Creating Heroines workshop in Kathmandu

| by Dr Nicola Streeten

A 3 day collaborative workshop with artists from South Asia and the UK

Our aim in this three-day workshop is to reflect on the theme of heroines, to create artwork including zines, posters and stories. I am excited to see what will develop from conversations during the next three days. There are six of us from 4 different countries: Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the UK. We do not all know each other, so we began by introducing ourselves and our practice. We all have presence online, but it’s always great to get people’s personal stories of why they began using the comics form. We are…

Samya Arif (Pakistan). Illustrator, designer

Isuri Merenchi Hewage (Sri Lanka). Illustrator, children's and comic book artist.

Promina Shrestha  (Nepal). Researcher, educator & illustrator.

Shraddha Shrestha (Nepal). Illustrator, designer, street artist.

Dr Nicola Streeten (UK). Illustrator, graphic novelist, comics scholar. 

Bandana Tulachan (Nepal). Illustrator and children's book artist.

In the last couple of days, whilst re-reading Lynda Barry’s syllabus, I was inspired to adapt some of her techniques to get us started drawing. Everyone seemed keen, so after lunch we put all our materials out on our table comparing pens and favourite tools. We inspected our selection of materials. We have a good variety, including inks and oil pastels.

Workshop CH


We spent about 10 minutes creating a “word bag”. On separate bits of paper we wrote down words that we associate with “heroines”, “inspiring women” and “role models” and put them in a bag. We then each took 5 words from the bag and spent the rest of the afternoon drawing our responses to our words. We worked in concentrated silence coming up for air now and then to laugh and chat. Then heads down again. We got some great results between us, each developing the activity to suit our interests.

Here are my phone photos to show our different styles and starting points…


Isuri photo day 1


Isuri compiled notes and ideas on some wonderful pages, injecting wit into her approach.


Promina picture day 1


Promina developed three delightful characters that she sees a narrative forming around.


Bandana picture day 1


Bandana responded to words including “troubled” and “vulnerable” and began a narrative around a character in a landscape of mountains becoming larger than her environment, adding a metaphorical view.


Shraddha picture day 1


Shraddha responded to “ambivalent” with this amazingly dramatic image.


Nicola Image day 1


I responded to “funny” which I thought captured the essence of the day with these talented and inspirational women. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of storytelling, it was a rich start to our collaboration and I look forward to the coming days.


Dr Nicola Streeten is an anthropologist-turned-illustrator and author of award winning graphic memoir, Billy, Me & You (Myriad Editions, 2011). She co-founded the international forum Laydeez do Comics in 2009. Her PhD was A Cultural History of Feminist Cartoons and Comics in Britain from 1970-2010 with a focus on the role of humour. Since 2015 she has been lecturing in the UK on Critical and Theoretical Studies to BA Illustration and Animation students at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London and Kingston University; and in Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex.

Reading list from the workshop:

Inspiring books

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Creating Heroines is a collaborative international project initiated by the British Council. Bringin...

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