Today I told my artist’s story to a fellow artist friend, and as I finished I thought, “I should blog this email.” I thought maybe you, too, would be interested in hearing my wee artist’s journey. Though my story is certainly different than your story, I think that makes it a piece of art unique and special to me, while yours is a piece of art unique and special to you! 🙂
According to my mother, I’ve always loved to draw. She claims that I was better at drawing than her when I was three. Though I am flattered, I’m not so sure about that claim. 😀
I got into trouble a lot for doodling in class, but that didn’t stop me, and I still doodle to this day. However, my drawing prowess got me an “in” with my classmates, who wanted me to draw things for them quite often. I briefly explored the stimulating world of pop-culture art in grade six, drawing cartoons with “Girlz Rool” and “Boys Rock” or “Totally” written on them. Tres fashionable. 😀
When I was in grade 8 I longed for a further evolution of my skill and style. I wanted to “draw realistic.” I especially wanted to be good at drawing the human figure. This was the season where I would draw lots of eyes, lots of faces, lots of bodies, and sometimes nude. I took my sketchbook to school, and a peer demanded to see it. I reluctantly let her, and when she got to the discreetly naked drawing of a man, she was delightedly horrified and showed a bunch of people. I was not pleased. However, I learned a valuable lesson: put underwear on all your nude drawings. haha!
I also had a vivid imagination for story at the time, and made up lots of characters who I would draw out and imagine in various interesting, dramatic story-lines. Also, I made up an imaginary boyfriend for myself. His name was Oliver James Stone. He was taller than me (which was very important to me in grade 8, because of course I had sprouted into this monstrosity of puberty, while all these skinny still-little-boys flocked around. Luckily they started catching up in grade 9, and some got taller than me. Un-luckily, the only ones who got taller were my cousins. lol), had curly brown hair, blue eyes, and played the piano. (Sound familiar? He was basically me but with some slight modifications. I was quite self-centred. This is a malady I continue to struggle against, to this day!)
In my early teens, a benevolent artist from my church took me in and taught me some basics of “realistic drawing”. He was very influential in my artistic career. I sorely needed instruction, and his influence pushed me past what I could do on my own, into a new realm of artistic exploration and ability. I am forever indebted to him. 🙂
The next great event in my artistic journey was a WONDERFUL gift from my dad: a Wacom pad. This fantastic tool allowed me to draw on the computer. He also taught me how to use Photoshop, which I took to like a fish to water. Mostly I used it to make myself skinnier in photos, but eventually “Liquify” gets boring, and I moved on to digital art. My mom, seeing how much I enjoyed it, gave me an opportunity to illustrate a book she wrote called, “Our Dirt ‘Road’”. It was a collection of stories based on true events, and it was a new hurdle for me: making consistent illustrations, and finishing a big project.
In grade 12, I went to Malaysia to attend a private international school, much because it had a better art program, with AP courses. I had never even heard of AP courses before! I went from being the school’s Best Artist in MacGregor MB, to being just another average art student in Malaysia. There’s not much better to motivate you to improve your art skills than to be yanked from your position as “the best.” I still maintain that I’d rather be the worst than the best, even though it is more embarrassing, because when you’re the worst you just want to keep up with everyone else, and you try really hard. When you’re the best, you tend to become condescending and disdainful of the worst students, and you lazily maintain your position as “the best” with nothing pushing you to further excellence. Also, you turn into a jerk, if you’re not careful.
My art teacher and I did NOT get along for most of the year, but in the end we settled into a comfortable student/teacher relationship. I completed a portfolio for my AP 2D art course, and was stretched far further than I had ever been before.
My English Folder from grade 12
Since high school there has been slower but more steady progress, I’d say. I greatly desired to go to college to study art after high school, and I applied to go to Red River to study graphic design. However, my application was not received. They never got back to me! I feel very strongly now that God stole the application out of the mail, or something, because he knew that I would have HATED (HATED I tell you) graphic design. Instead of that, I went to Thailand to do a YWAM DTS and then the School of Cartooning and Animation for Missions. That year was instrumental in showing me that my art could indeed be used for ministry. I was thrilled to find that out. I also learned a bit better how to work as a team with other artists.
I greatly enjoy all kinds of art.
Pen & Ink, with digital colouring.
Fairy house building.
Well, this one didn’t turn out so great. 😀
(This one is sung with me thinking about Jesus. I was struck by the idea of how Jesus’ value of me gives me value. The original is by Blossom Dearie, about some regular ole boy)
Basically, if I’m creating something, I’m happy. Even writing this blog is bringing me so much joy, and I delight to tell you about my life as an artist! I may have overdone it a bit, but I got on a role and just couldn’t stop!
Thanks for taking this journey with me. 😀