07/09/2013 09:43 am ET Updated Sep 07, 2013

Inspirational Women of Writing (PHOTOS)

Ryan Sheffield

A couple of months ago I posted an article and slideshow of my artwork depicting classic authors who've inspired me and countless others with a passion for the written word. It was quickly and correctly brought to my attention that my homage was a bit lopsided. Of the thirty authors I had drawn, only six were female. In my defense, this was certainly not intentional but it also isn't a fair representation of the brilliant wordsmiths that mean so much to me. I was caught off-guard and humbled by this realization and I immediately set out to rectify it.

Since the publishing of my first article I've worked diligently on drawing women who broke down barriers and committed words to page like no writer that came before. It will take me years to draw them all, but I selected seven that I felt wholly embodied the power and audacity that I so admire in a great author or poet. These women (and so many others that I have yet to commemorate in ink) created works that shaped our modern culture--works that will outlive us all. They shined light on the taboo, spat in the face of the status quo and, most importantly, gave us truly unforgettable stories.

Every now and then I hear from teachers who have hung my drawings in their classrooms. It means the world to me. Not because my work is displayed but because there's a chance that a kid who loves to read, who wants to write--a kid just like I was--might read the words of these authors and feel inspired to follow their passions and become writers themselves. If my scribbling can in any way encourage young people to express themselves, there is no amount of money or notoriety (or even free books) that could equal that feeling. My hope is that young girls who see these drawings find in them the motivation and strength to tell their stories. I want them to feel the confidence and freedom to speak their minds. I want them to write.

I cannot do what teachers, parents, role models, and brilliant authors can do for young writers, but if these drawings can help give encouragement of any kind then I feel I have succeeded in what I set out to do. I look forward to reading the works of a new generation of female writers. Their perspective, their ideas, their stories will be unlike any that came before. And I have much to learn from them.

You can view my full collection of author drawings here.

Below are the seven women I've selected, as well as the women who were included in my previous slideshow.

Inspirational Female Authors