Who said Snapchat was only for sexting?
The ephemeral messaging app best known for its disappearing videos and photos is being taken to an entirely new level by 24-year-old Dasha Battelle. A self-proclaimed "Snapchat Enthusiast," Battelle wowed the Internet recently when she shared her portfolio of Snapchat images complete with gotta-believe-it-to-see-it doodles.
Normally, Snapchat users sending friends a photo will quickly draw something silly on the "snap" before shooting it off. Battelle, though, is just getting started in the creative process after the photo is taken.
Picture of a doughnut and coffee cup? Battelle perfectly draws Cookie Monster atop it. Nearly empty honey bottle? She adds Winnie the Pooh with a tummy ache. On Halloween, Battelle dresses herself as Snapchat's official ghost logo in a drawing. The list goes on.
As brands continue to experiment with the app, and as the app reportedly continues to turn down offers to be acquired, it's users like Battelle who are revealing the possibilities that lay inside Snapchat.
CNBC.com reached out to Battelle to learn who exactly she is, how she creates such fascinating snaps, what she loves and hates most about Snapchat, and whether her fleeing masterpieces are bringing in cash.
Who is Dasha Battelle?
I'm 24, from Boston and currently live in Manhattan. I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2011 and moved here to pursue a legal career. I realized quickly, however, that law was not the route I wanted to take. I've always been interested in art, but it was hard for me to imagine a career path that would be practical and sustainable, given that I support myself financially and live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
How did you discover Snapchat?
Frustrated at work, I started to use Snapchat as a creative outlet—after fussing around with the app, I realized I could create pretty detailed work. As a kid I was fascinated by comics; I used to copy them out of the newspaper and The New Yorker. I guess some of those techniques stuck with me and I started using cartoons as inspiration for a lot of my snapchats. There's also something inherently funny about spending 45 minutes on a drawing that disappears in 10 seconds. Talk about being a "struggling artist."
How did you get so good at it?
My brother sends out pretty witty snaps, so in an effort to foil his early Snapchat career, I decided to dig in and one-up his efforts. My snaps started to get more and more detailed as I came to understand the app, and responses from friends and family were really encouraging. People began to bring it up at social events, which made me realize that I could maybe do a little more with this unexpected talent. So long story short, I made a portfolio, showed it to a friend or two and then watched it get passed around via social media.
Did you quit your day gig?
I'm hoping to transition into something new in the near future—a field that involves more art and original thinking. Graphic design has always appealed to me, along with creative advertising and marketing.
Can you name a couple of brands you would love to work with?
Redbull has gotten really creative with their marketing schemes. The company is embracing new ideas and challenging advertising norms. I also have a soft spot for them because their early ads were cartoons. Apple has also always done a good job—lots of clean, colorful visual designs with simple, progressive messages.
Which brand on Snapchat are you most impressed with?
GrubHub and 16 Handles have embraced Snapchat as a way to engage their fans and promote their brands. People are really into instagramming their meals, so why not snapchat your fro-yo and get coupons while you're at it?
Are random Snapchat users friending you now?
So many new Snapchat friends! I never really made an effort to promote these snaps outside of my friend circles, but I think I just graduated to a whole new level of snapchatting (mass-chatting?). I am definitely up to share my username (dabttll) with other snapchatters, as it seems like people are pretty excited about this.
If you could change one thing about the app, what would it be?
My one tweak for the app is the color spectrum—green needs more range! Not everything can be done in lime green. Also, maybe a "send to all" button!?
Any parting words?
The fact that people enjoy these is a plus, because at the end of the day, it feels good to make people laugh or smile. I haven't been contacted by Snapchat, but it would be very exciting if Snapchat was interested in my work—I really believe in the app.
—By CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger.