One of the joys of parenthood comes from the simple activities we share with our children. From this weekend’s activities of igloo building after the snow falls here in Chicago, to playing Minecraft together, to sitting down to draw Pokemon. Each of these and more happened this past weekend, but it is that last activity that struck me.
To start, I have a fair decent amount of innate talent when it comes to drawing. I am no Juliane Berge (one of quite a few stunningly talented artists I follow on Instagram – I am talking photo-realism good), but for not practicing and only picking the pencils up every couple of years, I can say that I am indeed a competent artist.
I like to draw. It is relaxing. Challenging. Creative. Almost up there with my desire to write. Not a close second, but still up there. But for as much as I love to draw, both my lack of practice and my distractions keep me from picking up the pencil. Even my promise to spend just 5 minutes a day on sketching ended up being another broken promise.
My son has my innate talent for drawing. In fact, I’d argue he’s way better than me. At least he is way better than me than I was at his age. But as we are sitting there drawing Pokemon the other night, he keeps talking about how good I am and how amazing I am. This is where the title comes into play. Perspective.
We all look at things from the angles we live in. He sees his own work compared to mine. I see mine at compare that to people like Juliane and others. We see nothing but what we lack. It’s not until we are faced with someone truly admiring what we do, that things begin to show for what they really are.
I am 39. He’s 8. I’ve been drawing for my entire life, even taking a few basic drawing courses in college for elective. Even though I don’t practice, the times I’ve picked up the pencil has allowed me enough to hold on to the basic abilities to put together reasonably good art. I looked at him when he kept telling me how good I am and how he wished he could draw as good as me… like really, kid? I thanked him for the compliment, but I then told him what I truly believed. That at his age, he far outshines me. That if he practiced a little more, he would show his skill as truly remarkable. The only question is, would he want it?
It reminds me that I should not spend my time comparing my own work to others. Learn tips and tricks from others I see as having some skill or ability I don’t, but only so long as I don’t get stuck comparing my work to theirs in anything more than for learning. It will take some time to get that lesson to stick for myself. Hopefully I can give that same lesson to my son in his journey.
Anyway, judge for yourselves. Here’s just a few of the different art and pencil pieces my son has done on his own outside of class or instruction. If he wants to, I can see him showing enormous progress given the right instruction and practice.
Just remember. It’s all about perspective.