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  • suzannenorquist

Accidental Artist

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

I’m not an artist.

Ask my seventh-grade teacher, who gave me a C in art. My worst subjects in school were art and choir, followed by creative writing, so I quit taking those classes. My proficiency in math and science validated me—gave me an identity.

Then I started this blog because writers are supposed to have blogs. It dragged me into art. My cartoon drawings are the result.

I did “Mom art” over the years. My kids remember the pin-the-tail-on-the-Pikachu (from Pokémon) at birthday parties. And, I jumped into the Stampin’ Up card making craze with both feet (Of course, it was antoher one of those product parties . . .).

Blogs need pictures. Who wants to read a big block of text? All my blogs start out as text only, and even I don’t want to read them. One of my blogging friends, Jeanne Takenaka, is an incredible photographer. I can’t compete with that. I’m the worst photographer ever and proud of it.

I started using free images, but it is hard to find something to fit my blog. I took my own pictures and used photo editing tools with moderate success. When I posted the picture below, my daughter said, “Mom, are those your feet?” Who else’s feet would they be?

Then she said, “You should draw your own pictures.”

Gulp! . . . What?

That’s easy for her to say. She’s an incredible artist. Here are examples of her artwork that I pulled from Facebook.

No one can accuse me of shying away from new adventures. So, I bought some pencils and a big eraser and made my first drawing.

We both decided it needed some color. I thought of colored pencils. She suggested crayons. “It’s your brand. That’s what you used for your logo.” In a world of professional images, a crayon drawing stands out.

I dusted off the trusty Crayolas (which haven’t been out of the box since my youngest turned 12), covered the image with printer paper, and traced the outline. It looked like this.

Then I posted it. No one thought much about it. In fact, the awkwardness of the drawings added to the entertainment. For example, the extra skinny arms on this massage therapist.

I came up with a system for generating drawings. I start with a quarter page.

Then I use my printer to blow it up to full size.

I cover it with paper and trace with crayons.

Next, scan to the computer. I keep cleaner and paper towels next to the printer to wipe up all the colored wax bits. My husband probably thinks I’m nuts.

My daughter edits my blogs before they go out. It isn’t unusual to get a comment like, “Those eyebrows make her look like a serial killer.” In that case, I make the bangs longer to cover the eyebrows.

Once, she said, “Oh, Mom, that big face is terrifying.” I re-drew it without lines for the cheekbones and toned down the colors.

I’ve drawn over one-hundred images and posted them on this blog (I’ve saved them all, because I still can’t believe they exist). I’m grateful to my daughter, who started this adventure and gives me honest feedback.

My drawings aren’t perfect, and they don’t have to be. Sometimes they are even kind of weird looking. I’m thankful that I didn’t let negative voices in my head define me. I took a shot, and I’m having fun. I could even become known for this new thing that I didn’t know I could do.

Perhaps, I am an artist.

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