On my @atypicalnarrative Instagram account I tend to only follow creators. 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.
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. Why?
The autobiographical illustrations help “humanize” the artist. I think at times it’s easy to look at your Instagram feed (no matter what the content) and feel totally disconnected with 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 them telling me what’s been going on with their life lately.
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 those, 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.
Welcome to my biggest flaw. This doesn't happen ALL the times, every day, but is still something I have to work on constantly. You're not alone, work hard, be productive, have an schedule and try to rest when you can! Ps. The pomodoro technique really helps! It's a time management method in which you work in 25min intervals. Please give it a go!
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 ones she’s posted. Her style is really cute and the personality expressed through her illustrations is a lot of fun.
While the three mentioned above are my recent favorites, I do follow a lot of other artists on Instagram who either create comics about their lives or occasionally share doodles of themselves. Feel free to check them out as well: @__ubicilembu__, @zoesees, @cassandracalin, @angry_girlz_comics, @eledraws, @marloesdevee, @murrzstudio, @katnippillustration, @mrs.frollein, @sarahgraley, @_bigail, @margadraws, @karacandraw, @ana_oncina, @jamiesquire_, @planetprudence, @lorynbrantz, @juliabernhardcomics, @bethdrawsthings, @sarahandersencomics, @cisforfrenchfry, @hannahhillam
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. (As of now, each of my diary doodles on Instagram are pretty much just me smiling, haha.) At some point in the next year I’d like to focus on capturing various expressions on my characters, so stay tuned for that.
And I think that’s it! 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.