I am one of the many people who love Lilla Rogers, if you are an artist, you have no doubt heard of her, and if you love well designed products and illustrations, you have very likely seen her work or the work she represents as a top artist agent out in the marketplace. She’s sort of an icon really. I have her book, I Just Like To Make Things (I highly recommend it) and also took one of her online classes last year (which I also highly recommend – it’s so worth the investment if you are a professional or have hopes to learn how to become one).
Anyway, one of the many things I learned in her e-course is something unrelated to the business of art but so relevant in my life right now. She told a story of how when she was a little girl who very clearly loved to draw and create, she pointed out to her mother how she didn’t like how some of her artwork didn’t seem to look perfect. He mother responded with the genius answer, “That’s just your style. That’s just how you make art and it’s beautiful.” *
My son has a best friend who is very gifted in making representational art. Last year they were playing at our house one day and I was blown away by what his friend had made for our fridge. I guess I made a big deal about how much I loved it and what a great artist he is, because after he left, my own little guy said something that broke my heart as he held up his drawing for me to see, “Mommy, I’m not a very good artist.”
I knew exactly why he had said it and I was thankful to have Lilla’s story come to mind as I found the essence of the words of her mother coming out of me. I think the words of wisdom and truth stuck with him because I haven’t noticed an insecurity there since then. He draws all the time and is always writing and illustrating his own books. He and his little friend are still the best of buddies; they play Star Wars, Lone Ranger, and can draw their own comic books together all day long if we let them. He loves his friend’s art, but also loves his own. I can see how they inspire and encourage each other (between fake shooting storm troopers of course). It’s amazing to see that in a friendship even at a young age.
The point for kids to know (and us grown ups too!) is that we all are given our own set of talents. We are all unique and gifted in different ways. Let’s root for each other, be inspired by one another, and be thankful enough for our gifts to use them.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
– John Wooden
*Paraphrased, I can’t remember the exact wording in Lilla’s story, but the essence has stayed with me.