Mary Doodles: Blending Life and Art on Social Media
Who is Mary Doodles?
With an impressive 398,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 50,000 followers on Instagram, Mary Doodles is an encapsulating artist who expresses her craft across social media. This content creator has always been a lover of art, utilizing her skills in a variety of different ways. She explains that
‘I guess like before I started my business and career on YouTube, I was just a Jack of all trades. I got very interested in filmmaking and ended up going to film school for college. That just kind of led to working in costumes on set design, doing a little directing, doing graphic design and illustration storyboards, all sorts of stuff. I kind of feel like before business and work, it was all just prep for what I’m doing now.’
Mary Doodles’ content blends quirky animation styles with immersive design skills, creating an abundance of off-beat and loveable characters. Her online store releases prints on a regular basis, allowing her fans to bring home a piece of her work.
The creative transition to YouTube
Although this artist has been drawing her whole life, she only started making YouTube videos in 2011. Mary Doodles’ first video was a timelapse painting of her original character Fuglycorn, an attractive unicorn. Mary goes on to discuss her first steps onto the platform.
‘It was in 2011 that I began my YouTube channel and it just caught wind really early on. It looked like there was an audience for art videos and people liked enjoying watching that process happen. So, it was kind of like a discovery and then an opportunity then suddenly I realized, oh, this could be a long-term thing.’
Whilst Mary Doodles’ art translates well onto social media and the internet in general, she still enjoys using conventional materials and equipment to bring her ideas to life for her audience to enjoy.
‘Technically, I use a lot of traditional art media. I’ve been recently dabbling in digital and exploring animation but historically I do a lot of watercolor, liquid, ink, materials that react to water. So, you can see this explosion of color and ink lines that can magically appear when you time-lapse it.’
Due to her incredible art style, this artist has also managed to build a cultivating online community, bringing her followers together to appreciate and further create more art. Mary Doodles goes on to describe what types of videos do best on her channel.
‘I guess this isn’t a surprise but tutorials always do well on YouTube. There’s something you can go back to and reference so people can find them later on.’
Adapting to an ever-changing platform
With over a decade’s worth of experience on YouTube, it is evident that Mary Doodles has found her niche and continues to build a devoted community. However, she also understands that as a creative force on social media, she must remain flexible in her work. She highlights that
‘Well, when it comes to strategy, I think the ultimate umbrella strategy is to remain adaptable and adjust that strategy when needed.’
Mary Doodles continues to explain the challenges of remaining consistent across many platforms.
‘I’ve been doing this since 2011 and the game changes on you at any moment, especially when you’re relying on someone else’s platform like YouTube or Instagram or TikTok. There are changes happening right now that will cause people to reconsider their strategies.’
Like many influencers on social media, Mary Doodles also notes the struggle of balancing constant engagement with creative burnout.
‘I’m trying to rework my expectations and the strategy that’s been reprogrammed into me after all these years of constant content and shift that into more thoughtful pieces. Focus on the pieces that are quality and then allow there to be gaps in between the content and see how that goes. It’s just such a saturated world and it’s exhausting to keep up with all of these platforms.’
Finding new ways to connect with an online community
Mary Doodles is most known for her engaging tutorials and timelapse paintings but as she continues to grow, she is still experimenting with new features on her platforms. As such, Mary Doodles has been able to maintain her strong online community without straying too far from her original content. She further describes that
‘I think livestreams are a great way to reconnect with the community. I do a weekly one on my YouTube and the regulars all show up which is such an honor that people take time out of their day or night, depending on where they’re at. So livestreams have always been, I don’t want to say easy but there’s less work on the backend as far as editing and all that stuff goes.’
Mary Doodles also mentions her positive relationship with short-form content on YouTube.
‘I’ve also really noticed that YouTube Shorts have been reaching my subscribers a lot more than the videos that I post, which is an interesting thing.’
Using art to collaborate with brands on social media
With such prosperous engagement across many platforms, it is no surprise that multiple brands have reached out to Mary Doodles to collaborate on a marketing campaign. Yet, with so many opportunities ahead of her, Mary still values the joy in creating something new.
‘I’ve had brands reach out and I’m always down to sample art supplies. I think that’s kind of the perk of being an artist on the internet. You get to play with toys and there’s nothing that would make an artist happier than art supplies of any sort. Even if it’s stuff that I don’t use or have never used, I may never use it again, just trying it is so delightful.’
Mary Doodles continues to describe her collaboration with Disney Parks back in 2013.
‘We had shot it in Disneyland, in the park, which is super special. I shot three time-lapses for them and there was a behind-the-scenes video for myself. So it was a massive honor to get the greenlight to recreate their characters in my style. I was doing these live drawings in the park and then afterward I got to be in the park.’
Delving into new mediums as an online artist
Despite finding success in a range of traditional art mediums, Mary Doodles is looking towards new mediums, particularly with regard to digital forms.
‘I’ve been learning about new animation software and playing with Blender. I kind of want to collab with some gaming brands, specifically VR. I want to do something with the program Tilt Brush. I’m just fascinated with the idea of the digital space and having this three-dimensional space to play in and create new types of art. It just feels like a brand new frontier and I want to go out and explore it.’
Mary Doodles also goes on to explain more about her new animation project, particularly focusing on using the medium as a storyteller.
‘I’m staying with a friend and we’re collaborating on an animation series. We’re going to be doing a livestream animation on a weekly basis. That’s the goal. We’ve been in development with that, building up the characters, the premise, and learning the technology. So I think that’s going to be for the rest of the year. The bigger goal is to get into developing animation and be a show writer, creator, and director.’
As Mary Doodles continues to expand within new creative elements, she ends by highlighting how influencers are now becoming more independent but are still attractive to leading brands around the world.
‘I feel like I’m seeing more influencers kind of make their own brands and products and take ownership and saying, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t need these brands to come to us, we can create our own brand.’