Emma and the Great Drawing Challenge

Ladies and gentlemen, be gentle.  Be very gentle. 

This is a very tentative blog.  An insecure blog.  A blog written by someone who has very few drawing skills.

It all started a few weeks ago.  My friend Emma challenged me to draw a picture. 

(A picture??  Oh no!  Oh no!  An inner voice says firmly, “You will not draw a picture.  You can’t draw.”  A second inner voice pipes in, “But it’s an adventure!  It’s a challenge!  We mustn’t say no!”  A third inner voice insists “Never say can’t.”)

And so you–through clenched teeth and sweating brow–agree to draw.

But what?  You moan your inadequacy to Emma.

“Draw a leaf,” Emma says.

You scroll through all your photos looking for a leaf.  Ahh, here’s one.  Here’s another.  Draw them.

You then put it off for at least a week.  Then you tentatively and painfully begin to draw, feeling like a 2nd grader.

The first tentative sketch

OK.  There it was.  Drawn.  Phew…  Let’s try another one.

Except this one is a little more tricky.  A little more challenging.  Oh no!  After several painful tries I even found myself over at the computer…kind of…lining up the leaf against the original on the computer screen.  But Emma I did not cheat!  Well, maybe a couple little lines.  A couple little scribbles of directional assistance.  That’s all.

Baby maple leaf

Then I put them on the corner of the desk and looked at them cautiously for another week.  When suddenly it grew clear:  the leaves needed color!  Don’t they?

So I borrowed seven or eight colored pencils from the school.  The teacher kindly let me take them home for the evening without asking too many questions.

And within ten minutes of sharpening the pencils and applying green, red, orange, yellow, purple and other dazzling bits of color…the drawings were done.  Finished.  To my amateur satisfaction.  They could now go in the mail.

Done! Decorated with little itty bitty colored marks.

Done! A rainbow of colored lines.

Except.  They continued to sit on the desk peering up at me.  How come I couldn’t mail them yet?  They were ready to go.  Emma was probably convinced I would not follow through with the challenge.

Until suddenly this morning I woke up and Knew. The darn drawings wanted to go in this blog.  They wanted to show people that Everyone can be Creative!  Even when we’re drawing childish scrawls, we can still create if we open ourselves to possibility and attempt new things.

The leaves insisted.  I sighed.  OK, leaves.  You tryin’ to embarrass me or what?  See if I care!  I will do anything on a challenge.  And it sounds like you leaves are challenging me…

So there you have it.  Emma, the leaves are in the mail.  I only had one minor incident attempting to mail them.  See the following picture?  Can you guess what happened?

Hold your horses! Slippery snow...

Yep.  You guessed it.  I walked out the back door onto the deck in the snow before grabbing the envelope and then returned inside, preparing to go outside the front door.  When suddenly my snow-covered boots hit the wooden floor and….weeeeee!….what a ride….I slid across that wooden floor like a crazy lady on skates.  Luckily, I did not fall.  The leaves are in the mailbox.  Hope they make it to their destination safely.

As for the rest of you blog readers, anyone up to a challenge?  How about drawing a picture?  Then you can post it on your blog…or you can email it to me and I’ll post it here.  What do you think?   🙂

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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22 Responses to Emma and the Great Drawing Challenge

  1. Dawn says:

    Interesting challenge. My mom used to teach art to kids and adults. Some used to say they “couldn’t draw a straight line.” Mom said; “look around, nature doesn’t have any straight lines.” So I agree everyone can be creative. I can draw some…and in fact I have a bunch of art stuff sitting on the breakfast table where it’s been for months. And I’ve been thinking it was time to try something. SO maybe…

    • Kathy says:

      go for it, Dawn! Now is the time. That art stuff sitting on your breakfast table is TALKING to you, girlfriend. There is no “maybe” about it! 🙂

  2. Feeling like a second grader is a pretty good thing, Kathy.
    Now, I wouldn’t care to feel like a 7th grader ;o)

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Carla I remember the agony of 7th grade art. Probably the main reason it’s been so hard to play with art in the ensuing years. Unless dared, of course! Then it’s impossible to say no…

  3. Emma says:

    Yessssssssss!!!! This made my night!

    First of all, good for you for taking the challenge despite your doubts and fears! So, so many people say they cannot draw, but absolutely everyone can be creative – including drawing.

    I really like your drawings. I like how you included veins and question marks!! “Leaf with many questions!” =D

    I think the color additions are great. These leaves have personality and they feel complete to me, too.


    P.S. That snow looks like a snow-waffle. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Emma, I love you. Listen t you. “I really like your drawings.” You are an angel, and a good person to issue a dare, too. It was fun. The actual leaves are in the mail now, winging their way to you. Thanks again for all the fun (once the doubts and fears were put in their proper place.)

  4. Gerry says:

    Snow awful here, too. Leaves buried.

  5. Susan D says:

    Splendid, happy leaves! I love them!

  6. p.j. grath says:

    Thanks, Kathy! Once again, you’ve given me just the kick in the pants I needed. My writing is going well (fourth story underway in the projected cycle), but my drawing pencils have been languishing. Looking at pictures and reading some of the text in a drawing book might have been a warm-up and might have been procrastination, but today I will take up the challenge at last, thanks to you.

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, glad you’re going to take out your drawing pens. You see Emma’s challenge has positively benefits both of us. I am still thinking about that Zen and the Art of Drawing book you mentioned. Maybe will look for it tomorrow at Snowbound Books here in Marquette.

  7. Cindy Lou says:

    Dawn, I love your mom’s philosophy because I’m one of those who always says that! Hmm….maybe I’ll accept Kathy’s challenge?!?!? I do think I’m ‘crafty’ but not artistic in the usual sense of the word. One of my regrets is not taking an art class or two in high school – maybe when I retire!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh do draw, Cindy! You are probably a great drawer, because of your crafty sense. Let us know how it goes…you can always send samples to me if you like…

  8. gigi says:

    I read this as I was in the midst of drawing house plans for the first house I grew up in. Can you say challenging; both in the drawing and in using my memory!

    I hope to put them on my blog either this Sunday or next.

    Great challenge Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Gigi, I will have to remember to check out your blog. Or could you send me a quick note (or another comment) when you do so? So glad to here from you, Gigi and learn of this synchronicity.

  9. flandrumhill says:

    Learning to draw is like learning a magical language that allows you to communicate with every culture on the planet. Centuries ago, an ability to draw was considered just as important as an ability to read and write.

    This past week I started giving private art lessons to a 10 year old. He was so full of joy and all ears to hear what we’d be doing in our hour together. Was this because he was 10 or because he was doing art? Probably a little of both. Engaging in art activities releases endorphins in our brains that make us feel good. It’s worth doing just for the fun of it.

    Kathy, the lines of your drawing are bold and well thought-out (I know you’ve looked lovingly at A LOT of leaves) and your use of color is fresh. Your drawing style is already more developed than most beginners.

    I’ll try to find a leaf to draw over the weekend.

  10. Kathy says:

    Amy, if the lines look bold to you it’s because you can’t see all the tentative lines hiding beneath. How wonderful that you are giving art lessons. Your drawings are so good. I can see that to develop this skill would be a real gift. Please let me see your leaf when you draw it. I would love to see what you come up with.

  11. Emma Agese says:

    I love the 3rd voice! And you’re comical, interesting read! love. Emma (a different Emma lol)

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Emma Agese, You made my day yesterday! I mentioned to at least two people in our house–someone on line thinks I’m comical! It felt like a great compliment. Nice to meet you, different Emma!

  12. sonali says:

    Oh that sounds cool! I really appreciate your enthusiasm for trying out something different, and I believe when you do something from your heart, anything is possible and looks fabulous. I like your drawings. They are cute and i see the interest you have put in esp. giving them pretty colors. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, it was fun to read this again and remember about “Emma and the Great Drawing Challenge”. Fun! (I also tried a drawing challenge with my daughter Kiah this summer…she made it through an entire month of drawing. I only made it through about 20 days. Didn’t blog about it, though…I don’t think.) Hope you are doing well. Thank you for visiting an older blog.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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