Little gestures and growing up: Q&A with Mari Andrew

For every thought or feeling you've ever had, Mari Andrew has probably drawn a picture of it. She takes the small moments in life - the little pockets of joy or universally known feelings of despair – and creates simple, yet impactful illustrations, posting them onto her Instagram account @bymariandrew which has amassed one million followers. That's pretty darn impressive, right?

Mari speaks with Twenty Something Humans about some of her favourite things and shares the best piece of advice that she's received (it's a good one). She also tells us that she's got a crush on her dentist, no wonder her teeth are so clean!

Image: @jeff_the_peff via @bymariandrews.

Describe your vibe in three words.

Dancey, laughy and friendly.

Where/when do you feel your most creative self?

I always feel most creative while exploring somewhere new. New scenery, new people, new walks, new breakfast pastries...they all fuel my mind and heart. I think my most ideal natural state is sitting next to some body of water under the sun with a plate of fish, a bottle of sparkling water with lemon and a glass of wine or cup of coffee with absolutely nowhere else to be. Give me a journal, and I'll be there writing all day.

What's the most impactful piece of advice you've received?

If you want to get competitive, try to be the kindest person in your industry.

...and what advice would you pass onto people in their 20s?

Don't date anyone you wouldn't want to be.

Tell us about how you got into the illustrating game.

I thought painting with water colours would be a really soothing hobby to pick up, and I was right! Three years later, it's a big part of my job now, and still very soothing.

What makes up your ideal weekend?

A rainy weekend inside sounds pretty good.

What's the best thing about your hometown?

The smell – woodsmoke and evergreen trees.

Who/what inspires you?

Hydrangeas, Rilke, books about travel, flamenco dancers, sunny mornings, rainy nights, falling in love, heartbreak, talking to people who are really in touch with their emotions, first dates, long walks alone, autumn, soulful music, Greek mythology, big cities, South America, painted ceramics, my friends, Agnes Varda, Bossa Nova, red wine, long dinners, strangers with good energy.

In your opinion, what's the best way to practice self care?

Floss, wake up at the same time every day, and take yourself on dates.

What do you love most at the moment?

Springtime in New York. It's a completely different weather every day, full of sunny hope but at the same time keeping us grounded in the reality and memory of winter.

What makes you feel..

Loved: gifts

Angry: rudeness

Cosy: big sweaters

Calm: journaling

What was the last funny thing to happen to you?

My new dentist is so attractive that I forgot all the questions I was meant to ask him and had to call his assistant later.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully a lot better at Portuguese than I am now, with five lessons under my belt.

What's your favourite:

Illustration you've created: I prefer ones that other people have created. All of Maira Kalman's, for example!

Comfort food: Pad Thai.

Song to listen to when you're feeling sad: Lark by Josh Ritter.

TV show to watch when you need to switch off: Golden Girls.

Mari has just released a new workbook (to accompany her New York Times best seller Am I there yet?) called 'Getting There: a workbook for growing up' ($24.99) and post card book called, 'Little Gestures: Cards for any occasion' ($24.99). More details at the Allen & Unwin website.

Follow her on Instagram @bymariandrew.

Mari Andrew is a New York Times bestselling author, artist, and speaker who shares stories about the powers of uncertainty, loss, sensitivity, and exploration.

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