Enjoy the latest in our series Youngerworld: Born Digi, profiling rising artists who were born as digital natives – and who are yet to don a graduate cap.
Today we feature Tooty McNooty, the musical, animated student superstar who last featured in our guide on TikTok and how to use it for illustration success.
With over three million followers on the app, Tooty (not her real name) has a shining future - but how does she juggle social fame with studies and craft?
Hi Tooty! What's your course and why did you decide to take it?
I study Illustration in an arts university in the South of England. I was very interested in making things like comics and cool imaginative drawings so Illustration seemed to be my pathway.
I’ve always wanted to go to university so I could learn something new that I couldn’t achieve whilst at school, which in my case was quite restrictive with what I REALLY wanted to do.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I normally get up quite late (as a typical student) and I like to skip breakfast. I then travel to uni to do a bit of work before lunch. I’d then stay at uni doing my work until 4/5pm, then I go home to work on personal animations and TikTok videos, my favourite part of the day!
Do you post course work on social?
Sometimes but I prefer to keep it separate for now. In the future, however, I want to try and share more of my personal work online.
Do your peers 'hustle' a lot on social too?
Our university encourages students to show off their work on social media. I personally think TikTok is a great platform for aspiring illustrators like me. You get a lot of feedback, which is always very useful, and you have the chance to promote your talent to a global audience.
All of you panic buying toilet paper and sanitiser during the ##covid19 outbreak.♬ original sound - misocolorful
My teachers understand that nowadays artists get recognised online too so they advise us to enter competitions and attempt working with publishers.
Is it hard to balance studies with social media? Any pressures?
I manage to make things work by creating a schedule that allows me to spend time on both things, and of course spend some time with my friends.
Have other famous artists followed you online?
I’ve had several artists and big online personalities follow me or even react to my work, particularly on TikTok. It feels amazing when they react to my work and it inspires me to keep on creating.
What do you think your future will hold, and will your following have an impact on it?
I honestly don’t know what the future has in store for me. One thing I do want in the future is to improve as a whole. For now, I’m enjoying being a student and making the most of the opportunities I get as an aspiring illustrator.
How has your style changed since starting your studies?
My art style is always shifting and changing, there are elements of my style which stay the same but I’m constantly trying new styles and shifting mediums.
What about your art appeals online, do you think?
I feel like my art and online content is like Marmite, you either like it or dislike it. However, considering the amount of positive feedback I receive on TikTok, I think my style resonates with my peers and that does make me happy.
Does your course ever put an emphasis on self-promotion online?
My tutors have been so supportive of my online presence, even if some don’t understand they still know it’s some sort of breakthrough for me! They’ve even helped me with leading some tough negotiations and overcoming challenges I’ve run into along the way, so I’m incredibly thankful that they’ve been supporting me on this journey.
They all know of my huge following and have even seen my content pop up randomly in YouTube compilations. There are even some who follow me secretly on TikTok!
Check out more in our Youngerworld: Born Digi series. We'll be casting our net far and wide for these features, so those studying in and out of the UK can drop us an email if interested.