scribbles by nicole, semi-anonymous illustrator/cartoonist

I’ve written pretty extensively on this idea that I have a primal need to be creative, and if I’m not, I feel a little lost.  It’s in the foundation of my being.  As I write this, I’ve got two other pieces open on my computer and a list of projects I would like to start working on that grows each day.  I want the things I create to mean something: to have substance (be it serious or more light-hearted) and inspire people to think.

This is exactly what I find in Scribbles by Nicole‘s work.  Her drawings strike me: they’re introspective and silly and emotional and light. She has the ability to reveal so much about herself and the way she sees the world while still remaining a private person.  I’m so excited to have gotten the chance to talk to her about her craft, balancing being a creative with corporate work, and what her future looks like.  Read on to find out!

The LipLiner: Hi Nicole! Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.  Would you care to give yourself a little introduction?

Nicole: Sure! I’m Nicole: I’m 29, work full-time in marketing, and moonlight as a semi-anonymous illustrator/cartoonist.

TLL: Something I admire in your art is, of course, the deep level of introspection, but above all, the encouragement. Does being a positive person come naturally to you?

N: That’s so nice to hear! It does! Don’t get me wrong: I, like everyone else, get grumpy, have bad days, get down on myself, etc., but my default setting is definitely optimistic. And if I can’t be positive about something, I try to step back and find the humor in the ridiculousness of the whole thing (life, I mean).

TLL: Has drawing always been your preferred expressive outlet?  Do you paint, sculpt, write music?

N: No, actually I only started drawing recently – as in when I created my Instagram last November. That said, I’ve always considered myself a relatively creative person and [have] always had a lot of creative energy. I also write and play the piano occasionally.

TLL: What is your creative process like? Are your images typically posted shortly after completion or you do go back and look at what you’ve created until it doesn’t make sense anymore? (…just me?)

N: I can totally relate to that feeling! It’s a mix of both for me. I definitely have “ideas” for posts that have just been sitting in my notes app, waiting to be fleshed out for months, that make less and less sense everytime I look at them. On the other hand, sometimes something will pop in my head, I’ll draw it out immediately, and post it the next morning so it really just depends on the day (I draw at night when I get home from work and post the next morning to keep things as consistent as possible).

TLL: How long have you been drawing? Are you self-taught or have you taken lessons?

N: Self-taught! I started drawing when I started my Instagram last November. 

TLL: What was the first drawing of yours you remember looking at and being proud of?

N: Honestly the very first drawing I posted on my account is probably the one I’m most proud of. It’s certainly not the funniest or most insightful drawing, but its the one I took a chance on despite being super embarrassed that someone I know would see it, and the one that ultimately ended up started this whole thing.

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 4.00.48 PM
Nicole’s first Instagram post; November 2016.         c/o Scribbles by Nicole

TLL: Something I struggle with when I’m writing for publication  is how transparent I want to be.  There’s merit in honesty, but I’m often halted by the “what would X or Y think of this if they read it?”.  What is your practice with transparency in your creativity?

N: That is a constant struggle of mine. Whether it’s in my personal life or in my drawings, I’ve always been hypersensitive to what other people think of me, but this Instagram account I started has really helped me get over those fears because so far only good things have come out of just being myself. And even when people don’t like it, honestly so what?

…That said, it is easier to post what I’m thinking because I’ve managed to stay anonymous. I don’t intend on staying anonymous forever though, that will be the next step for me.

TLL: What kind of music do you listen to when you’re creating? (If any!)

N: I actually really like to listen to podcasts when I’m drawing and have the idea down. Hidden Brain, Fresh Air and Ted Talks are some of my favorites. When I listen to music, I usually start with Alanis and go from there.

TLL: You mentioned having a full-time job in an unrelated field.  How do you remain creative and inspired after a full work week?

N: Honestly I think some of my most creative posts come from the fact that I’m at work during the day, because I have a lot of pent up creative energy when I come home. My drawings are usually observational in nature, so it’s kind of a requirement for me to just live my life (which right now includes working a corporate job).

TLL: Has having amassed a large social following in any way altered the things you draw or what you post? (Note: At the time of publication, Nicole has 79.8K Instagram followers).

N: I suppose so. If I stop and think about it, sometimes it can get a little intimidating, but mostly it’s kept me accountable and motivated to continue doing it. There are days when I’m in a creative rut, or I get kind of down on myself and ask why I’m even doing this and then I’ll get a really nice message from a follower and I’m like oh yea!

TLL: Finish the statement: In five years, I hope…

N: To be happy & creatively fulfilled… and maybe to have a more specific plan 🙂

Stay updated on Nicole’s “scribbles” by following her on Instagram.  Happy creating!


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