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RE: my favourite thing: a drawing by 14-year-old me

By MattReilly

This is my favourite thing.


It's a picture of a tiger and its baby that I drew for my mum.


I used to love drawing. My favourite lesson at school was art. I drew from the age of about 5 years old until I was 16 years old. I mainly loved drawing cartoon characters: some copied, some original. I used to be able to draw Tintin from memory. 


I drew the tiger and its baby for my mum. She loved the stuff I drew. She had a creative side too, that she never really got to use. She'd doodle while talking on the phone, but not much else. My dad was a professional photographer, so you can see where my creativity stems from.


Anyway, I drew the tiger picture for my mum, and she kept it safe. It was a thumbnail photograph, about one inch x two inches, in a wildlife book we had. I drew it A4 size.


I think I was about 14 or so when I did it. Maybe 15. Which means the picture is 20 years old or more (I'm 35 now). I think it's still the best thing I've ever drawn yet. There are some things that the adult me would change about it - the tiger's legs are too skinny and the body's too big. But the adult me is a perfectionist, where the teenage me was more of a do-er.


So I drew the picture, and continued on with art classes.


Then a few bad things happened in my life.


1) I failed art. Badly. Not for lack of trying, just because of a very bad teacher. She didn't like my work, a lot of which was cartoon-y. And she managed to lose my file of two years' worth of prep work that related to my final exam. Without that prep work, I was doomed to a lower mark. In the end I got an F in my art GCSE (the British exams taken at 16 years old). Overnight I stopped drawing. I don't know if it was shock, rebellion or what, but I no longer felt like drawing. 


2) My parents died. My mum died in 1996: I was 18, and mum was just 48 years old. She died of liver failure. Three years later, in 1999, my dad died aged just 57. He died of heart failure. 


When my dad died, my brother and I asked an uncle to clear out the house and chuck away most of the stuff. We were in shock, so we didn't really think about going through the stuff that was there and keeping any of it. It's a shame, because there was some nice stuff of my mum and dad's that I'd like to have kept. But we were young and reckless, so most of it just went into a skip to be junked without us being present.


It was a few years later that I came across the tiger picture. I thought the picture was lost with the things that got binned from our house. But I was really happy when I came across it, pressed flat in a book for safekeeping, amongst a pile of documents from our old house. 


It's nice to have a picture that I drew from when I loved drawing so much I couldn't spend a day without doodling. It's also nice to have a thing - a keepsake - that reminds me of my mum, and that was kept safe by my mum and then my dad.


If anyone feels like using the image in any way, please feel free. While the original has huge sentimental value to me, I've loaded a photo of it up here so that anyone can use it in any way they see fit.


Sorry that it's just a photo rather than a scan. I'll look at investing in a scanner when I have some money, but I'm a teensy bit broke at the moment, so a photo will have to do for now. If anyone needs it photographing in a different way, let me know.


Matt :)


 

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RE: my favourite thing: a drawing by 14-year-old me

Created: May 30, 2013

Tags: doodle, vertical, colouring pencil, drawing, pencil, nature, photograph, high-res, portrait, color, sketch

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