Hey friends! Since I’ve been getting so many new people to the blog, I thought I’d introduce myself. As you can probably tell from whatever blog post interested you in my site, I’m an artist and writer. So, here’s my story about how I got into these things.
I was so into my art and myself (probably around 8 years old) that I chose my friends based on who could do art like me. My sister, who is about a decade older than me, was an artist and taught me how to draw. She honed my style- the style that is no longer there but that I’m trying to find again. I specifically remember her teaching me how to draw monkeys and use bubble letters on my school poster projects, and I would tell people that if they couldn’t draw them, then we couldn’t be friends. I was ridiculous.
Because of this, I had a lot of people determined to be my friend- I don’t think it was because they actually wanted to be my friend, but because they wanted to be able to draw the way that I did. This, more than my art university years, is how I assembled a group of life-lasting friendships. I attracted everyone in my year who was interested in art. It was the raddest thing.
My family did nothing but support my art aspirations as a kid (as an adult going to college for art and picking the profession that’s going to support me for the rest of my life, their support is a different story); Every year i’d get multiple new art sets for Xmas.
90’s babies, ya’ll remember these, right?
They were somehow different back then, but I’m not sure how. The ones my family got me were so much more elaborate than normal. None of my friends had the same ones, so I have no idea where they found the ones they got me. These sort of, say, golden ticket art sets were probably what made me so excited for art and life. As a kid, how could you have all of these cool supplies and not be like “hey, lets draw a dragon riding on a unicorn!” every second of the day. And that’s all I did. I just did art all fricken day long.
. . .
While my sister was making art special for me, my mom was making words special for me. There was this thick volume of stories she had that she reserved for bedtime. The cover was padded and blue and the edge of the pages were gold. It was a good looking book which is probably what made these nightly rituals so remarkable. These memories were so early in my life that I can hardly remember them- I remember them mostly in feelings and the image of that book.
Then, it’s time for me to learn to read and I’m reading out loud every night, as you do, and I would always do it with my mom. We were sat up at our dining room table, and with my knees pulled to my chest in the wooden armchair we would take turns reading out-loud the adventures of Fraggle Rock, Super Fudge, the Pokey Puppy and so many more. Doing this as homework was a drag, but as something that my mom and I did together, it was golden.
From then on, I believe I attached this special feeling, from those experiences, to books in general; so, when we started writing our own stories at school, I was so pumped.
The worlds I could come up with were like hidden treasures to me. I would spend so much time on these assignments at school, but I would put even more love into the stories I made on my own time. There was this time, definitely before fifth grade, where I started writing a story about dinosaurs. I wrote it and illustrated it with my art supplies from my fancy lil’ case my grandma probably got me for Christmas that year. In my memory, I see dinosaurs that are neon yellow, bright orange, or maybe a bright green. It was like a blacklight club had shit on my paper. I was elated! They were so special to me that when I was done with them, I would shove them under my bed. I know that sounds neglectful, but to me I was being cheeky and hiding away my masterpieces so that only I could see them while they were in progress. Going to bed, I felt like I was floating above a hidden world, a mystery, something that was only meant for me. It was special.
As I got older I mostly neglected illustrating my stories. I became obsessed with Scooby Doo, so much so that one birthday, after all of my friends went to bed, I stayed up and wrote for hours and hours about the gang. I had folders full of those stories; I’d staple them together and give them covers with a title and a little drawing of Scooby Doo and whatever mystery monster he was defeating at the time. I treated them like real books.
It was mostly downhill from then.
Writing was so easy back then. I could always think up a story, and no matter what it was, it was worthy of being put down onto paper. I’m so envious of the me I was back then. I was a much more dedicated creator. I think as you get older you learn how your work can get scrutinized and how you’re afraid of failure. I miss being impervious to the eyes of others.
Being a writer and artist now is so different than what it meant back then. Doing those things seemed so pure, raw, honest, and downright easy. I’m trying to get back to those roots. I’m just trying to figure out how to be a kid again.