Tauranga teen draws 400,000 internet fans

By Kiri Gillespie

Tauranga teen Kristina Webb knew her artwork was getting popular, but she had no idea of the extent of that popularity until she saw a copy of her favourite drawing hung up inside an American hair salon.

Kristina, 17, has acquired nearly 400,000 followers on internet photo app Instagram, where she posts drawings daily.

Each drawing gets an average of 30,000 "likes" which has lead to about 5,600,000 "likes" in less than a year, she said.

"It's crazy, it really is. I constantly see my drawings on hundreds of random Facebook pages and various websites, which is very strange."

Last year, the former Bethlehem College student spent six months in America on an exchange programme. While there she found one of her earliest and favourite pieces copied onto a large poster inside a hair salon. She told salon staff but they did not believe her because she had not signed it.

"It didn't really worry me too much at the time, but it was weird."

Kristina has since signed nearly all of her artwork.

She has no idea how she managed to amass such a following.

"From the 10,000 in one day - I was shocked. Then I think a lot more followers are my age and and I think they like the fact I draw one of them once a week."

Through an app called Drawmekristina, fans submit photos of themselves they would like her to draw, and once a week she will surprise fans with the picture she has drawn.

"I kind of see it as a way of giving back for being supportive. It's always a surprise."

Kristina plans to focus on her artwork for the first half of this year before beginning studies at Waikato Institute of Technology later this year.

Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay 16-year-old Jamie Curry has become one of the most famous teenagers in New Zealand with a global following of more than 7 million people.

Jamie began a Facebook page titled Jamie's World last year and received more than 500,000 "likes" and 60,000 subscribers to her YouTube account where she posts funny and awkward videos about her life.

More of Kristina and her drawings can be seen here.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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