I was told when I was in the sixth grade that I am not an artist. My art teacher thought my first-ever ceramic piece was terrible enough that I could never amount to calling myself an artist of any kind. Even though I was obsessed with drawing at the time, I listened to someone who knew better than me and gave it up. To this day, I tell everyone I can’t draw to save my life.
A month ago, while I was attending my writer’s conference, Jack begged me to draw his favorite characters from an Amazon Prime show, Super Wings. I was in a hurry, and to get him out of my way, I sketched them quickly. He took my notebook and bragged to his sister and Daddy that, “Momma make Jet!” Topher’s response was, “Did you freehand that?”
I told him no, I had a reference though. And he said, “That’s freehand.” He then told me the work I did in a matter of moments is on-par with work he’s seen from people who say they are artists. So that was confusing to me.
The fam has been challenging me to draw since then. Something struck me yesterday as I sketched out an illustration of Jack’s buddy, Udoka Azubuike. I said it was terrible and Francesca heard me. When she tried to draw something else I said was “terrible,” she tried to draw it, too. When she couldn’t do it as well as my “terrible” drawing, she gave up and cried.
I quickly learned two important lessons through this exercise already. One: don’t listen to what others say about you, because their opinions don’t matter. Two: little ears are always listening. Those ears need to know the people they look up to believe in themselves, because then they too can learn to believe in themselves.
I was super proud of today’s 5-minute drawing of Gary from SpongeBob SquarePants (or, as Jack calls him, “BobBox SquarePants”). The kids thought he was every bit as cool as I did.