Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It Started With a Lion

I've recently rediscovered an old passion/obsession.

For as long as I can remember I have loved to draw.  In the third grade the teacher gave us an art assignment and mine was to draw a bride in her wedding gown with as much detail as I could.  I remember spending what seemed like forever on that drawing, and putting in so much detail into how her arms were positioned, the way she held her bouquet, and the sweep of her gown.  I shaded, erased, smudged and drew so much my hand would ache and I'd have to take a break and shake out my hand. I finally finished my bride and turned her in.  I won some kind of (long forgotten) super-awesome award for that drawing, and I was so proud of my bride!

Not long after that I recall a time when I went to work with my mom when she worked an overtime night shift (back in the day when you could take your well-behaved kids to work and no one batted an eye), and I spent nearly the entire night drawing.  She started out as just an "anyone" lady, but by the time I was done she had somehow transformed into Jackie Onassis. I saved that drawing for many years, but like all the other drawings from my childhood, it was eventually discarded.

In the 5th grade I met a girl in school who inspired me in another direction.  She would draw this incredibly adorable lion using nothing but basic shapes: circles, squares and straight lines.  I used to watch her draw the lion and think "why not kitties, puppies and monkeys too?"  I started drawing my own animals (and later on stick kids with big round faces) using the same technique she did, and before long there were basic shapes animals and kids on everything from the phone book cover to my walls. Literally. For years, I drew them on anything I could get my hands on, and quite often other girls in school would have me draw them on their school folders.  Some of my best drawings were done on other people's items, and I never saw them again.

Like everyone else, I grew up and found new interests and then got married and had 900 kids and drawing was something I put away while I changed diapers, chased toddlers, did laundry, anwered the phone that never stopped ringing for teenage girls and planned grocery lists for the next 27 years (and counting).  I've gone back to it a few times but never with the passion I had for it so many years ago, primarily because I just don't have the time to invest like I did when I was 10.  You have a lot more time for "fun" when you're 10, than you do when you're 45, I assure you.

Somehow, and I'm not even sure where it came from or how it happened, that passion came back.  It might have come about as I've somewhat detached myself from all the nonsensical, controversial, Christian blogging junk (you know what I mean), and determined to spend more time focusing on things that fall into the "whatsoever is good" category.  I find myself in a much better mood much more of the time when I'm dwelling on things that make people smile, rather than focusing on things that make people anxious and concerned, and I like being in this place.

In any event, not too long ago I decided I wanted to revisit my old animal friends, but this time do it with photoshop for much cleaner lines and perfect circles. It started with the lion, just like it did when I was 10, and before long I had a giant collection of lions, giraffes, puppies, pigs, bunnies and more. I call it a passion but it may very well be an obsession as well, because just like when I was 10 I find myself completely engrossed in creating and not even realizing how much time has gone by. Just like when I was 10, it started with the lion then progressed into the other animals, then on to the kids and then onto the themed-kids such as princesses, baseball players pirates and tinkerbell-type fairies.  I've created so many of them that in part, my new shop Birthday Sweeties was to showcase them all.  The thing is, I'm not done.  The more I create, the more ideas I get and I now have a list a mile long (maybe 2) of projects to work on once I'm done with the current project.  Since I'm well past the age of 10, I make it a point to submit all my work to the Quality Control panel of Jordan, Rachel, Samuel and Ruth (ages 12, 11, 9 and 6) to make sure it passes the Kid Pleasing test.  Nothing gets published that doesn't pass, and much of what does get published is edited to include their suggestions.  A panel of 4 giggling kids is the general rule of thumb that it's passed the test. I like giggles, they make me smile. :-)

You can see all the new animals (Safari Babies, Woodland Babies, Barnyard Babies, Kitties, Penguins and Puppies) HERE, and all the new kids (now known as Twiggy Tots stick kids) HERE. Lord willing, there are lots more coming very soon, as well!

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you have a child's birthday coming up, take a look through the different categories at Birthday Sweeties for custom birthday party invitations, birthday cards, t-shirts, buttons, binders, magnets, mousepads and more.  You just might find something that inspires some precious giggles in your own house.
Graphic design by Carla Rolfe