Whenever a friend’s birthday arises, I enter a state of panic. I am the only artist among my friends so I am expected to draw a portrait with my graphics tablet for a present and, normally, that is what I end up attempting. I sit down at my desk, cluttered with empty water bottles, deformed Pepsi cans, and numerous used sketchbooks that have yet to be filled. I turn on my computer with various memos stuck to the side. I log into a popular website and begin using the drawing application. I’m restricted to 216 colors, many of which do not blend the way I want due to the poor opacity settings. There are nine levels of line weight, yet none of them are the size I want. Irritated, I stretch my arms, crack my knuckles, and pop open a low resolution photo reference. I mutter, “What a pain,” and begin. Being the lone artist in a sea of non-artists, nobody around me can truly understand how much effort I put into my artwork.
Although my family has always believed that I possess some innate talent, I believe otherwise. It was a strange twist of fate that I suddenly became entwined with art as I always dreamed of becoming a dentist. The instant I entered art class, all I have ever done was put all my effort behind each of my drawings. Art became a means to test myself creatively as opposed to the tedious, academic testing that the other subjects share. I wanted to see the peaks of my limits, how far I could push myself, how far I could improve myself in a matter of days, weeks, months. The changes in my coloring, the direction and weight of my lines, and other details that the me of the past would never have noticed are now clearer than ever before. My friends would question why I would put so much time and effort into a portrait. I would never be able to forgive myself if I were to give anything less than my best. What was a fifteen minute doodle quickly became a two hour drawing. My lines gradually evolved from the loose stroke into tightly refined ones. My direction in life also progressed in a similar manner, where I am confident in what I want to do and am no longer wandering around aimlessly. I gave into my desire to pursue a career in art.
With art, I am able to express myself, no matter how subtly. Each nicely done stroke shows thought and consideration. The overworking of paint and rough texture show my frustration and desire to free myself of stress. The delicate pen marks reveal my careful nature. As I finish, my charcoal covered hands and my smile are signs of my patience and a job well done. As I work on my artwork, I am diligently pouring my soul into it. When I display my art, I feel as if I am sharing my feelings and experiences.
After spending two hours and sixteen minutes working on a miniscule 315 by 147 pixel image, I wonder to myself, “Was that worth all that effort?” Hours later, when I receive a small thank you note, I think to myself, definitely.