Updated: Apr 1, 2020
A question I get asked a lot is just that: How did you get started with art? How did you get started with writing? What inspired you to start?
It all stems back to when I was very young. I think I was six at the time, and car rides were my favorite. They offered a solace away from the house, sunshine, and music. When I was that age, Mom still played cassette tapes. I remember how every time they warbled or distorted, my heart sunk. I remember pulling them from the little black flap and twisting the tape back into the plastic with my pinky shoved in one of the star-shaped, spiked holes.
We had one cassette tape this would happen with a lot, probably since it was the only one my sister and I could agree on. It featured kids singing popular songs you'd hear on the radio.
When I was this young, I thought that all the songs came out of a huge factory: words, sounds, all of it. In my mind, they had gray conveyor belts that the song would travel along and have melodies and harmonies and lyrics and chords all plunked into them. Having listened to Christian radio all life didn't do me any favors, because covers of songs happen a lot in Christian worship. Though, one day I heard the radio host talk about how an artist wrote the original song they were about to play.
That opened up a world of possibilities for me.
Suddenly, songs didn't come from factories. Songs came from people.
People could create. People could write. It changed the whole course of my six-year-old life.
Years down the road, I had my writing teacher Mrs. S for the first time. In the fifth grade class she taught, I discovered my ability to write. She always complimented my work from the beginning, and I credit to her that I'm still here, still writing my books, and sitting at the computer now, typing up this blog post.
So I started writing stories. I wrote fanfiction for the Unicorns of Balinor and for Percy Jackson, even though I had not read the latter of the two. I wrote with my friends. I wrote alone sometimes. I got the best grades in all my English classes.
Shortly after this, I met my life long best friend on the internet. We began writing Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction. It's safe to say that quickly after that I thought to myself, "Sonic characters are easy to draw! They look so easy. I'm going to start drawing, and I'm going to teach myself by drawing Sonic characters first."
I'd only been drawing about a week when we found out Mom had cancer.
I had all my small collection of drawings (all on graph paper, because I thought the squares would help me with proportions), and my curtains were pulled. I was sitting on the floor. I was scared to death, but I think I kept myself in denial by studying my latest work. It was dark. It was lonely.
That's where it started.
The tortured artist stereotype in my mind rings true. Out of all of my pain and heartbreak and loneliness in life, something was being manufactured, plunked into place, one talent at a time.
I didn't like my art. I also didn't stop. I never thought once to myself, "I can't draw that. I'll never be able to draw that!" It was thinking, every time I saw an awesome new artwork (thank God I knew art didn't come from factories), that I had to try to draw like that! Even if there was no comprehensible way I could, I still tried.
That's why I'm here.
Passion, heartbreak, life--it all creates something inside of artists. We're just trying to get it on the page.
So what about you? I've met so many incredible artists along the way, and I would love to hear how you got started, how you've worked on art over the years, and what it means to you! Leave a comment below!