I Finally Get Snapchat

Artist Sergio Aragonés offers advice for creative platform use

by Cooper McHatton

I’m a teenager in a world of modern technology, and some stuff I totally get: Twitter, Tumblr, Periscope… Then there are some social networks I just haven’t been able to grasp an understanding of, Snapchat being at the top of the list. I’ve had a hard time with understanding the purpose it serves.

Why would I want to create something
only to have it disappear into the void?

And if it’s something truly meaningless enough where I don’t care if it disappears, why am I sharing it with someone in the first place? I’ve had close friends try and explain to me what makes Snapchat viable — much like real conversation in its impermanence — but I’m always able to come up with a counter argument. Any conversation is going to have a more lasting affect than that random selfie, I’m sorry.

Regardless there’s a girl I like who Snapchats me frequently, so I needed to figure out a way to connect back with her through the app, a way that didn’t make me squirm. Though no matter how hard I’ve tried, I feel utterly dorky taking selfies and pictures of random objects. I don’t see how it’s an effective form of communication. I’ve been using it uncomfortably and awkwardly for weeks now.

This year at San Diego Comic-Con I was in the audience for the Quick Draw panel in which a small group of artists and animators worked to quickly capture words and scenes humorously while their pen and paper were projected onto giant screens. It’s a hilarious event in which every year, Sergio Aragonés — the reigning champion — slays the competition with his quick wit and biting humor, punctuated by his thick accent and overly sweet personality. He’s a world renowned artist known for his work in MAD Magazine and the Groo the Wanderer comic series and his lightening fast sketches are clearly the favorite of the event.

The next day at Comic-Con when walking the show floor I checked out his booth where he was doing sketches and signing comics for fans. We talked a while…I pitched a dream carpool next year — we live in the same small town north of LA — and I complimented his skill at quick draw, to which he responded:

“The drawings themselves are terrible, but no one is going to see them later. It’s all about being timely in the feeling and humor they impart.”

It didn’t hit me until later that this statement was the key for my understanding of Snapchat. It’s not about the quality of the work, it’s about sharing a sense of caring, thoughtfulness, or humor in a easily digestable way.

It’s not meant to be savored, it’s meant to exist in the moment.
The first doodle by Sergio Aragonés at the Quick Draw San Diego Comic-Con 2015 panel

Perhaps I’ve taken his words too literally when using Snapchat, but lately I’ve been responding to snaps with little doodles. Then again, if there is anyone worth imitating, a comedic and artistic genius isn’t a bad one to copy.

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