in large part to the Superhero Ladies sketches I’m doing this month. Here are just a few of the finished ones.

superhero ladies sketch series

superhero ladies sketch series

superhero ladies sketch series

However, drawing these awesome ladies got me thinking, “I need to draw non-human ladies. Like elves – “

Oh I already did that.

elf woman sketch

But then my brain went, “Wait! What about female ORCS?”

I looked into it online and found possibly some of my favorite webcomic pages on the subject, from “Orcs vs. Feminism.”

My favorite realization from the artist of this series is “Holy crap there are NO female orcs!”

So I was like, “Well what can I do to draw lady orcs for the world?”

Turns out my imagination was one step ahead of me.

There’s a work-in-progress comic starring my elf character, Auxaton (I talk more about his story in this blog post). In it, Auxaton meets a half-orc named Burnt. His dad was a human and that made his momma – Fern – a lady orc.

But I hadn’t drawn her yet UNTIL NOW:

fern the female orc sketch
It’s an unfinished sketch, but still wanted to share it.

She was actually my first try drawing a lady orc, and I found it fun.

Once I finished this, I went, “What other race in fantasy typically doesn’t feature women?”

The first race that came to mind: Dwarves.

So…

female dwarf ink sketch

I think the reason ladies aren’t often shown as orcs or dwarves is because there’s this assumption that orcs and dwarves are muscular, tough, and battle-hearty, which are traits not often paired with women.

In actuality, this is bogus. I run an entire blog called The Women Warriors Project to feature women in history who have fought in wars, as commanders, soldiers, or queens. Women like Nzinga Mbandi, Queen Padmini of Chitor, Bat Zabai, Hsi Kai Ching and Hua Mu Lan. And yes, these women actually existed, and lived, and fought, in our history.

If women can fight and be tough in history, why can’t they be fighters in fantasy?

While fantasy literature has been relatively good on this in recent years, comics are still sort of playing catch-up to this notion. Thankfully, in webcomics like Looking for Group, they’re featuring more lady orcs and lady dwarves. I think we need more of this.

Know any comics featuring these little-recognized badasses? Leave a comment below!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow.