CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WFMY) – Every Monday morning, Maggie French, a freelance illustrator, takes ten minutes to practice her drawing.
She had woken up seeing images of the damage from Florence all over social media.
“Where I am in Charlotte, we didn't get hit too bad, but it hurt my heart to see friends of friends having to deal with the damage,” French shared with WFMY News 2.
Putting pen to paper, she realized she had sketched the state of North Carolina, including iconic landmarks from around the state, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlotte’s skyscrapers, UNC’s Old Well, and, of course, scenes from along the coast.
Though it only took her ten minutes to draw, French thought about what she could do with the sketch after a conversation over coffee with a friend.
“I asked her if she'd buy it if I made it into a sticker for relief effort,” French explained. “She said, “Sure,” so I made a poll on the [Instagram] story asking if people would do the same.”
The initial response was overwhelming: Over 50 people responded ‘Yes’ within an hour of posting.
She added some little details here and there and vectorized the drawing on her computer.
PHOTOS: NC Artist's 10-Minute Sketch Turned Hurricane Florence Relief Effort
“[I] found an online sticker company and ordered 100, then after a few hours at work decided to unleash it on the worldwide web,” French added.
The first order went fast. And so did the second.
French is currently on her third order of stickers, and it seems like it’ll only keep going.
“Complete strangers have been ordering the stickers in bulk and talking it up, which is cool,” French said.
The Charlotte-based artist says the project is important to her because, “it's our home.”
“If you live in North Carolina, you've probably been to most other areas in the state too,” she added. “It felt personal.”
French believes her 10-minute-sketch had a greater purpose that Monday morning when she sat down to draw it after seeing what Florence had done across the state.
“In the grand scheme, it doesn't really matter that I'm the one that made the sticker, I'm just glad that it can bring relief where it's needed,” she said.
French will be donating all of the profits to Samaritan's Purse immediate relief fund.
You can purchase Maggie French’s “Carolina Can” sticker for Florence relief on her Etsy page.
French lives in Charlotte and says she’s considered North Carolina home for most of her life. She earned a BFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is married to her husband, Hansen.