Monday, October 26, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions 5

When did you start drawing?

This is in sort of the same category as “Where do you get your ideas?”–it’s one of those questions everyone asks, maybe without really knowing why. From now on when someone asks “When did you start drawing?” I expect I’ll steal Shaun Tan’s excellent answer:

“When did you stop?”

Nearly all kids draw for fun, and their drawings tell stories. We all start out as illustrators, and we all start at about the same age–as soon as we can work a crayon. Most people quit at about the same time too, in their tween years somewhere. I don’t know why people stop–are they distracted by organized sports or hobbies or the opposite sex? Do they stop simply because they aren’t good enough, and in these years we all abandon those activities at which we don’t already excel? I’m asking.

Anyway, Tan’s is the only response that makes sense for a question to which we all already know the answer. It makes sense because it answers the secret question inside the question–“Why can you draw when I can’t?” Because you stopped and I didn’t. This is also why I can’t play guitar or throw a Frisbee.


Jason Michels said...

Huh. I like your comment about the guitar and the frisbee. I said almost exactly the same thing to someone recently. She complimented a collection of my drawings and said it wasn't fair that some people have so much talent and I said, "If you makes you feel better, I can't really throw a football or play any musical instruments." Great minds, I guess.

Unknown said...

Wow, I hate it when people ask me that. Now I know what to say back to them. That is awesome.