Saturday, November 16, 2013

Passing On a Dream

This week I got the opportunity to share my aspirations of becoming a picture book illustrator with some bright young artists at my local library.  I had read Jon Acuff's book Start (which you can find on Amazon) earlier this year.  In it, he talks about giving away our gifts.  To me that meant I needed to find a way to share what I am doing but I wasn't sure what that would look like. Then when the summer activities began at my local library, I thought that might be a good avenue to share what I am doing and what I am learning.

The display case in the foyer of the library is decorated with
 not only the books of some really great illustrators,
but a few of my own illustrations as well!
So November 12th I got to sit down with 4 children, grades 3, 4 and 6 along with their parents.  I shared my own story of how my 8th grade art teacher told me I should be an illustrator.  Looking back, I did not take that idea seriously nor did I really have a clear vision of what I wanted to do in my life.  I had a fuzzy notion about being an artist and had no idea how to go about it.  When I got to college, I had one professor encourage me and advised me to go to New York City then saw I had an engagement ring and said sadly, "I guess you won't be doing that."  She was right.  But, like I told the students Tuesday night, it is never too early or too late to begin to pursue your dream.

I didn't sugar coat it.  Not everyone who is an illustrator gets to do it for a living, but that doesn't mean it can't be a fulfilling way to spend your time and energy.  And the fact that so much illustration is done for the sake of being seen by eyes which are usually 10 and younger, it is an opportunity to touch and educate and inspire children.  Those children need dreams and some of those dreams are to make art to inspire others.  What a great calling!  And I would love to see these young people, if it is their calling, to start now to formulate plans and educate and prepare themselves to pursue those plans.  Even if illustration is not in their futures, I wanted them to know, the future is something we should be looking forward too.  It is not something we waste the present while we wait for the future to happen.  Dreams don't just happen. They need impetuous and perseverance on top of talent.

By the end of our hour together, we had talked about picture books, publishing, the difference between illustration and fine art, and they had made some beautiful sketches based on nursery rhyme titles I had put on slips of paper and placed in a bowl.  They asked if I would do it again and I said I would love to.  Who knows, maybe we could start an illustrators club!  The best part, was being able to share what I have learned over the past 15 months with people who love art and books too.  I get to share my journey and hopefully, I will share more of my journey with more students in the months to come.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog.  If you are an artist or illustrator or writer or you just enjoy people, I would so appreciate any ideas you may have or things you have done to share your gifts with others.  What's the good of having a gift if you don't give it away?  Please leave a comment.  Love hearing from you!