Remember getting a new box of crayons when you were a kid?
Their smell evokes vivid childhood memories for a lot of us. If you were lucky, you got the big box with 64 colors and a built in sharpener. I quickly figured out that if you kept the crayons sharp, you could mix colors by putting down layers on the paper. The most important thing I remember is that I drew every day.
Here is a card that I drew when I was 6. It’s a bright sunny day, and there is a pine and an apple tree on the horizon. I like how 6-year old me used the cerulean blue crayon to depict the sky. I varied the pressure to depict the white clouds that were floating by instead of coloring the whole sky one color. How did I know how to do this? Most likely this came about through experimentation, and that can only happen when you aren’t attached to any particular outcome.
Inside the card is a heart with the words I love you. This heart is on a lot of my early drawings because it was my favorite thing about my Raggedy Ann doll. It was embroidered on her chest. Raggedy Ann was a cloth doll with red yarn hair. She was often the subject of my portraits in first grade.
Like most 6-year-olds, I often lacked the vocabulary to articulate how I felt, so drawing enabled me to work out feelings and express them on paper. Drawing was also my way of processing things that I encountered in the world. Every new experience was put down on paper somewhere. I never worried about whether or not the perspective was right, or if it was realistic enough. I never worried about people judging me. I just drew.
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
The goal for my art this year is work toward drawing like a 6 year old again! Some feelings can only be expressed visually. Six year old Cindi is still in there somewhere. I need to find her and let her remind me of how great is to create only for myself. All I need to do is give her a sketchbook and a box of new crayons, and she’ll make something awesome.