Published: 15th November 2019
Scribble me this: Why Instagram artist Afshan Waheed's work is 'Chumma' awesome
Afshan Waheed, a doodler and illustrator, is an expert at depicting everyday life through her ‘relatable’ art that fetches her many orders on Instagram. We trace her creative journey to find out more
Right after waking up in the morning, some of us go right for the newspaper to get the latest updates on everything while others, like this reporter, scroll through their Instagram or Facebook feed, looking at interesting posts for that spark of positivity to cut through the mundane drill of daily life. Chennai-based Afshan Waheed’s Instagram handle, @a.little.brown.scribbler, is filled with interesting, colourful and off-beat illustrations and comics that is bound to make anyone say, ‘Oh I get it’ or ‘That totally happens to me’.
“The illustrations are mostly based on what happens to me in life. For example, one comic strip depicts how clumsy I am and how I trip over stuff and hurt myself all the time. Another one talks about constant hair struggles that I go through and yet another one talks about the things people say when you visit your hometown after a long time,” says the Abu Dhabi-bred 26-year-old who is a full-time Instagram artist who takes customised orders on her page.
Afshan chose to pursue art despite graduating with a fancy B Arch Tech degree in Architectural Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, simply because her heart always belonged to art.“Being of a restless nature, I would always doodle and scribble on books, even during class hours (giggles). My mother is an artist too and a fashion designer, so I guess art was always in my genes,” she explains, adding that while she always wanted to do something creative, it was on her parents’ insistence that she took up Architectural Engineering but was disappointed because the course was more structurally-oriented than design-based.
Hair struggles explained in a 'relatable' and cute comic strip
She left Abu Dhabi to come to Chennai after her wedding in 2016 and since then she has been completely focusing on bettering her sketching skills. “I did not want to have anything to do with architecture at all. I was looking for opportunities in social media marketing and the like that would warrant the use of creativity, but never really found anything that I liked. That’s when I created my Instagram handle started doing illustrations on paper using nothing but a black pen,” Afshan reminisces, telling us that she got a sizeable fan-following soon and that’s how she turned to digital art a few months ago.
It has been three years since she’s been on her artistic journey, and according to her, it’s been an experience filled with valuable lessons. Most importantly, she understood what it means to produce one-of-a-kind pieces of art while also keeping in mind the preferences of her followers. “I prefer doing abstract and line art, but my audience likes colourful doodles or comics that imbibe that ‘relatability factor’. So I do more of the latter. It is all about playing to expectations,” Afshan smiles.
A lot of her work also revolves around the importance of self-love
Last year, she upped the ante and started The Chumma Store, an online store that sells stationery items like books and badges adorned with cool and quirky designs with her friend, Zoha Sanofer, who is also an RJ with a well-known FM station in Chennai. “We became friends on Instagram after she (Zoha) found my artwork appealing. So later when she came up with a business idea, I could not refuse; however, I made sure to tell her that I can only manage the creative part and the management and finance sections are her responsibility. Today, we are doing well and plan on expanding soon to feature more products,” she points out.