It’s not about the pencils
My story starts pre-pandemic. I’d wake up early, check my emails and then look at my sleep app to confirm just how tired I felt. I’d give all I could at work and then hurry home after 7pm to read my daughters a story. And then lockdown happened and I was determined to find something positive from the situation.
In the first month, I slept more than I had in years; my battery was increasing every day. But when I injured myself running, I needed a new challenge to take advantage of the 15 hours a week I had back from not commuting.
One day, when I was drawing the design for a new garden project, my daughter said, “Daddy, you’re good at drawing. Why don’t you draw again?” I was afraid to see how bad I’d become, but my girls learn from me through my actions, so I had to try.
My first drawing was of my youngest, Isla. Before lockdown, I didn’t see her as much as I’d have liked, but soon she was slipping her hand into mine on walks and I wanted to repay her with my first drawing. It was far from perfect. My older daughter Evie said I’d “forgotten the meatballs in Isla’s spaghetti hair!” But as I was finishing her eyes, I thought, ‘I’ve caught her.’
I went on to draw many other people close to me including my other daughter, wife, mum, brother and my late father who passed as I was finishing his portrait. With each drawing, I improved and I even started getting requests from friends. But for me, drawing isn’t about receiving recognition, it’s about:
- Challenging the idea that I can’t do something
- Providing an outlet to de-stress and focus on something positive and productive
- A unique way to chronicle my family growing up… and growing older
Most recently, I drew a portrait of actor Tamer Hassan, a family friend. He has been raising money for families displaced by the earthquake in Turkey. With support from Colt, I am also actively trying to help. We have done ten prints of Tamer’s drawing which he’s going to sign and auction to help reach his goal of raising £100,000. It feels good to be able to give something back.
For more on this story, see my LinkedIn post.