Period Diaries

We meet illustrator and visual artist Maanya Dhar who decided to trace the experiences and emotions women go through each month due to menstruation by creating a fun alphabet series where each letter denotes a particular feeling. Read our chat below and view her full Period Alphabet. 

How did you come up with the idea for Period Diaries?

I came across the '36 days of type' challenge where one had to create the alphabet in any way one pleases. I chose to go with something I am familiar with and something that's not talked about much. I have always loved the female form and find myself drawing this again and again. So it was pretty clear to me that I wanted to create the alphabet around women. Menstruation is something that is still not talked about as openly all over the world and I find that quite ridiculous, so obviously I had to depict this in the rawest form I could. I tried to stay as true to my own experiences and the experiences of women all over the world while creating the series. 

This is definitely the kind of alphabet I would have wanted to learn as a girl in school - would you ever consider making your Period Alphabet into a book?

I would love to turn this into a book for girls and women all over! However, today I do feel the internet is the surest way of getting this series and its message across to everyone. 

I love how your alphabet describes pretty much every emotion, mood and feeling we encounter when it’s the time of the month - which was the hardest letter to create?

Somehow the one I struggled with the most was S- Sass Queen. It was really challenging to try and depict sassiness in the form of the letter S and still stay true to how sassy one feels. I still don't think I'm very happy with what I've done, but then again, I do feel like all the alphabets could be improved upon and made more relatable or accurate. 

Which is your favourite letter or the one you can relate to the most?

Ah, this is a really tough question! I don't have a favourite, but the ones that I can relate to the most are probably M - Mood Swings, H - Hangry, and J - Jerking off. 

"I want people to feel however they feel viewing this. You feel yuck? Fine. But why do you feel disgusted? Think about it. You feel offended? Fine, but why? You feel like someone finally gets you? Half the world gets you."

By creating this series how did you want people to feel when viewing it? Where can people buy your art?

I'm not too sure. I guess I just wanted women and girls to embrace all these experiences and be okay with it. Some days are good, some days aren't, and thats okay. I wanted to make period talk something that's normal and not just something we should whisper about or not talk about in public. Half the world bleeds for most of their lives. Big deal. Its fine. I also didn't want the series to be viewed only by women. A lot of men are uncomfortable with periods and don't like talking about them. Mostly I think because they don't fully understand it, like a lot of girls when they hit puberty. I don't want menstruation to be something that cannot be spoken about. The more we talk about it, the more people will get comfortable with it and understand that its a natural thing that happens all the time all around us and its not something to be ashamed of, or something to hide. Coming back to the question, went a little off topic there haha. I want people to feel however they feel viewing this. You feel yuck? Fine. But why do you feel disgusted? Think about it. You feel offended? Fine, but why? You feel like someone finally gets you? Half the world gets you. And we're only going to increase the number of people that get you. So feel whatever, but don't ignore it, because you can't ignore something that is such a prominent part of a woman's life. 

Where can people buy your art?

People can buy my art by getting in touch with me through Instagram or by writing an email to me :)

Do you have any upcoming projects we should keep an eye out for?

I do plan on doing something for Inktober this year. But still need to figure out what!

Lastly, wheres the best place for our readers to keep up to date with your art and all things Period Diaries related?

I post all my work and news related to the Period Diaries on my Instagram :) 

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