Abbie’s Artwork

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When does a child’s artwork become “art”?

I was dwelling on this question as I put together some of my daughter’s artwork to post here. My daughter Abbie, now 10, has been drawing, sculpting, creating for as long as she’s been old enough to hold a pencil. People see her draw, and they say, “Oh, how talented!” But she and I both know that it’s not merely talent; it’s also because she works hard.

Abbie has a deep-seated passion for art. That’s why she spends untold hours drawing and re-drawing the same sketch, until it’s finally how she wants it—or at least good enough to have shown progress. That’s why she get excited whenever she learns of a new technique, or a new form, something she hasn’t tried before, and she has to go off and create a dozen picture using that technique.

I remember when she and I together rediscovered old adventure games, displayed in that old, blocky, 320×240-pixel screen resolution. She went through a phase where she would create pictures by coloring small, solid blocks—pixels—on a paper. And she got pretty darn good at it, too.

At this rate, if it takes 10 years of practice to become an expert in something, then Abbie will be an expert artist by the time she enters high school. That’s passion.

I usually only share her artwork with people I actually know (on Facebook). But today, I thought I’d put together a short video featuring her artwork. Everything you see here Abbie herself created from the ground up—with one exception, the cat, which Abbie drew and Margaret colored. And the more creative concepts were all hers, such as the picture of Lessette, her first betta fish, made out of toothpicks; or the sculpture of a chapel, made out of erasers. Other ideas were clearly borrowed, such as the cast of characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender. But all the pictures were drawn freehand; that is, none were traced.