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How one Charlotte native drew her way to Instagram fame

If you’re a Charlotte native, maybe you know Haley Weaver from her time at Myers Park Traditional Elementary, Carmel Middle, or South Mecklenburg High School.

If you’re anyone else, you’d be more likely to recognize Weaver from her Instagram, @haleydrewthis, where she posts daily illustrations for an audience of more than 50,000 followers — and growing.

Making it up as I go?

A post shared by Haley (@haleydrewthis) on Aug 15, 2017 at 4:27am PDT

Though she didn’t start posting her sketches publicly until the beginning of this year, Weaver, 24, has been drawing since she was a child.

“My mom actually likes to take credit, because when we were little, she would sit my sister, brother, and I at the kitchen table, slap down a bucket of markers and a full ream of computer paper, and leave us to draw for hours,” Weaver said. “My siblings and I invented whole worlds that we’d draw out—we’d draw the same characters for years and flesh out these crazy storylines.”

Bring on the heat!

A post shared by Haley (@haleydrewthis) on Aug 2, 2017 at 4:53am PDT

Weaver went to Gettysburg College, where she majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. When she moved back to Charlotte after graduation, her first job out of school was a freelancing gig for a boutique hotel company. She then moved on to work as a content specialist and project manager at a digital marketing agency in Plaza Midwood.

It was while she was working at this marketing agency that Weaver made a New Year’s resolution to post one drawing a day through the entirety of 2017.

In the nine months since, @haleydrewthis’ following has grown dramatically. With more than 50,000 Instagram followers and thousands of likes per post, what started as Weaver’s New Year’s Resolution and creative challenge has grown into so much more.

She posts drawings ranging in subject matter—some are entertaining, some make your heart ache—but the common thread of Weaver’s whole collection is that the sketches are all honest and genuine. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable and let people see what is going on inside of her head and heart.

I’m a walking natural disaster

A post shared by Haley (@haleydrewthis) on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:38am PDT

“The support has been mind-blowing—particularly the outreach from other people,” Weaver said. “I love seeing people tag their friends in the comments or direct message me to say that my drawing helped them or inspired them or simply made them happy. That’s been the coolest—to feel like I’m making an impact beyond what I ever could’ve before.”

Eventually, Weaver would like to publish a book of illustrations and open a print shop. For now, she’s open for commission work and will continue to post every day on her Instagram.

An autobiography told through my yearbook and ID pictures

A post shared by Haley (@haleydrewthis) on Sep 20, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

What inspires her to continue drawing and posting illustrations three quarters of the way through her resolution?

“It’s a combination of holding true to my promise of posting every day for a year and continuing to exercise my creativity while connecting to people all around the world,” Weaver said. “I think the world is a pretty scary place right now, and I find comfort in creating things that bring people together, remind them of the importance of empathy and respecting each other, and ultimately remembering we’re all pretty similar when it comes down to it.”