Now, I have never been a good student per say, but I love learning. A subject I especially have difficulty with, is math. I could never seem to pay attention, and was too shy to ask questions to the grouchy old teacher with the monotonous voice. I cant entirely be angry with my math teachers for not pushing me to pay attention or even being enthusiastic at all about teaching me, as I have them to thank for beginning to draw. I began to doodle in the margins of my notes in math class constantly.IMG_0035 “Cesselie! Pay attention and stop drawing!” And I’d snap my notebook closed and point my head back up. But the more they told me to stop, the more I wanted to draw. To have control of something and create felt like a stress reliever too. Starting from 6th grade, I earned mostly passing grades, but excelled more and more each year in the arts. So much so that I achieved 1st place every consecutive year until my senior year of high school. In 6th grade, i started off with tiny doodles on copy paper I stole from the teachers fax machine. Cartoon kitties, clouds, bubbles, and cutesy designs were what took up the pages at first, while using a gross old pencil I would find off classroom floors or teachers pens. Then I took an actual art class in middle school. It was so different to have a happy teacher who encouraged everyone and let us be creative. This teacher really inspired me with her positivity. It fueled my passion and I always put my heart into whatever project we made to take home to mom and dad. I didn’t think much of myself, and certainly didn’t believe I was a good artist at all, I just made stuff that made my dad go “Aw how cute she thinks she’s an artist.” But in that class in 8th grade, I started to see I had potential. To elaborate, the teacher gave us an assignment to draw this old and withered eye with charcoal. I began and finished it quickly, and felt badly of it when I Loobegan to compare it to others. The next day, to our surprise, the teacher strung all of our drawings up on the wall, and since most of our names were at the back, it was partly anonymous. Every one was oozing with phrases like “ooh that one is cool!” and “Wow so good!”. Iwas the same, looking at one of them that looked so realistic. The teacher came beside us and told us that her lesson was showing us a different perspective on our art. What I didn’t know was that the one everyone was idolizing was mine.“What? No it cant be there must have been a mistake I don’t remember doing it like that”, I remember saying to my teacher Mrs. Fennell. But turning the drawing over there it was, my name badly scrawled by my hand. Having that good feeling of accomplishment gave me love for art. From then on I practiced everyday, and used whatever i could and whenever to improve myself. I bought myself my first cheap sketchbook from the dollar store, and always used sharpies. Drawing cringey anime was my starting point, and then I went on to observing the people who sat around me and drawing them or their hands. Ignoring the math lesson was bad, but now the teacher thought I was weird because I was staring at my hand trying to get the wrinkles and folds just right. It was like I found my calling. Not only did art begin to give me a confidence boost, but it began to give me the best memories and friends. I learned to be everyone’s friend, whether it be an old woman in the park violin trying to guess my talent (she thought I was a singer), a boy alone in the park again with his dog (turned out to be a 22 year old man, we’re still great friends), or a special needs kid who I loved to praise his drawings of his favorite cartoons because I remembered being in his shoes starting out.IMG_0034 Learning art takes discipline, as it is like a muscle. Without practice,it will fade and you’ll lose all the progress you made. Being an artist is more than just drawing. You need time, and motivation, but that is the only criteria. You definitely don’t need anything fancy like gouache or expensive paper, that’s just something to indulge in. What I also love about it is that anyone can be an Artist! It doesn’t matter if your skinny or fat, tall or short, old or young, girl or boy, it isn’t a god given talent that goes to the worthy no matter what anyone says (for example Hitler was an artist, upon being discouraged he began to pursue the military career). Its something anyone can work for as no one is born with that talent. Hearing someone say “Man I wish I could draw” urkes me, because anyone can do it. It is nice however to have someone’s support and belief that you can do it. But it is important to believe in yourself. Another inspiration I had was my family. There were artists in my family, but no one with serious careers as one, it was mostly a hobby like my dad. He always had his drawings of motorcycles and cars framed in his office, “Look Mija, I did that in Highschool.” He would say proudly. Or like my older sister, who pursued it in high school but never went beyond that. I remember going into her room and seeing her paintings and absolutely being in love with them and loving and idolizing my big sister even more. “I wanna be just like conchita” I would say to my mom while we looked at the paintings she did of her and her friends. Having inspiration like that is important too, as it encourages everyone to improve on. Using all of that info, I became the artist that I am proud to be today. And I still give my mom all my random projects just like those days in 6th grade (Sometimes she even steals them).