Fragmented Femininity

In contemporary Illustration textbooks, the depiction of fragmented gender and femininity is often discussed as a trend (Wigan, 2006, p. 36). On the other hand, according to researchers like Gauntlett perception of self-identity is unified (Gauntlett 2008, p. 266). He challenges the postmodernist views of identities being fragmented, and he shows that in visual representation, most people portray their identity as “one thing” (Gauntlett 2008, p. 269). I set to find some examples of fragmented feminine depiction.

First, I examined the work of Anna Higgie. She creates illustrations of womanly forms interrupted by geometric shapes and graphic patterns. Higgie combines traditional medium like ink, pencil, watercolour, with digital techniques. I was drawn by the cinematic mood, the monochromatic palette and the juxtaposition of fine art drawings with abstract geometric elements. It creates a feeling of feminine vulnerability, hidden behind the digital patterns. These pictures can be viewed as portraits of the modern woman and her fragmented life experiences, of which feminist authors like June Hannam write.

Anna Higgie,  Dolor EP , 2012.

Anna Higgie, Dolor EP, 2012.

Anna Higgie,  Designs for murals in rooms 103 & 104 of ACE London , 2013.

Anna Higgie, Designs for murals in rooms 103 & 104 of ACE London, 2013.

Next, I explored the work of Hungarian designer Anna Kövecses. I was fascinated with the playful way she combines photos with illustrations. This technique enhances the narrative by adding a layer of additional meaning in the composition. Her work has a deceptively naive style, featuring simple figures and bright colors. However, the layouts are carefully arranged in a knowledgeable and thoughtful manner. In my personal work, I usually draw a clear distinction between my design works and my illustrations. Merging the two disciplines can lead to interesting results, as these images by Kovecses show. 

Unlike the examples above, my works represent things in a realistic manner. I would like to experiment more with interrupting the flow by use of geometry or photo collage.

Anna Kovecses,  Aritzia , 2013.

Anna Kovecses, Aritzia, 2013.


Gauntlett, D. 2008, Media, gender and identity: an introduction, New;1;2; edn, Routledge, London.

Wigan, M. 2006, Thinking visually, AVA, Lausanne.