Spotlight On: Sarah Andersen, Author of “Sarah’s Scribbles”

If you ask anyone on social media, they’ll probably tell you they’ve come across Sarah’s Scribbles at some point. These web comics, marked by their signature wide-eyed characters and ridiculously relatable humor, often snowball into viral sensations, amassing thousands of shares per cartoon.

Of course, we were dying to hear from the brain behind the brand, Sarah Andersen. Keep reading to see what she had to say about her new book, the creative process, and what’s in store for the future of Sarah’s Scribbles.

1. We’re so excited – your new book, Big Mushy Happy Lump, just came out yesterday! Can you share with our readers what they have to look forward to?

Big Mushy Happy Lump is a collection that gathers the “best of” comics that have been on my site since “Adulthood is a Myth,” as well as some new exclusive comics and three long form comic stories. With the long form additions almost half the book is new material!

2. We read in a previous interview that, for most of your career, having a book was one of your top goals. Between Adulthood is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump, you’re on your way to having TWO! How does it feel?

It feels surreal! There’s still a disconnect for me because I feel like a niche internet cartoonist. Sometimes I can’t believe the books exist.

3. Was there something that inspired you to start drawing comics in the first place?

I’ve been making comics since I was in high school, and I think back then it was just something that came naturally and was an easy way to make my friends laugh. School can be tough and it was nice for me to be able to make fun of the experience.

4. Were you surprised when your comics started attracting attention? How did you react?

I was surprised, but I think if I hadn’t seen that initial positive reaction I wouldn’t have become a cartoonist. Seeing people enjoy the first couple of comics made something click and made me realize I could be a career cartoonist if I pushed hard enough.

5. One of the reasons your comics are so popular is that they cover material that is so, so relatable! How do you come up with fresh ideas?

Thank you! Well, there’s a lot of caffeine involved. But I ask myself questions like, “what are you feeling? What’s going on right now?” and when I have a thought that I want to share, I process it into joke form. A lot of times it’ll be something simple like, “I am really overthinking a lot lately. How do I talk about that in a way people connect to?”

6. Fans love your brand of relatable humor, but is there one topic in particular that you’ve noticed resonates best with your audience?

Affection seems to resonate deeply. The relationship comics and ones about friendship have been standouts for me.

7. How have you evolved since your first comic?

Though my drawing style is intentionally simple, I have definitely sharpened and improved since the first comics. There’s some nuance in cartooning where stuff like line weight, what brush you use, facial expressions, etc still matter a lot even when the characters only consist of a few lines.

8. Career-wise, what are some challenges you face? Is there anything our readers might not expect?

Part of having the internet be a huge part of my career means I see a lot of numbers. I try not to get too hung up on how many people saw, clicked, or liked, but it’s almost impossible not to feel like that’s a way of quantifying success. It’s an active effort for me to separate myself from that.

9. You’ve seen so much success already – what do you hope the future has in store?

I will definitely be doing Sarah’s Scribbles for the next few years, but I do eventually want to go back to illustration and be a freelancer. I do a lot of illustrative work behind the scenes at the moment as well.

10. Do you have any advice for our students and readers?

I think part of what I want to say with Sarah’s Scribbles in general is that it’s possible to be imperfect, awkward and lost in life and still be okay with yourself. The act of laughing at yourself is an important one.

Make sure to check out Sarah Andersen’s brand new book, Big Mushy Happy Lumpwhich just debuted yesterday!

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