18-year-old draws ‘insecurities’ on TikTok: ‘I wanted to show life’

A teen artist and student in England has been winning over millions of TikTok users with her series, “Drawing insecurities that shouldn’t be insecurities.”

Jess Sherburn had already been sharing her artwork on the app for a while. She was inspired to start the new series after receiving some art requests.

“I started off making digital drawings of people who I found really beautiful, usually wearing interesting arrays of makeup or earthly additions like vines or leaves,” Sherburn told BuzzFeed. “As I posted more often, and my videos grew more popular, I found a lot of comments asking why I only draw ‘perfect’ people.”

Those comments struck a chord with Sherburn and she decided to challenge the ideas of beauty and perfection in her drawings.

“I wanted to show life,” she said. “Not only the airbrushed makeup looks or the carefully arranged flowered portraits.”

Sherburn started in January — with a portrait of model Winnie Harlow, who has vitiligo. Next, she drew someone with acne. That video gained almost 1 million views.

“I had so many requests asking for representation of ‘acne‘ and ‘nose shapes’ and a thousand other things which are ‘perfectly’ normal, and yet there seemed to be a real want for people to feel like they were being seen and to have other people seeing that they were being seen,” Sherburn told BuzzFeed.

Soon commenters started pitching ideas to Sherburn, based on their own insecurities. One user asked for a portrait of someone with a soft jawline because their “biggest insecurity” was not having a “defined jaw.”

“Even a simple ‘I have this too!’ has such power behind it because I think it’s made people realize how similar we all are, even though many of us are from completely different sides of the world,” Sherburn said.

“This literally made me cry,” one user commented. “This made me feel better about acne.”

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