The other day, I was at a craft show with my booth selling my paper and hand block printed goodies.
It was going pretty slow for me. But I always enjoy getting to know my fellow vendors and chatting with the people who stopped by my booth.
In the afternoon towards the end of the day, this mother and daughter stopped by to look at my products. They were saying to each other how cute they thought my stuff was, so I thanked them and let them know they can pick up/touch anything and ask me any questions.
The mom started chatting with me about what I do and asked me how I became an artist. So I gave her a short version of my background and told her how I started making art for fun as an adult and gradually became serious about pursuing it as a career and eventually quit my day job at a non-profit social service organization last summer.
She seemed delighted to hear my story and proceeded to tell me her daughter is an aspiring artist. Her daughter was standing next to her looking a little uncomfortable now the focus was on her. She was about 13-year-old and wasn’t saying very much at this point.
Her mom started showing me the pictures of her drawings on her phone and was so proud of all of her daughter’s work.
I told them I liked her drawings – they were Manga drawings she’d made on her mom’s phone, and it reminded me of my Manga-drawing days of my pre-teen years, too. She smiled a little shy smile. She started scrolling the photos and showed me more work and told me a little bit about each – about the outfit her character was wearing, what the scene was about etc.
Her mom then asked me if I had any advice for her daughter for becoming a working artist some day. I thought for a second and shared my thoughts with them.
You’ve gotta work hard.
Practice drawing every day. Don’t try to make your work look like someone else’s. Your skills are important, and having your own style is even more important. Find something that’s uniquely you and let it shine through all of your drawings. Enjoy the process. And put your work out there! Let people find your gift.
I get pretty fired up about people pursuing their passion, so I may have been a little intense. But that’s the best advice I’ve gotten and wanted to pass on to anyone who is wanting to choose a creative path.
She nodded as she listened to what I had to say. After our little chat, they thanked me for my time and advice and left my booth to get on with their afternoon.
As they walked away, I felt a huge sense of fulfillment and truly wished her dream would come true some day. And I was once again reminded of how privileged I was to be able to pursue my creative passion so wholeheartedly in my current life.
And also, how cool is it that her mom is super supportive of her daughter’s creative passion? It’s so important for creative people, especially young people her age, to know that what they create is valuable and internalize that message. Having a parent who is so excited and encouraging of her creative path would help her future endeavors tremendously!
Try to encourage young people in your life to stay creative. And you can be a role model by staying creative yourself 🙂