For most people, adding a caption or a few emoji is about as fancy as Snapchat gets.
But for Cyrene Quiamco, Snapchat is a digital canvas where she draws incredible artwork. It’s also a job: sometimes, brands pay her thousands of dollars to create sponsored Snaps.
Even though the 26-year-old has only been using the app since January 2014, Quiamco, a web designer by trade, says her Snapchat Stories regularly get over 10,000 views.
Brands have taken note. Quiamco has worked with companies like Disney, Samsung, Burger King, 20th Century Fox, and Lionsgate. And creating these branded stories, which consist multiple photos and sometimes video, is not as easy as it might look.
“It starts with a rough storyboard, drawn, written or both, and then it goes back and forth with the client until we agree on a storyline,” Quiamco told TI. “The drawings take one to two hours to draw depending on the details. Taking the video, even though it looks casual and spontaneous, takes anywhere from three to ten retakes.”
For her earliest Snaps, Quiamco says she was making about $US500 per Snap. Over her first year on Snapchat, that number started to grow as brands began to take notice of her work.
“When I first started about a year ago, my average was $US1,000 to $US10,000 per Snapchat Story,” Quiamco told Tech Insider. “Each story would contain around 100 seconds of videos, drawings, and interaction with the audience.”
“My very first paid Snapchat gig was drawing two Snaps for NBC’s ‘The Voice,'” Quiamco told Tech Insider. “It was super exciting seeing the screenshots of my snaps posted on social media by thousands of people.”
Here’s a look at one of those Snaps.
Though she can’t disclose exactly what each company she works with pays her, Quiamco gave us a rough idea of what her paychecks look like these days.
“For one of my latest projects, I actually made $US25,000,” she told TI.
Quiamco’s thinks her interactive Snaps are the key to her popularity on the digital platform. Fans love her games and detailed artwork featuring popular characters from movies like “Frozen” and “Ice Age.” She also has a popular “Celebrity Selfies” series, where she draws herself alongside her favourite celebs, like Bruno Mars and Ellen DeGeneres.
“Most of my Snapchat stories involve audience participation,” Quiamco explained to TI. “The audience is an active part of your your story while you are creating it live, and not just passively watching it.”
Her knack for Snap is undeniable. When Tech Insider voted on who to include on our Social 50 list this year, Quiamco’s Snapsterpieces earned her a spot on the list.
You can check out Quiamco’s thousand dollar Snaps by adding her username, CyreneQ, on Snapchat.