The Evolution of Girls Can’t WHAT?

Untitled-1Someone asked me a long time ago to post this and I just never got around to it. Probably because it’s a little embarrassing in my opinion. I know I really shouldn’t worry about it. It’s not like Picasso was born with a paintbrush in his hand and I’m sure his early attempts at art were a total disaster. So were mine. Here is a little play-by-play of how the Girls Can’t WHAT? characters were created…

In 2005, my art skills were limited to doodling stick figures on scratch paper. I had the ideas for the characters in my head, but I had a terrible time getting them out on paper, much less in digital form for printing.

I started on paper and eventually progressed to the only medium I knew at the time…Powerpoint. Yes, it’s ok to laugh.  You might grab a box of tissues…these will make you laugh until you cry.  Or maybe you will cry because they are HIDEOUS!

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Then I did what I always do when I get frustrated. I went to the library. I checked out a huge stack of books on cartoon art and drawing facial expressions, etc. Meanwhile I continued to experiment…

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Eventually I decided I needed to focus on one design…

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Had enough yet? I warned you they were AWFUL!

But I pressed on. If you haven’t figured out, I don’t give up very easily…

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And then I got smart. With my limited funds, I invested in a real drawing application and began to get very serious about my art in early 2006…

Girls Can't WHAT? Girls Can't WHAT? Bass Guitar Girls Can't WHAT? Fire Fighter

My first few “real” designs were a success and requests for more were piling up.   So I scraped together what little funds I had generated and in the summer of 2007 I bought a Mac, some professional applications for creating vector art and a series of tutorials on DVD. It was a huge risk and I actually floated the balance on a “first 3 months are interest-free” credit card for a couple months, gambling that my little shop would pull in enough income to pay off that balance each month. It did. :)

And then I really started to crank out the characters… And they keep getting better (in my humble opinion).

Girls Can't WHAT? Diver Girls Can't WHAT? Farmer Girls Can't WHAT? X-ray Technologist

I hope this little walk through Girls Can’t WHAT? history will inspire you to stick with your dreams and recognize that you are not stuck at your current skill level.  You can only get better.

Hard work and persistence paid off for me.

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  1. Lori Sentel on September 10, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I think that is GREAT Gretchen! I Love your work!
    Keep it up girl! You’re awesome!


  2. gretchen on September 10, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Thanks Lori. I appreciate the feedback and I’m glad you like my designs. Your comment made my day! :)

  3. kel1 on September 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I totally remember those!! :P You’ve come a long way!

  4. gretchen on September 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    You are one of the privileged few to have seen them first hand. ;)

  5. Positively Present on September 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    This was great! It was awesome to see the evolution. Thanks for putting this into a post today. :)

  6. Kim on September 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    LOL!This is too cute…and so funny!

  7. Marci on September 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Its great to let people see how you progressed. Some people don’t even start projects or endeavors because they want to be great from the start. They don’t realize that it takes time and work and persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

  8. You Have To Start Somewhere on March 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    […] feeling” and I know when my work is not up to par.  Take, for example, my post called The Evolution of Girls Can’t WHAT? to see what I […]

  9. Grietje (Paulien Maria) Keller on February 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    This is a very inspiring post. I think it is one of the influences that made me start drawing again.'m-posting-every-week-in-2011/

  10. […] Gretchen wrote this post about learning to draw her ‘Girls can’t what’-characters. […]

  11. gretchen on February 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks – I’m glad you like it. Your artwork is very cool as well!

  12. […] get me wrong, I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Do-It-Yourselfdom. Girls Can’t WHAT? was built from the ground up through endless hours of learning web design methods and pushing through the trial and errors of […]

  13. Are you accidentally talented? on August 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    […] I started Girls Can’t WHAT?, I really had no clue what I was doing as you’ve seen very clearly in this illustrated post. I fumbled my way through designing, coding and marketing skills until I came up with something […]

  14. GIRLS CAN'T WHAT? | Girls Guide To Swagger on January 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    […] No doubt Gretchen’s swagger has rubbed off on her girls and we hope they will become as successful as their mother some day. If you would like to find out more about the “evolution” of the Girl’s Can’t WHAT? website, please click here. […]

  15. SA_MEERAH on December 12, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Wow Gretchen.. I don’t know what to say but you’re role model, truely. I don’t regret subscribing to Girls Can’t What?

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