My son Jules woke up on Christmas last year and started drawing. He was 2. (His birthday is in March.)
Inspired by Sylvia Fein’s book Heidi’s Horse, which collects her daughters drawings from toddler to teenage years, I thought it’d be interesting to see how his drawings developed over the next 12 months.
From the very beginning, he has had unlimited, unrestricted access to markers and paper. From the very beginning, he has often drawn for over an hour, becoming extremely angry if we interrupt him. Here is a batch of skeletons — his great subject!
Here are some skeletons he drew on our outdoor couch cushions with sidewalk chalk.
They were so good we couldn’t bear to clean them off, so my wife got out her sewing machine and embroidered them. (This is how Jules got Boing Boing’d at age 3.)
Here he is drawing along to Super Simple Draw in a hotel room.
Here’s a robot copied from Super Simple Draw. (Later in the year he would become fond of Ed Emberley books.)
Here he is in April, drawing along to Kraftwerk videos while singing “Man Machine” at the top of his lungs.
In May, he started drawing his favorite nursery rhymes. (Here are Jack & Jill.)
His drawings got incredibly gestural and emotional around this time.
Here he is copying Mo Willems’ pigeon. (Here’s his brother’s blog post about it.)
Later in the month, he drew our family as skeletons at the pool. I became fascinated by how he would draw people in his life using the moves he picked up drawing other characters.
Here’s another drawing of us in the pool.
Here he is with his brother drawing side by side.
July was also the month he got obsessed with The Scream.
Here’s a drawing he made after going to the dentist.
He also started drawing the characters from a Coco coloring book, even though he still refuses to watch the movie again, and screams whenever I mention it. (When you draw things, you’re in control of them.)
He also started drawing the human body.
Here is a photo of our kitchen floor on a day in September, to give you an idea of what one day’s worth of drawings looked like.
My wife and I would sweep them up with a broom at the end of the day.
This is around the time I got so fed up with the boys one afternoon I made the (extremely questionable) decision to read them Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. (He can now draw the whole book from memory.)
Drawings of musicians — his other great subject!
A drawing from life made while waiting for his brother to finish art class at Laguna Gloria.
Finally, here he is on December 30, a year and 5 days after picking up his marker, drawing along to YouTube videos of Orchestras playing Benjamin Britten’s “A Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra.”
I find it remarkable, at this point, how drawing for him still has nothing to do with the results. He does not care what you do with his drawings after he’s done making them. How he draws is intense and adorable at the same time: he will put down a few lines, and then stand back and shake while he admires them.
I find it endlessly fascinating watching him draw. And inspiring.