Instagram inspirations: diary doodles ft. Frannerd, squarefetish, and Sharon Sordo

On my Instagram account I tend to only follow illustrators. There’s something just so motivating about opening my feed and scrolling through the artwork of so many inspirational creators. It makes me want to keep learning and improving my work.

While the artists I follow create a diverse range of content, I thought it would be fun to highlight what I’ve noticed as the posts that excite me the most: diary doodles. 

Self-portrait of myself admiring my three Instagram inspirations: Squarefetish, Sharonsordo, and Frannerd by Asti Stenning
Note: The three characters above belong to their respective creators (@squarefetish, @sharonsordo, and @frannerd). I pulled the character designs, styles, and color choices from their Instagram to create this image. All credit goes to them.

The thing about diary doodles…

I absolutely love artists that create illustrations reflecting their own lives. While I definitely have an appreciation for imaginative work, I find that I’m much more likely to slow down and admire illustrations capturing everyday moments and observations in my feed.


The autobiographical illustrations help “humanize” the artist for me. I think at times it’s easy to look at your Instagram feed (no matter what the content) and feel totally disconnected from the other contributors because they’re so creative or have great success or whatever. They can seem somewhat untouchable.

I don’t tend to have that issue with artists who create images reflecting their personal lives.

They may have hundreds of thousands of followers and my comment may get lost in the sea of others who are interacting with the post, but I still feel like I’m getting to know that artist as a person. Their personal illustrations feel like they’re telling me what’s been going on with their life lately and I like how intimate that feels.

I also find such content much more relatable and therefore conversation-inducing. I feel bad admitting this but when an artist does something like only post illustrations of sassy girls on their feed, I quickly run out of things to say. Yes, I love their style (why else would I be following them?) and admire their work, but I’m not one to be okay with just commenting “I love your work!” on every post. I want my comments to be meaningful, but I can find I don’t have much to say if a prompt isn’t provided.

When it comes to personal art, there’s usually a lot there that one can meaningfully connect with. Whether it’s the emotions expressed, moment captured, people involved, etc – one is bound to have something to say either about the artist’s illustration or how their personal experience connects to it.

Plus, I admire the ability of these artists to take everyday experiences and transform them into art. I tend to get wrapped up in the mindset sometimes that I have nothing to say because I’m not really doing much with my life. Thanks to artists like these though, I’ve realized that even the most simplest of things can be fun to draw and talk about, and it makes me appreciate everyday moments all the more.

The autobiographical artists I currently enjoy.

I think most people on the internet are aware of Fran and her work, but if you’re one of the few who haven’t stumbled across her artwork yet I highly recommend checking it out. Her content, whether it’s her Instagram illustrations or Youtube videos, have such a sense of authenticity to them that even though she’s never acknowledged my presence I feel like she’s a friend.

Ferne X is one of my favorite Instagram artists because not only does she produce content I love but she also responds to my comments (for some reason I feel like Instagram comments are really hit or miss compared to blogs). I love how a lot of her illustrations capture moments from her relationship as they’re definitely relatable and her sweet and fun personality makes up for her love of cats. (I’ve just realized all three artists I’ve featured love cats. Oh no.)

Sharon Sordo is an artist I found recently on Instagram. While she hasn’t consistently posted a lot of illustrations about her life like Fran and Ferne, I do love the few that she’s posted. Her style is really cute and the personality expressed through her illustrations is a lot of fun.

How this work is inspiring me.

While I haven’t yet shared on them on the blog, I have started attempting to create more artwork based off of my everyday life. (If you’re following me on my various social media accounts you’re likely to have seen them there.)  It’s been a lot of fun reflecting on my days and using my experiences as inspiration, but I still feel like I have a long way to go.

For one, I’m not great at storytelling in my art. Sure, I can draw some images reflecting what went down, but finding the right moment to display and balancing my art with commentary is something I struggle with.

Looking at my favorites above, I actually think I should encourage myself to write more with my personal drawings, but I do tend to find that my writing often annoys me in my work so meh, we’ll see what happens. It’s something I am continually trying to improve.

I also have to admit I’m not great with facial expressions. Part of the reason I love the artists mentioned above is their ability to capture multiple expressions that communicate the story they’re telling.

I feel like for myself, my expressions either all end up the same or I draw a complete blank as to what a certain expression should even look like. At some point in the next year I’d like to focus on capturing various expressions on my characters, so stay tuned for that.

Let’s Chat

What do you think about autobiographical artwork? Do you enjoy artists who create content about their lives, or do you prefer fantastical kind of work? What kind of Instagram content inspires you? Let me know in the comments below and link to your favorites!

Asti signature

Related posts:

Blog archives image: "December's diary doodles: a month of dogs, my family, and Christmas" Blog archives image: "March's diary doodles: dog surprises, family fun, and sending off my visa application!" Blog archives image: "Success! A month-long challenge of Disney doodles completed. A reflection of my participation in an Instagram challenge."








8 thoughts on “Instagram inspirations: diary doodles ft. Frannerd, squarefetish, and Sharon Sordo

  1. Following artists on Instagram is something that I have done a lot of recently. You make such a great point about autobiographical style illustrations and something I had not thought about before. The artists that you featured are fantastic! 😀

    I am pleased to hear that they have been an inspiration to you. I am sure with a lot more practice that you will be able to capture a lot of expression and emotion. 😀

    I love many different styles of illustrations and artworks. I like to see works that are created in a unique style and capture the artist’s personality and style. 😀

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kassy! (Haha, I had to stop myself from calling you Kya just then.) Practice is definitely the way to improvement! There’s so many times when I look at my work and just want to vomit (well, that might be a bit extreme) but as long as I can see some progress in each piece I’m happy (and there’s always SOMETHING in each one I like and are proud of). ❤

  2. I love this! I wasn’t familiar with any of the artists, but you know how much I like words and learning about people, so I’d definitely be more likely to follow an artist if their work is autobiographical. I’ve really enjoyed your turn towards autobiographical artwork!

    1. Thanks Maraia! I’m not surprised you feel similarly, we often do, haha. I’m curious though, do you follow any artists? (Apart from me, of course ;)) I’d be curious what kinds you like!

      1. I don’t! It never actually occurred to me, if I’m being honest. I do follow a few travel accounts on my personal account, but for the most part I only follow people that I interact with.

  3. Wow, I’ve never looked at these kinds of artists and art as “genre,” but I definitely see kind of a whole “genre” stemming from the life-diaries of doodles. I’ve always admired people who could do what you’re describing, as it’s generally an important moment that they are capturing for us to share. I really enjoyed reading about your wedding post below with the illustrations… I think people’s blogs would be even more interesting to read if they were all illustrated instead of had photographs! (I alas cannot draw, so I have to rely on random photos I took haha).

    Best wishes to your 2018, and hope you will be able to add in more “daily life drawings” to your art! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your kind comments Hiro! I agree, illustrations can definitely add a nice touch to blogs. I don’t mind photography but I feel like there’s such a standard with how photos should look on blogs (though it may just all be in my head). I’m not great at flatlays or posing in front of a camera so I feel more comfortable illustrating than taking pictures for my posts.

      And yes, I guess “genre” is a bit of a weird way to describe such doodles but I definitely enjoy them! Though I have to admit, if I were to limit mine to only important moments in my life I’d barely have anything to draw. I lead a pretty dull life! 😛

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