“IF YOU had a chance to change your fate, would you?”
That line comes from the story of “Brave,” which was written by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Brenda Chapman — the first woman to direct an animated feature film at a major studio.
Leading up to Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, The Post’s Comic Riffs asked eight great creative minds — including Chapman — what advice they might have for the rising generation of young female artists, storytellers and other creatives in a world that can still present them with unique obstacles. What guidance might they offer gleaned from their own experience?
Here is what they have to say:
Oscar-winning filmmaker (“Brave,” “The Prince of Egypt”):
“Use your voice. Say what’s on your mind. If you run up against sexism, or any other negative ‘-ism,’ call it out — with humor if possible, but if not, then with conviction. Swallow your fear and be fired up by your passion. If your path is unfairly blocked, then find away around that obstacle, enlisting allies who share your convictions and belief that you have every right to work and be creative and that your voice should be heard.
“Most important, do the same for other women, young and old, whose voices, work and creative spirit should be given equity. Stand together, and we all stand stronger.
“Don’t forget that we are half of our species, and [that] without us, the other half would not exist. We are equal — even with our differences. Let’s not allow what progress we’ve made slip away or get brushed aside like the progress that was made in the 1970s.”
Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist (“El Deafo”) and illustrator:
“It might seem like so many forces are against you forging a creative path in this world, especially in these times of Internet criticism and sexism.
“Just remember that when you have a good idea, that’s power. Protect that power when you’re turning your idea into something more. You can — and you should — ignore the rest of the world while you’re writing or drawing or crafting. I have found, as someone who has trouble communicating [because of deafness], that the only communication that really matters for creative people is that which happens between us and the materials we are using to make stuff.
“And finally, if you choose to share what you make, disregard the haters. That’s the best way maintain your power so that you can keep creating.”
Eisner Hall of Fame cartoonist and visual educator:
“Always carry a pen and a notebook with you — write down the crazy things you hear people say: the good, the bad, the confusing. If you can draw a picture of them saying it, even better! In other words, start to make comics about your experiences in this world.
“And learn to sing ‘Bad Reputation’ by Joan Jett. Sing it as loud as you can with all of your heart.”
Reuben Award-nominated cartoonist; youngest woman to have a syndicated daily comic strip (“Rhymes With Orange”):
“You will face two monsters, an external one and an internal one. The external one is the person who tells you you don’t have what it takes. You need to cultivate a knee-jerk response to this, to the tune of: ‘Go to hell. Yes I can.’ The internal monster needs a much softer touch. She’s trying to protect you from rejection, but her strategies are misguided. She says things like, ‘You don’t have time’ or, ‘This isn’t real work’ or, ‘It’s probably not good enough.’
“Your job is to see through these tactics, then tuck her in, tell her everything is going to be okay, and go back to your desk.”
Cartoonist (“Exquisite Corpse,” the forthcoming “California Dreamin’ ”):
“Never accept the idea that you’re naturally good or bad at something because you’re a girl — that [anything] is a ‘girl thing,’ and that there is always one first girl into any boys’ club. Almost everything women do, they used to be banned from doing so at some point — but one day, one girl said that she had enough and she [would] go anyway. And she stuck her foot in the open door for the next generations to enter the club, and think it’s totally normal to do so. … We [women] are capable, and not a minority, but half of the world.”
McDuffie Diversity Award-winning cartoonist and illustrator (the forthcoming “M.F.K. Book One”):
“One of the most useful things I’ve learned is to have stamina. Art is a long game. It can take years for projects or even a career to build momentum. And that’s okay. It’s not a race; it’s a journey.”
Designer, illustrator and author (“Juana & Lucas,” “Smick”):
“Be kind — to yourself. Don’t indulge in negative self-talk, nor shortchange yourself, to others or to this planet.
“Be curious. Dare to question and explore. Listen, observe, document, process; actively participate in conversation — and especially be willing to bring your voice to conversations that may be challenging.
“Be brave. Think of failure as an essential step toward progress. Dare to create, time and time again. Don’t give into fear — act courageously [and] compassionately. Stand for justice. Believe in yourself, your abilities and the importance of continuous — and collaborative — work towards improvement.”
TERESA ROBERTS LOGAN
Cartoonist/author (a.k.a. the Laughing Redhead) and comedian (HBO’s “Comic Relief,” “Thou Shalt Laugh”):
“I encourage you, creative girls and women. I encourage you to stick to what gives you joy — what makes your soul sing. And to do what … you know you love, that you do so well — work at it. As Steve Martin says, ‘Be so good that they can’t ignore you.’
“And I encourage you not to leave it up to the current ‘gatekeepers.’ ‘They’ don’t publish your work? Publish your own. You want to do work [that] you see only boys and men doing? Do the work. And maybe, someday, the world will catch up with you. Take that chance.”