Olga Andriyenko is a full-time, professional artist working in the video game industry by day, and draws comics and illustrations at night.

In her personal work, Olga is committed to spreading the message of body positivity and self-love through her art. “I try to reach people and share emotions with my art,” she shared with WYSK via email. “I started drawing as a kid to draw all the amazing heroines and princesses I wanted to be, and I think this is still what I do most of the time: drawing badass girls who can be role models.”

We asked Olga to tell us a bit about the inspiration and motivation for her series of comics “Why I support Body Positivity”…

The body-positivity movement means a lot to me. I struggled a lot being a chubby teenager and hating myself, trying diet after diet, even becoming jealous of people with anorexia/bulimia at one point. Nothing helped, and no matter what I did, the other kids continued to bully me because of my weight. I was sure that the only thing keeping me away from my happiness was my body.

After I got my first comic book published, I suddenly found a community of people who liked my work, shared common interests with me and were genuinely nice, despite me still being chubby and “unattractive.” I became happier and even forgot about my body hate a bit. Because I was going out and meeting people more often, I became more active, and over the years without any struggle or need to force myself, I even lost a lot of my teenage weight. And while I am still nowhere near what many would consider being “skinny,” I know that I don’t have to fit a particular beauty standard to be accepted.

It was through this experience that I came to realize that pressure and shame should not be what motivates people to become thinner… which, honestly, should not be the goal in the first place. We shouldn’t worry about being thin; we should strive to be healthy. And “health” does not always equate to how thin one is. My experience taught me, the most important part of getting healthy is mental health; if you are happy and care about yourself, it is easier to make healthier life choices. Discovering all the many “body positive” posts and blogs on social media helped me a lot on my journey towards accepting myself, loving my body and taking care of it.

The support I found through the body-positive community was a tremendous help to my overall well-being, which is why I support it and hope to spread more acceptance and self-love through my art. Little by little, we can make the world more caring and supportive.

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You can find Olga’s work on Society 6 and Instagram. And stay tuned for her next “passion project” Crimson Crush, “a comic about a relatable superheroine fighting bad guys and the reality of adult life.”