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Worldwide Ace » Sketches of Summer III

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Sketches of Summer III

2 September, 2013 (08:45) | Sketchbook, Work

For context, read
Sketches of Summer I

Emo Unicorn - One Is The Loneliest Number of Horns
Requested by Mackenzie.
“I want a goth unicorn.”
“Will emo do?”
“Yeah! Oh, and make him holding a rubber duckie.”
“A rubber duckie?”
“You heard me.”

Two years ago, after summer had ended and the school year began, I slid into my first mud season as a sub for the YMCA after-school program, something I’ve kept up every Spring and Fall since. They installed me as the temporary Assistant Director at Creekside Elementary, one of their toughest and highest turnover locations. After they hired an AD, they kept me there until they could hire a third staffer for the site. It was during this time that I began to sit down and draw with and for the kids.

The return of school generally also signifies that Halloween is just around the corner. After the Fourth of July, there really isn’t a kids holiday until Halloween. The long weekend of Labor Day and Columbus Day may offer parades, but they don’t have the same ubiquitous traditions that Halloween and the Fourth of July have. It’s really no surprise that my first requests were pretty standard Halloween fare: zombies, vampires, bats and wolves.

Bergen, one of the upper graders and with an abrasive personality I absolutely loved (give me clever, snide, and cynical any day), realized that I worked harder at the requests that interested me. In turn, she asked for a goth butterfly. With pierced wings, tattoos, an emo haircut and tears dripping due to a recent breakup with a girlfriend, I handed her the first drawing that really made me smile when I looked at it.

“You know I still have your goth butterfly,” she told me late last year, more than a year and half removed from my drawing it.

“Cool.” I was genuinely flattered.

Word tends to get around, even school to school, if you have a talent, even one as paltry as my drawing. A friend of mine recently looked through my saved sketches and told me, “that’s some seriously tenth grade shit.” She’s not wrong.

In fifth grade, I had a huge crush on a girl named Kate. She had fiery red hair, braces, glowing green eyes, and an amazing ability to draw. She drew me a picture of Roger and Jessica Rabbit that left my heart melting. Back then, I was an absolutely terrible artist. Today, I’m still not as talented as she was then.

When I show up at a school for the first time, there’s about a fifty percent chance that a kid will come running up and ask one of the following questions:

“Are you the guy who draws pictures?”

“Are you the artist?”

“Are you the guy who draws really well?”

“Are you the guy who drew all the zombies/unicorns/penguins?”

“Are you the guy who drew the pizza throwing up/goth butterfly/airplane killing clouds?”

I always answer yes to the last two questions. To the first three, though, I always say no and downplay my drawing. “I do alright,” I’ll tell them. It’s a more accurate assessment of my skill.

This summer, unicorns, dragons, alacorns, and pegasi were the hip request. I drew so many of them doing different things, I started saying no to every unicorn request by the end. “I’ve already done too many,” I’d say. “Think of something else.

Still, when Mak asked for a goth unicorn, I couldn’t resist. It reminded me so much of the goth butterfly, which is what I consider to be the drawing that really kickstarted my creativity.

Griffin Love Zombie
Requested by Zoe.
“I want a zombie riding a griffin.”

“Wouldn’t the zombie eat the griffin’s brains and turn it into a zombie griffin?”

“No. They’re in love.”