Judith Vanistendael was born in Leuven, Belgium in 1974. After graduating from high school, she attended art school in Ghent and lived in Berlin for a year and took courses at the Hochschule der Kunsten. After returning to Belgium, she studied art sciences for four years, after which she did a postgraduate in Sevilla, Spain. She illustrated the children's book 'Vlaamse Sprookjes', that was written by her father Geert Vanistendael.
In 2000, she moved to Brussels and enrolled at the Comic School of the Sint-Lukas School of Arts. She created several comics, among others for magazine Demo, and illustrated the book 'Het Koeienboek' by Bibi Dumontak. Her partially autobiographical graphic novel 'De Maagd en de Neger' ('Dance By the Light of the Moon') dealt with the author's relationship with a political refugee from Togo and was published by Oog & Blik in 2007. The second part was published in 2009.
This widely praised book was followed by 'Toen David zijn stem verloor' ('When David Lost His Voice'), a moving story about cancer and death, in 2012. Vanistendael's work has been translated in French and English. With her ground-breaking graphic novels, Vanistendael has been called the Belgian Posy Simmonds.