“I had this little watercolour set and thought, ‘I should just do this’,” Andrew said. “I love the physical action of using watercolours. It’s a really meditative thing. Because I was dealing with situational depression, I wanted to do something joyful by myself. Not watch sad movies.”
Andrew, 31, began posting daily drawings on Instagram; as they grew from musings about scented candles to more personal observations, so did her following, now 900000.
In her graphic memoir Am I There Yet? published in March,she talks about the experiences that shaped her life - the death of her father, being briefly paralyzed by Guillain-Barre syndrome - and thoughts on dating, creativity and travel.
Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Andrew.
You talk about the journey to adulthood like a travel adventure - there’s a map, designated stops, the route. How does travel affect you?
I think travel is a good opportunity to reflect on where you are in life. When you travel, especially by yourself, you’re a forced observer. You’re seeing other people, but you’re also seeing yourself through another culture and other people’s eyes. What do I really want? How am I going to make my life better? You’re aware of yourself and what you’re drawn to.
It’s a beautiful way to push yourself into growth, to look at your life and how you want to shape it.
Why solo travel?
When you travel by yourself, you have to come up with ways out of or into situations. How am I going to approach these people? How am I going to get out of this place? It’s a bit of a microcosm of your life.
What are your favourite art cities?
I was enchanted with Berlin. It’s such a hospitable city for creative people and the energy is so joyful. My favourite city in the world is Rio. It’s so colourful. Everyone is outside having a dance party or playing guitar. The spirit is contagious.
What kind of art do you seek out when you travel?
I think it’s important for any creative person to have other ways of being creative. For me, that’s dance. That’s how I choose to travel these days: What kind of dance do I want to do? I went to Brazil and learned the samba. I went to Grenada and learned the flamenco.
How do you capture memories from your travels?
I am a champion journaller. It’s such a great way to get to know yourself. You’re talking about what’s happening right then.
How do you decide what you want to see or do?
I love an old-school guidebook. I love circling places I want to go to. Right away I find my coffee shop. I might do a little research and find the cool ones, but I go there every day. I want to make the city my own. When I was in Rio for two weeks, I went to the same little bar every night. It felt like I’d been there for five years. New York Times