Picasso famously said, ‘Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain one as an adult.’ I believe that wholeheartedly, and I personally witnessed many of my childhood artist friends give up their God-given talents to, quote-unquote, become professionals - as per the instruction of their parents and teachers. And this was before puberty. If, as a child, you showed ANY sign of talent that was just a little better than one of your grade school classmates, well then, maybe you would find yourself - as I did - in the Talented & Gifted Program. At the time, it seemed we were just the kids that colored in the lines best. But then it became clearer that we also thought a little differently. We were the creatives.
Doodling in class was my nemesis. I was always getting in trouble for supposedly not paying attention. Fact of the matter, and it’s been long since proven that, doodling helped me to stay focused. I listened better while I was keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied. My palette was limited to the pens and pencils in my desk, but the book cover and paper margin designs I created were mini masterpieces. My pre-doodler training came in the form of good 'ol coloring. There was no better escape than a good coloring book and 64 count box of classic Crayola Crayons, complete with the built-in sharpener. You knew you were a serious colorer if your crayon box had a sharpener. There was nothing worse than a dull, rounded off crayon. The pointier the better for staying tight in the lines, nice shading, and attention to detail. I took my coloring very seriously, and I still do to this day - in every medium I work in. The original, thinking kid’s coloring books were the ones where you first had to connect the dots to complete the drawing first. Starting at dot number one, draw the line to dot number two, then to three, and so on, until you completed the outline for your drawing. Only then could you color it in. Rudimentary as it may have been, it was in fact the beginning of my career as a professional dot connector. Only now I’m drawing conclusions instead of kitty cats.