I can’t draw and it pisses me off.
I think everyone, when they are little, thinks they can draw. Probably, because when you are little and you manage to draw anything that looks like something other than a plate of squid ink spaghetti, your parents lose their minds and shower you with praise.
“Sweetie! That is the most beautiful cow I’ve ever seen!”
“It’s a blueberry pancake.”
“Right! Of course it is! It’s the most wonderful blueberry pancake ever!”
There are probably a few happy stages before that when you think you’re the best eater in the world, or the best pooper, but the first thing you hit upon that might be useful in your adult life as a talent, and is not actually a bodily function, is more than likely drawing.
We had a girl in grade school who was The Best Drawer in the Class. Every Christmas, we had a Santa drawing contest. Every year, I wanted to kill her. Not kill her dead, but kill her like you want to kill people when you’re in third grade. Bonk her on the head and hide her in the closet whenever we had a drawing competition. Have her run off the edge of a cliff like Wiley E. Coyote and then, while she’s hanging in mid-air, hand her an anvil. Maybe wish chicken pox upon her.
Not kill her dead. I’m not crazy, for crying out loud. I just wanted to win the damn drawing contest.
Finally, after two straight years of this girl schooling me in Santa drawing, I decided I was going to be proactive. Though, I probably didn’t actually think the word “proactive,” because I was eight and that’s a pretty big word for an eight year-old.
I found a picture of a cartoon Santa drawn by a professional artist and I taught myself to copy it. I worked on it until I could draw this professional Santa from memory. Then, on contest day, I produced The Perfect Santa.
The other girl’s Santa was the same Santa she did every year. Same happy eyes with the little squinty marks in the corner like she did every year. Same heavy black outlining like she did every year. The teacher put up the three finalists for final voting. Mine, hers, and some other person who doesn’t really have any point in this story, but whom I’m sure drew a perfectly nice third place Santa.
Here’s the part of my diabolical plan that failed: The kids in the class voted for the winner. Ms. Picasso was very popular. Probably, because she was such a damn great Santa drawer. I was less popular. Probably, because I was spending my time imagining bonking people on the head and dragging their unconscious bodies into the closet. I don’t know. The social lives of eight year-olds are deceptively complicated. But the point is – everyone knew her drawing, they knew her style. They voted for her because they always voted for her Santa.
Or at least that is what I told myself. Looking back on it there is a distinct possibility that I just sucked at drawing Santas.
That was over 30 years ago and I have long since recovered from my humiliating defeat. I hardly ever think about bonking her on the head anymore. Maybe like six, seven times a year. Tops. Mostly around the holidays.
There was also the time I drew “Tippy” the Turtle as advertised in my TV Guide. “Draw Tippy the Turtle! Send it to us and we’ll tell you if you have what it takes to be an artist!” I gave it to my Mom to mail. She told me years later that she never mailed it because those Art Institute people told everyone who wanted to pay tuition to their art school that they had what it took to be a serious artist. But at the time, it was just another devastating blow to my desire to be an artist.
There were three things I thought I drew well as a kid. Horses, dragons and that stupid Santa. You can see above the extent of my actual talent.
Clearly, I can’t draw and I wish I could. If I could, I could draw artwork for my blogs. I could create impressive birthday cards for my family. I could produce tee shirt designs and comic books. My binders and notebook covers in high school would have been much more interesting.
I can’t even do that kiddie-style drawing. Some people can do drawing that seems really primitive but is nevertheless special and charming. My kiddie drawing just looks like the stuff from the child who’s Mom won’t cop to which kid’s artwork hanging in the school hallway is hers.
If you are a good drawer, go celebrate! You are one of the lucky ones. Rejoice in your special talent! Go and draw yourself a Santa. Take a moment to really cherish your ability to express yourself visually. Sketch out that fluffy white beard and give depth and shape to those rosy cheeks. Then take that awesome Santa picture you just drew, carefully roll it up nice and neat, and shove it directly up your ass, Doodle Boy.
* Note: The writer of this blog is in no way actually asking you to put artwork in your tush. I know stranger things have happened. I have a friend who is an Emergency Room nurse. You wouldn’t believe some of the blogs some of those people must have been reading.