Sketches of Summer I
Over the summer, I was wrangled to rejoin the YMCA for their summer camp program. Unfortunately, due to my dilly-dallying in the Spring, I missed the boat at the more prestigious and lucrative management positions. The upside was that I was installed with a regular group of kids and quickly took to drawing pictures for them as I had as a sub in the after school program.
Here are the rules of the game:
- I will make a list each week to keep track of requests. The list resets at the end of the day on Friday and starts anew on Monday.
- You may request one picture per day. If no one is on the list, you may request a second one.
- Your request must be original. If someone has requested a unicorn, request something different (small differences count). I don’t do your favorite character; it will look bad if I try. And no, I won’t draw you or another person at camp (though I will do ugly self-portraits such as Paola’s request for “Ben in a bikini”.
- I have veto power and artistic license.
- No changing requests after the fact.
- I only work in pencil. You must add color yourself.
- If you’re not there, I will skip you and come back to you when you are there.
- Once I give it to you, do whatever you want with the drawing.
“Where did you learn to draw?” the kids ask me.
“Umm, I didn’t. I just kind of draw.”
“Oh, I do that too. You should be an artist.”
“No,” I laugh, “no, I shouldn’t.” It’s nice that they enjoy my pictures, but I’m just having fun and have no desire to be a visual artist of any sort. Several of the kids I worked with were better artists than me. Marissa, who was probably the best of the bunch, would ask me for prompts of what to draw. Usually, I’d throw out two or three weird ones, and when I hit one she wanted to do, she would draw something more awesomely than I could. The other kids lined up for pictures of a “Night Mare” after she bested me at drawing the flaming stallion of myth.
It wasn’t long before kids figured out that I would take normal requests and make them as strange as possible. If they gave me a strange request, I’d try to stay as true to the request as possible.
I had so much fun drawing for the kids, I started talking about it at home with my roommates.
“Why don’t you bring some home?” one of my roommates asked.
“I give them away. I don’t have them after I draw them.”
“Well then copy them,” he said. I rolled my eyes and brushed off the suggestion, but it stuck in the back of my head.
During a field trip to the zoo, I sketched during lunch and when we had breaks or were watching presentations. As I finished up a request for Naiya (“I want a pig having a conversation with bacon. And the pig has a moustache.”), I was so entertained by my drawing, I felt I had to bring home a copy.
“Can I give this to you after we get back to camp? I want to make a copy for myself.” She kindly agreed. Holding onto pictures is not one of the rules. Sadly, I lost the drawing at the zoo, but I liked the idea so much, I redrew it (IMO, better than before) and copied it when we got back to camp. For the rest of the summer, if I liked a picture, I’d find a second one I liked and copied them in pairs to bring home.
I drew well more than a hundred sketches and only saved fourteen, not all of them favorites. The next few posts, I’ll be posting two or three pictures in each post.
Requested by Megan.
“I want an alacorn flying in front of the sun.”
I forgot the horn and mane. Oops.
Requested by Anita.
“I want a puppy reading the newspaper.”