She hung pictures on Tumblr and is now one of the most successful painters: the story of Sarah Andersen
The sun beat strongly in Plaça Nova de Barcelona , but the crowds of people made it clear that people wanted to endure the heat for one of the most promising talks he had scheduled at the event. Sarah Andersen , creator of the comic called Sarah’s Scribbles , participated in that talk . Maybe the name does not sound like anything, but surely you recognize it as soon as you see his drawings.
Sarah is the perfect example of a new generation of artists who have seen how the traditional audience has been overtaken by digital . That has many advantages, but also disadvantages that can even affect the authors and creators of content. Sarah explained everything she personally experienced with this phenomenon in the heart of Barcelona.
To use Paint fruit of boredom to publish three success books
Sarah Andersen has been drawing since she was a child in New York, it came naturally to her. From Things in Squares says that the one who drew three or four things knew right away that something was there. And as he says in another interview from The College Juice , the drawings allowed him to laugh at the experience of being in high school and it was a good way for the friends he made with those drawings to laugh as well.
However, it was not until his second year at the university that Paint opened while bored at work and began to draw the strips of Sarah’s Scribbles (initially called Doodle Time). They were published for the first time on Tumblr in 2011, and they were gaining traction as other websites were echoing them. The first strip that went viral in the networks is ” Waking Up “, in which she simply comes out not wanting to get out of bed because that would mean doing adult things.
That virality catapulted her more and more with time, accelerating that popularity until she reaches the one she has right now. The decision to publish a book was as easy as it was accurate: the first of its collection became the fifth best-selling on Amazon within the category of graphic novels of contemporary women. He also reached 69th place in the best-selling comics and 260th in the Satire category.
To this day, the strips of Sarah’s Scribbles are tremendously known. There is no way to know the number of followers of your Tumblr, but the official account of Instagram already has 2.6 million followers. There is even a Facebook page that translates all the strips into Spanish as they come out. Another unofficial but authoritative website does the same with the Russian language.
One of the keys to Andersen’s fame is the number of people who feel identified with their comics . His strips, which reflect the insecurity of assuming an adult life full of responsibilities, do not stop causing readers to say the classic phrases: ” This has happened to me a thousand times “, or ” This always goes through my head ” Two fans waiting in Sarah’s signature queue express it this way:
Sarah manages to represent a collective quite ignored from a comical point of view. Through humor, he manages to understand everything that introverts and those suffering from anxiety go through.
It is very easy to feel identified and say: “this is me!” in each comic. Guess the things you have in your head, your pots and so on.
How does Sarah always achieve this effect? The author describes her method from the event in Barcelona: the first thing she does is write a sentence about the vignette she wants to draw . Then, around that phrase, create a comic strip that is based on it. An example that gives us is the phrase ” as always the rage just comes back “, which ended up relating to the drawing of a boomerang for being a tool that you also launch and return:
— Sarah Andersen (@SarahCAndersen) 8 Temmuz 2017
The interaction of technology in Sarah’s comics appears from time to time, as you can see in the example below where humor is made as a result of the disturbing laughter that Alexa did for a few days. He also mentionedthe possibility that we are in a virtual world to the matrix (something that theoretical physics has been able to disprove ) and the fake news that flooded us in 2017.
In any case, Sarah affirms that she considers herself simply an illustrator, and for her to tell a story and illustrate it are two very different things. He adds that what he does with his cartoons is to try to express his feelings, and although on many occasions he reflects things that happen to him in his daily life, he does not qualify Sarah’s Scribbles as a diary . Maybe what you draw has not happened in reality, but you have experienced what the drawing conveys.
With this formula, Sarah has come to publish what are currently three books. And it shows an evolution of his work: the first book, Adulthood is a Myth , is a compilation of its strips on immaturity from a positive point of view. And although the strips have always talked about it, the most recent book addresses deeper issues such as the impact that the internet has on creativity and the dissemination of an artist’s work .
Artists VS the current internet
Sarah Andersen took advantage of the panel of the Barcelona book fair to talk about precisely this topic, which increasingly affects more creators: the harassment suffered even by their own followers . He talked about how things have changed in a matter of a few years, of having to wait for months until receiving the opinions of the people until doing so immediately and massively.
And since it is a relatively new phenomenon, we have not yet reacted adequately to all the bullying that you may suffer when you publish your material online. For Sarah it is very important to protect yourself from this type of harassment before it even affects you mentally. In his most recent book he tells us how his adventures on the internet started in online painting rooms, where he could draw and share his work with other fans. Sarah compares that time to ” when you go to a party that is right where you want to be and where the people you want it to be are in it .”
What happened now? Well, that party now ” only consists of a burning room “ . Sarah believes that the Internet ” begins to show itself as it really is“, with people who hide behind anonymity to abuse the trolling and ” cause as much damage as possible and then say it was all a joke .” For her, the internet has not changed, but ” it had never been a good place “. His opinion is that there have always been campaigns of harassment in the network, but before we did not pay attention to them. Now that the problem is evident, we do.
” We have lost empathy in front of the screens, ” Sarah continues in her latest book. Affirms that we have accepted online harassment as normal to a bizarre and even inhuman. The author explains in a thread that almost leads her to stop publishing strips, but in the end she fights all that pessimism creating more content, trusting in her work and believing that a change for the better is possible.
I have not talked much about this publicly, but now seems like the right time. 2 years ago I underwent a targeted harassment campaign so severe that I almost quit comics.
— Sarah Andersen (@SarahCAndersen) 28 Ağustos 2018
In her particular case, Sarah explains that she has also had her particular evolution. Before he took seriously all the comments he received online in their strips, and now (also due to its large numbers) simply looks at the general idea that these comments say by doing a “quick scan” of them. Consider a bad idea to “submerge” in what each of them says , since “people can be very cruel” for a simple comic strip.
— Sarah Andersen (@SarahCAndersen) 27 Haziran 2018
At the public level, the New York author was unable to participate in the first public events in which they offered to appear. But over time he even enjoys them, having managed to reduce the nerves that passes. In the own fair of Barcelona signed copies of books of his fans during a good time.
He also appreciates that although he has many followers online, he still can enjoy anonymity on the street . Nobody knows what Sarah looks like, what people look for from her is her job and not her face. Therefore, you can walk or shop in stores without having to deal with followers who recognize it.
Currently Sarah continues to publish new strips regularly, in addition to working on the illustrations of another project. For her it is another step in her career, which represents a challenge because she runs into deadlinesthat she has to comply with.