Art in the Time of Covid

Creating art during the pandemic has proven challenging for many. While some visual artists are burning out on screens, others, as a recent Wired article noted, have found that digital projects pose some unique advantages. Among them is Elyse Andrews ’20, who has found ways to express her art and explore themes more deeply since her graduation in May.

Andrews has had an affinity for art since childhood. “When I was in second grade,” she says, “my friend Alex got a bunch of us into art. A few of us, including me, kept doing it into third grade and beyond. In high school I branched out and started learning how to draw and paint, getting away from doodles and cartoons.” 

In college, however, she found that doodling helped her focus in class. “Listening and drawing worked well for me,” she says, “and eventually I found ways to monetize my hobby.” She turned to Redbubble, a popular site that brands T-shirts, stickers, and other merchandise with images from the public. She has uploaded doodles of armadillos, dinosaurs, birds, flowers, and more. (I personally have had her “beep bird” sticker on my water bottle for a little over a year.) 

Like others who graduated a few months into the pandemic, Andrews has struggled to find a place in the workforce. As she searched for graphic design jobs, she began a weekly visual podcast, the Draw Pod, as a way to drive traffic to her YouTube channel. The channel in turn gave her a reason to create art and also provided a structure similar to that of school.  

Lately she has found success discussing her struggles with painting and color on the podcast. “I talk about my frustrations with that,” she explains. “I document what I’m doing as an artist.” 

Andrews has spent the past year narrowing her artistic style, particularly what works for her and which skills she’d like to develop. “I have always creatively been a bit of a late bloomer,” she says, “but I like to draw plants and interior scenes and architecture. I like looking at the combination of architecture and plants, the natural versus the unnatural. I mostly use watercolor and ink pens. I can see the beginnings of a unique style.” 

Andrews’s dedication to creating her art and displaying it on social media is a testament to one positive way the pandemic has affected the lives of some artists, giving her more time to be creative and build a name for herself online—all in a way that works for her. See her YouTube channel and the Draw Pod here, and her art on Instagram and elysedraws.com.

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