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I was visiting with Ashley Saturday evening and we had been just sort of doing nothing, just talking and joking.  She had had a stressful day and began doodling with pen and paper.  I learnt that she does that sometimes as a stress reliever, as I use writing for the same thing.

Anyway, she was just doing caricatures and I suggested that she draw the image of her cat, Bella.  She was in a silly mood by then and drew a highly stylized image, after the fold.  

Here is the sketch that she drew.  The kicker is that she went from a blank piece of paper to the completed sketch in under four minutes.  It would take me twice that long to TRACE that picture.


She knew that this was not representative of her better work, so she decided to draw an imaginary plant.  Once again, it took her less than four minutes to draw this, with only an imaginary image in her brain from which to work.


I think that this is remarkable.  Imagine if she had taken ten or 15 minutes to draw it carefully!  This was just a fast sketch, and I could not come close to anything like it to save me, except to trace it.

That gave me an idea.  I went outside and cut a small piece of Euonymus
vine that is just now setting seed (the decorative part of that plant is the seed pod, white in this specimen, and the highly colored drupes (seed coats), crimson in this specimen.  Here is a picture of the actual specimen.  I took it tonight, so the leaves are a bit dried out compared to Saturday.


I apologize for the blur in the picture; my camera was running out of battery and I had only one shot.  Here is her rendition of it, once again in only about four minutes, and that included studying it long enough to get its image into her mind's eye.


Is it just me, because I am so fond of her (and not draw a straight line without a ruler), or does she really have artistic talent?  I think that it is more or the latter, but the former is always a possibility.  You have to remember that all three of these sketches were completed in 12 minutes or probably even less.

If I am correct, she may have real career possibilities in commercial artwork, not to mention her own creations.  I know that in many cases, particularly in botany, that line drawings are easier than photographs to emphasize the unique points that separate one species from another, closely related, one.

I left her attributes on the drawings, so the copyrights to them belong to her.  Please let me know your thoughts about the quality of her work.  I think that it is remarkably good, especially considering how fast she did them, just sitting on the couch, with a throwaway ball point pen, plain printer paper, and not the best of lighting.

Oh, I did not mention that she has never had any kind of a formal art class, so what she did was innate to her, not learnt.  Imagine if she were to take a couple of classes!  On the other hand, sometimes formal instruction restricts the flow of raw talent, so that might be self defeating.  I just wish that I could draw half that well.

What do you think?

Warmest regards,


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and recs for (4+ / 0-)

    recognizing raw talent?

    Warmest regards,


    I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

    by Translator on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:49:58 PM PST

  •  Certainly more talent than I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As it turns out, I've been surrounded by quite a bit of art, plus I've commissioned some small pieces once or twice.

    I like these 4 ways to expand her talent.  (some of these may overlap)

    1. Draw what thrills you
    2. Draw what others like (especially if they pay you)
    3. Draw what the instructor tells you  (this may be useful when you are an artist for consumer product user manuals or for biological drawings for textbooks)
    4. Draw with different brushes, pens, crayon, charcoal

    Now, how to draw.   Here's one method

    1. the quickest sketch --- take 15-30 seconds to draw that plant.    About 5-10 lines.    This gets you the bones of the plant.   (note:  this is not about speed....   this is about the base structure of what you draw)
    2. shading.   One method is to do only 1 color shading.   After a bone sketch (black ink), then pick another color to be your shade color.   (blue, red, green, yellow etc)

    Then ask your audience, did you get the picture ?   Emotion, the clarity or fogginess or semantic distotion you want ?


    When I was searching for artists to commission a piece, I looked at the bones.   The more styles of bones you can do, the more flexible you are.   The shading is the easy part.


    Works which are off-center are more intriguing to me.


    One must eventually decide the purpose of the work.

    Intrigue, communicative, historical, illustrative, comical, experimental, soothing, inspiring, disturbing.   Choose one or two of those.    Today we were fun and experimental.

    Show us more art !!   The more the better.  I'm looking forward to it.  

    •  Thank you very much for the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      professional analysis!  As I said, I can not draw a straight line without a ruler.  I think that she has talent, and shall show this to her upon her return.

      Warmest regards,


      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 07:08:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have saved the link for this diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for an ongoing commentary.

        Three more things --

        when the emotion strikes, start drawing.   Anger, joy, sarcasm, serenity.  

        and keep a sketchpad near the bed at all times.  and OPEN to a blank page.

        I've seen artists with a dozen sketchbooks, but they didn't shade the work.   Maybe the sketchbook is just practice for the real thing.    But I would have liked to see some shading even if just practice.   So, keep more than just black nearby.

        good luck

        •  My sketchbook is HERE! (0+ / 0-)

          As you probably have surmised, I can not draw with lines and curves, but rather with words and ideas.  Sometimes I wonder which kind of communication is more expressive.  I just know that prose works the best for me, and I keep with it.  I have tried some poetry, but I am not very good at it.

          Thank you again for the advise and the kind words!

          Warmest regards,


          I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

          by Translator on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 07:26:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  With training and practice, ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    good things might come.  We're talking about the daughter, not the mother, right?

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

    by Neuroptimalian on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:17:58 AM PST

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