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Sarah’s Scribbles Creator Talks with rtor.org: A Candid Interview with Comic Artist Sarah Andersen


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet and interview the lovely and hilarious Sarah Andersen, the creator of the widely popular Internet comic strip, “Sarah’s Scribbles.” The strip follows the main character, Sarah, as she finds herself in funny and all-too-real situations. Recently, Sarah has released a “Sarah’s Scribbles” book, Adulthood is a Myth. While the themes of the comics focus on the ridiculous and even frustrating situations of adulthood, Sarah provided me with some excellent insights on a variety of wellness topics from taking care of yourself to navigating difficult social situations. A big thanks to Sarah for taking the time to be interviewed for rtor.org

Sarah: Yes, absolutely. I just did a book tour and for the first time I got to meet my readers in person and it was overwhelmingly people would come up to me and say things like “I’m glad you talk about being introverted.” I think online comics, in general, attract an introverted crowd in the first place. I would say that introverts are a large part of my readership.

Sarah: That’s something that has always been interesting to me and I’ve always thought really hard about it because I started taking comics seriously when I was a sophomore in college and I was really struck by how people worked hard to present themselves in a certain way. I didn’t really fit in because I didn’t understand how to do it. I was so convinced that there are larger problems like social awkwardness or anxiety that people were not admitting to. I felt like this is a big secret but it’s definitely there. I was like “I can’t be the only one, this has to be a universal experience.” It’s interesting that social media lets us simultaneously create a facade but it also let’s us talk about the real stuff. It’s a weird dichotomy and it’s hard to know which one you are supposed to look at.

Sarah: I started what is now called “Sarah’s Scribbles” sophomore year but I was making comics throughout high school. I always had little comics in my sketchbook about teachers or about little things that happened in class.

Sarah: I think I still struggle with taking care of myself. I wish I could say that I wake up at 7 am, drink a kale smoothie, and go for a run. The truth is I’m still taking baby steps. Waking up on time is a baby step for me. Just trying to do something that keeps you healthy is enough. I tried to quit coffee, I was good for about a year then deadlines happen and I find myself drinking three cups of coffee. It’s definitely a process.

do you like me- Sarah

Sarah: Yes, for sure. It’s the one where she is talking to her guy and they go through time and she keeps him if he likes her. That has been to date the most viral of any of the comics. At first, I was not sure if I wanted to do that one because it was so sweet and genuine. That one is my magnum opus.

Sarah: You know this comes at a really interesting time because yesterday there was this post on the front page of 9GAG that said “This is what Sarah Andersen looks like.” 9GAG is known for vicious comments and it was difficult for me to reconcile. I have to figure out what actually bothers me. If someone says something like “I hate these comics” or “I hate Sarah Andersen” that doesn’t truly affect me and I have to remind myself not to take it into consideration. What truly bothers me is criticism that I think is valid such as “I think Sarah Andersen is doing too much of that or needs to change this.” So I have to differentiate, when people talk about me, when do I care. Most people don’t know what I look like and I feel very comfortable putting my work out there but I don’t want my personal life out there. I’m trying to learn how to set boundaries for my own reaction when these types of things happen.

making friends comic

Sarah: I would say to other artists that you have to choose what criticism you are going to take seriously and what you should ignore. If someone says they hate your work then there is nothing you can do about it. Decide what’s worth your time.

Sarah: That’s a good question. It’s really important not to get caught up in appearances and pretense. It’s really hard not to do that when you have all these social media platforms that make it so easy. I think if you are honest, people are going to relate to you even if you are honest about not being the best person. I’m drawn to people who will admit those types of things. You can have it together but it’s so much easier if you are not afraid to just be yourself. I know that sounds like generic advice but it really is one of the hardest things to do.

don't talk to me comic

Sarah: She is based off of a group of real people. It’s a little bit mean spirited. She’s based on this clique of girls from high school who, at the time, were into the trend of wearing your hair up in a sloppy bun, Uggs, and a school sweatshirt. I was out of touch as a high-schooler, but I think they were particularly out of touch. I don’t want to put all girls in a box or anything, but it was little moments like the ones in the book that came from this group of girls.

Sarah: I think that the big issue in that situation is that someone is not listening. It can be the other person who is not listening to you or it could be that you are not listening to yourself. Sometimes, I’ll intuitively know there is an answer to my problem and I’ll turn outward to other people for advice and they aren’t really listening to me so they don’t give me the best advice. When that happens, I think it’s best to listen to your own intuition. It’s really hard for people to give other people the advice they need because sometimes it’s hard to empathize with specific problems.

Sarah: It’s an interesting question. It makes me so mad when people do that. I think when they complain like that they aren’t look for an answer even if the right answer is in front of them. They just aren’t ready to accept it yet. If they aren’t ready to hear the advice, they won’t take it.

Sarah: I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. Sometimes people criticize the strip and say it’s too negative and has a negative message. If I figure everything out from anxiety, stress to being healthy, then I guess she will grow up but then there is nothing to write about. I don’t want my strip to be about how amazing and perfect my life is. I want to live a good life and I’m working on everything and I think the process of going through that is what makes the comics funny.

Sarah: I think it’s a known secret that no one has it figured out. Some people might be doing better than others but it’s alright not to have everything together. You’re still young and you have options and that age is difficult. Enjoy the process of figuring it out instead of being nervous about it.

I’m finishing my second book and it should be out sometime next March. I’ll be continuing the strip for at least two more years but I have been starting to freelance a lot more. I’ve been doing more illustration work for other comics including an issue of the Invader Zim comic books.

Update: Sarah Andersen’s latest Sarah’s Scribbles book, Big Mushy Happy Lump, is available for pre-order and will be released on March 7, 2017.

Want Sarah Andersen’s books? Check out the link below! Your purchases will help support the costs of running rtor.org, a free service of Laurel House, Inc., 501 (C)(3), non-profit organization.

Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

Coping With Mental Illness

Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

Mental Illness Resources Online

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The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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5 thoughts on “Sarah’s Scribbles Creator Talks with rtor.org: A Candid Interview with Comic Artist Sarah Andersen

  1. mary kate says:

    Veronique, I loved your interview! It made me want to learn more about Sarah Andersen and her work. Thank you.

  2. Veronique Hoebeke, Associate Editor says:

    Thanks Mary Kate, I’m glad you liked it. She is so talented!

  3. Denise Vestuti, Resource Specialist says:

    Veronique this is a fantastic interview! I am super impressed with Sarah Andersen.

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