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Selma Emiroğlu Aykan

Selma Emiroğlu Aykan

Turkey's first professional woman cartoonist
"At first, they wondered whether a man was behind the Selma Emiroğlu drawings."

Date of Birth: 1927

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death: 04/10/2011 2011

Place of Death: Tutzing, Germany

Burial Site: Waldfriedhof Tutzing, Germany



Selma Emiroğlu Aykan Selma Emiroğlu Aykan Selma Emiroğlu Aykan

Field of Activity

"My family and all my teachers during my school years showed interest and support for my passion for, and accomplishments in, drawing and music. When I was a child, making pictures, I sang while drawing. And later I drew my cartoons while listening to music.

When I was 13 years of age, my mother sent some of my best drawings to the period's most beloved cartoonist, Cemal Nadir Güler. In 1943, when Cemal Nadir Güler published my first drawings in a new publication, Amca Bey Mizah Magazine, my future course was set. At first, the letters coming into the magazine from readers wondered whether a man was secretly behind the Selma Emiroğlu drawings. Some people, looking me right in the eye, asked, "Is it really true, little woman, or did your big brother at home really draw these, or did your teacher help you?"

In 1945, when the Yapı ve Kredi Bankası (Bank of Construction and Credit) asked Cemal Nadir Gülen to do the drawings for the Doğan Brother Children's Magazine (Doğan Kardeş), its cultural publication, he recommended me, noting that 'this young woman is a better match for you'.

The editor of the magazine was Vedat Nedim Tör. A short time before, my first show had opened, and he himself wrote me a rave review. He welcomed me with open arms. I began to design both the front and back covers for the magazine, which began as a monthly, but later came out weekly.
I selected the subjects myself, and I also prepared the necessary captioning. The Black Cat Gang, which I created for this magazine, was all the children's favorite. My drawings in this publication were continually praised, and I was much loved. I was known initially as a child prodigy and then as the first Turkish woman cartoonist.
I follow with great joy the rapidly growing numbers of young women artists who have come into the ranks of Turkish cartoonists after me."
Selma Emiroğlu
"Selma Emiroğlu",
İzel Rozental, "Selma Emiroğlu ile söyleşi",, 2009.

Works of Selma Emiroğlu
(A Selection)

Yıldız Dağdelen; illustrations: Selma Emiroğlu Aykan, Diksiyon, İstanbul, 2011.

Selma Emiroğlu, Çizgiler ve Tınılar, Ankara Karikatür Vakfı Yayınları, 2001.

F. H. Burnett, Küçük Prenses, translation: Nihal Yalaza Taluy; illustrations: Selma Emiroğlu, İstanbul, Doğan Kardeş Yayınları, 1951 (Doğan Kardeş Çocuk Romanları 2), 8. basım 1965.

Selma Emiroğlu as Soprano

Selma Emiroğlu sang dramatic soprano roles in the Istanbul City Chorus.


  • 1999 Ankara Cartoon Foundation, Award of Honor
  • 2001 Ankara Cartoon Foundation, Cartoonist of the Year
  • 2005 Fifth Cappadoccia/Urgup Cartoon Contest, First Prize


(No information available)


American Women's College (Izmir, 1940; Istanbul, 1942)

Istanbul Municipal Conservatory, Singing Department, 1953

Contributions to Society

(No information available)

Family and Friends

  • Mother: Münevver Emiroğlu
  • Father: (Information not available)
  • Brother: Yalçın Emiroğlu (Architect)
  • Daughter: Aylin Aykan (Pianist and composer)
  • Husband:Aydın Aykan (architect)
  • Great Grandfather:
    Emin Paşa (Eduard Schnitzer, native German, doctor)
  • Friends:Ferruh Doğan, Altan Erbulak, Güngör Kabakçıoğlu, Turhan Selçuk

Commemorative Projects

Issue in Her Memory
Guldiken Journal, Selma Emiroğlu issue

The Guldiken Mizah Cultural Journal chose Selma Emiroglu as the subject of its 2007 issue.

Further Reading


Quoted Sources :
Source of Visual Images :

Translation into English: Margaret Fearey, Milton, Massachusetts, USA
©2012 Meral Akkent
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