The Evolution of a Drawing Artist
When I was younger, I had a mansion for my Barbies that could be rearranged so you could have rooms anywhere you pleased. Each room was pretty big. Like, big enough for a Barbie to stand up and have some headroom, and probably a little wider than they were tall. The rooms came with their own backgrounds like a window looking out to a garden or a pool. I always wanted to make my own background for it, but I knew I wasn’t good enough.
This was maybe 13 or so years ago, maybe more, and I still remember what I wanted to draw to put in the background of the room. It was a monochromatic background of an indigo forest with a castle way in the background. The trees weren’t just any trees. They were Douglas firs, the typical ones when drawing silhouettes of forests. The space beneath the trees was foggy, and the castle in the background had two towers.
But 8-year-old me didn’t have the skills to perfectly draw what I wanted, so I didn’t try. I didn’t want to upset myself by attempting to draw something and ultimately fail, so I drew other things.
- I ruined a whiteboard easel around the age of 9 because I drew on it with regular markers (In my defense, we didn’t have all of the colors in whiteboard markers). I drew Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable (from memory) on top of a snowy mountain. Kim’s hair was blowing from the wind of the helicopter above her.
- Probably about that same year, we got a new white board probably because my mom insisted on writing our chores on it or something like that. Instead I drew a jungle with monkeys and snakes and vines and trees and even a cave with the limited number of colors we had (purple, brown, and black).
- At age 10 I came in second place at my school’s art show for drawing Violet and Dash from The Incredibles running around while Mrs. Incredible vacuumed behind them. The first place winner was the art teacher’s daughter (and the art teacher was the judge).
- Also at age 10 I wrote my own story during free time in class over the course of multiple days, then illustrated it.
- Age 10 was an active year for me because I also hand-made a valentine for everyone in my 5th grade class.
- At age 11 I came in first place at my school’s art show because I drew the DVD cover for Napoleon Dynamite. My school added categories that year, and the art teacher’s daughter chose painting over drawing (after all these years, I’m still not convinced a 6th grader knew how to use paint and color in the ways that were showcased in that painting. Her class drawings were nothing spectacular).
- At age 12 I brought a small notebook to school and doodled every day until about half of the notebook was full. I mainly drew people snowboarding as an homage to my recently-discovered favorite game, SSX3. The art teacher continued to hate me (and I’m really not exaggerating). We didn’t have an art show that year.
- At age 13 I entered 8th grade and can’t remember doing anything significant other than drawing a buffalo and taping it to the front of my agenda.
- At age 14 I was enrolled in my first of many high school art courses: art comp. I learned the basics, like contour line drawings and blind contour (and how really useless they both were to me). I learned how to shade with those awful blending sticks that reckless students had used before me and ultimately ruined. I haven’t picked up a blending stick since that class and I threw out all of those gross contour drawings no one wanted to see.
- At age 15 I took a drawing and painting class in school. We weren’t given free range to draw whatever we wanted or anything, so I lost interest in doing anything. Everything I did sucked.
- At age 16 I took ceramics and applied design classes instead of drawing classes. I didn’t draw much that year. The classes from previous years wore me out with their assigned drawings.
- At age 17 I took my final drawing and painting class in high school. My teacher nominated me among a few others to be in the Governor’s Honors Program for art, and if we went to state, we would be able to attend a special art camp over the summer. Everyone chosen had the same stuff to show because the teachers told us what we should do and wouldn’t let us mat anything other than what they approved. I was the only person who didn’t get chosen to go to state (glad I didn’t though. Would’ve been an awful summer). My teachers never taught us how to shade with pressure, so I used my fingers to blend. All of my drawings were a smudgy mess. Except John Wayne, who I drew for my dad’s birthday.
- At age 18 I chose creative writing as my first year experience in college. All of my classes were centered around writing, except one. We had a “sketchbook” that was some sort of major project. It was supposed to be half focused on writing, the other half visual art. I’d just gotten my DSLR as my high school graduation present, so I went shutter happy and made prints of way too many photos. I drew some, too, and I can’t say I wasn’t happy with my drawings. I drew macro colored pencils and a stomach with pills that look like bombs falling into the stomach acid. It was rad.
- At age 19 I had a lot of time on my hands so I drew a lot. I also learned how to convert my drawings to vector images in Illustrator, so I made a lot of digital work as well. I drew a couple of portraits over the course of the year because I learned that’s what I really liked to do. I really like to draw what most people hate to draw: people. The drawings were pretty close to accurate with a couple of features that were obviously wrong. I drew the album cover for Collide With the Sky by Pierce the Veil, which they featured on their Instagram. I drew Mario and Luigi as princes in orange and pink clothing to see what they would look like as Peach and Daisy. I drew the physical version my most popular piece of art ever. I learned how to draw things to make them look like they’re glowing.
- At age 20 I was loaded down with school, so I didn’t draw much (except for fridge drawings as I ran out the door to class). The only significant thing I remember drawing was a photo of John Denver and Kermit for my dad for Christmas, but I didn’t finish it until I was 21 (it should be noted that my birthday is December 17th). I started drawing while waiting for my plane, procrastinated until I got back from my trip on the 21st, and spent the next 3 days telling my dad he couldn’t eat at the dining table because that was my workspace for his present. He cried when he opened it.
- And finally, at age 21, I’ve drawn my best portrait yet. The photo had been sitting on my desk for months, but I’d never gotten around to it. These past few days, I’ve really buckled down and I finished it a few hours ago. I’ve never been good at drawing hair, so I wanted to make sure that I took more than enough time to make it look good. Before the hair was even started, it was the best drawing I’d done. The hair still isn’t perfect, but it’s acceptable enough and I’m really proud of it. Behold, Brandon Flowers.
So maybe now that I know I’m decent enough, I’ll go back and actually draw that idea that I had 13 years ago.