This is the first in a series of posts about my journey to publication. My goal is to write regularly and in chronological order up to the publication of my first picture books in 2016 and 2017... I hope you find inspiration and maybe some of yourself in my experience!
I always loved to draw as a kid. Legend has it that I was drawing and writing my name by scraping rocks on cement, kind of like a tiny cave woman, before I could even talk.
Admittedly, I don’t have many memories of my elementary school art career. But I vividly remember making life-like pencil renderings in middle school and high school — some old favorites include my silver wristwatch and an Oreo cookie. I drew anything that was sitting still. I loved studying objects and really “seeing” them for what felt like the first time. I created still life compositions and lit them with a goose-neck desk lamp in my parents’ basement. I drew a self-portrait of my reflection in a spoon. I tried charcoals and pastels. I loved how meditative drawing was, and how I could just lose myself in the process.
During those years, Mrs. Fogelman and Mr. Foo were two teachers and accomplished artists who believed in me and encouraged me to create. I loved the intoxicating smell of their classrooms… the specific scent of art supplies like graphite, conte crayons, pastels, and paints, mixed with the faintest touch of fixative spray (which I probably shouldn’t have been inhaling.) I learned about fashion illustration (a love of Mrs. Fogelman) and about the nuances of painting Chinese characters (courtesy of Mr. Foo.) It was within the walls of their classrooms that I found the inspiration to lock myself in my room at night and draw… and draw… and draw. I would prop up and stare at my finished pieces. Sometimes I’d stare at them for an hour. I would study them, thinking about the lights and the darks and how I had placed them, and what I could have done to make each drawing better. I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction, completion, and peace. I could hold those spiral bound sketch books in my hands and say, “I made this."
NEXT UP: When people tell you that you’re good at art, you major in graphic design!