I'm a writer and artist, working mainly in comic books, and living in the South East of England (although I'm technically half Scottish and half English).
I'm the managing editor of Orang Utan Comics, group editor of AAM/Markosia, writer of Alpha Gods, Hypergirl and Hero: 9-5, and also do freelance inking and lettering work for the likes of AAM/Markosia, Slave Labour, Top Shelf, Image, Marvel/Panini and I letter the official Doctor Who graphic novels for BBC Books.
I have to say that it’s always going to be very tricky for any convention organiser to achieve gender parity on convention panels while the industry as a whole remains incredibly skewed towards male creators. That’s not to say that I don’t admire the principle of male creators stepping off panels…
There will be resistance to change and accusations of tokenism, I’m sure. The gesture’s sentiment is appreciated, but the approach should be less sensationalist. Conventions, their organisers and attendees will benefit more positively if the panels and guests are decided well ahead of time, rather than as a last-minute announcement (possibly disappointing and frustrating some fans).
From my experience working at Orang Utan Comics and Markosia, there’s never ever been a hint of being judged by anything other than my skill. The Indy comics community also seems to be very positive and supportive of anyone willing to prove their commitment. I count myself fortunate to be in such educated and gender-positive company, both male and female.
Encouraging more female creators to take part in panels is a great idea, not only as an encouragement for the next generation of artists and writers, but also for another perspective on the business. Should there be a seat available on a panel discussing my particular area of expertise – art and colour - I will gladly accept it and represent. ;)