With over 144k followers on Instagram, Langley’s famous teen artist Isabella Obradovich can draw it all. Obradovich is only a sophomore, but she has been drawing since she was eleven years old. Obradovich spends most of her days in her art studio solely perfecting the practice of her beloved hobby.
Obradovich’s art collection features a variety of different types of pieces, ranging from portraits of famous singer Billie Eillish to close up colored pencil/marker drawings of eyes and lips. Obradovich also illustrates a number of self portraits because she believes it helps people learn to love their features.
“I pretty much draw anything that I’m proud enough of to post,” Obradovich said. She often finds inspiration from people who she looks up to like famous singers and other celebrities.
“At first I just wanted to share my art, but now it’s kind of become a job for me because I can earn money to support my future,” Obradovich said. Even though this type of work brings inconsistent paychecks, Obradovich finds it more important to continue doing what she loves rather than getting an “ordinary” part-time job.
“I don’t feel like I deserve it because it’s easier than working a part-time job,” Obradovich said. Although Obradovich feels that the advanced type of artwork she produces is personally “easy” for her, many people would rather obtain a part-time job that requires lower skill-sets.
If she is willing to sell one of her works of art, Obradovich will typically price it around $100 (depending on the size/intricacy of the piece).
Even though Obradovich began her Instagram account on October 14, 2017, she wanted to start it when she first started drawing. Looking back on things, Obradovich’s account has become a digital scrapbook of her journey to artistic recognition, in which she is able to scroll down and see how much her skills have progressed since she started drawing.
“My favorite part is seeing how much I’ve improved throughout the years,” Obradovich said. “I do improvement TikToks to show how much I’ve improved.” In addition to her Instagram account, Obradovich is also famous on the video-sharing app TikTok with over 328K followers and 13.6 million likes.
On top of receiving recognition for her artwork through the number of likes, Obradovich also manages marketing aspects of her accounts like working with sponsorships. Obradovich has already done collaborations with Arteza and Art n’ Fly, both of which send her materials to help her continue drawing and painting.
Fairfax High School marketing teacher Gordon Ruohonliemi has seen many teenagers like Obradovich experience rapid growth on social media platforms throughout high school. He understands how this process can be overwhelming for students who are trying to balance a busy course-load and single handedly run a business at their fingertips, just like Obradovich.
“A professional media business alongside with her private social media life is probably one of the biggest things that she’s had to balance or take on with such a large following,” Ruohonliemi said.
“In my personal opinion, if you are a student and you’re enterprising, putting in the work, creating high quality content that attracts people in, and if you’re able to make some money, I don’t see any issue with [students] making money off of social media,” Ruohonliemi said.
However, he doesn’t think that making money should be the primary focus when using social media to drive their businesses.
“[A business] should be something that you’re genuinely passionate about,” Ruohonliemi said. “And clearly Isabella has a passion and that’s really what led to her success–not so much focusing on the monetization aspect of it.”
Obradovich’s passion for her artwork is not something that should be overlooked because a special drive like hers is difficult to find.
“You just have to keep posting and it will happen and also make friends in the community,” Obradovich said. Connections with other artists can be crucial when starting out, and strong, supportive friendships help others to keep going during times when they don’t believe in themselves.
Just like anything else, practice makes perfect, and it is important to strive for perseverance if you have a passion. “Don’t give up; at first it will be really hard to gain traction, but if you keep going it’ll be worth it.”