“You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” - Maya Angelou
I started drawing when I was eight years old. I came from a large family. Five kids, two dogs, revolving birds, hamsters, fish and of course, my two amazing and loving parents. My mom and dad were naturally gifted artists but having to provide for myself and my four siblings wasn’t easy, so their love of art took a backseat to other responsibilities.
My mom stayed home to raise the five of us and my dad worked as an electrical engineer. This left them with very little time to pursue anything else. It wasn’t until my siblings and I were old enough to move out of the house that my mom started painting again. Over the years she has experimented with different mediums and today has found her niche creating the most amazing commissioned portraits in charcoal. She inspires me daily to keep doing what I love.
My mom definitely influenced my love of art, but if there was one person who I can credit with igniting my passion for drawing, it was my dad. He loved to draw, he was good at it and he was a great teacher. He always told me that a good drawing doesn’t just make you see but also makes you feel something. These simple words have stuck with me my whole life and have been an instrumental part of anything I do even outside of art.
My dad insisted that I draw everyday. It didn’t matter for how long or what the subject was, he just encouraged me to draw. Often, he would cut out pages from my mom’s magazines, usually full-page ads with faces of men or women. He would then cut the faces in half and tape them onto paper. The idea being that I would sketch the other half of the face to complete the picture. This simple exercise taught me so much about drawing and quickly improved my skills. It also gave me time with my dad doing something we both loved.
It wasn’t until about age 12 that I began drawing animals. This is when my passion for drawing really blossomed. My dad no longer had to remind me to draw everyday. It was all I wanted to do. Staring into the faces of cute, furry animals and being able to capture their unique personalities on paper was my ultimate thrill. It still is today.
Looking back, my love for drawing and the skills I have acquired, I come by naturally, thanks to my parents. It’s been over 23 years since my dad passed away and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, especially when I start a new drawing. He showed me that if I put my heart and soul into everything I do then even the smallest tasks will have greater meaning. Most importantly, he taught me to take the time to do what makes me happy and whenever possible to spread the happiness around. This is what I hope to do with every portrait that I draw.
Below are some of my first drawings I did when I was 12 years old.