When I Realized I Didn’t Want to Be a Teacher

My mom is an artist and I have always had a keen eye. I’m not sure if artistic abilities are genetic or not? Is it even possible to get some of your parents’ talent in a particular area but absolutely none of their talent in another?

Why is it that I can draw cartoons, but not people? And don’t even get me started when it comes to drawing or painting anything with dimension or depth. My efforts are laughable at best. Oddly enough, I find that I can draw better upside down. Let me rephrase that. I’m not actually upside down, but I physically draw my subject upside down.

Sometimes you have the trick the mind and its ability to judge. The mind second guesses itself and hampers your ability. Here’s something for you to try the next time you find yourself with some free time and a desire to be creative. Grab one of your kids’ coloring books. If your house is anything like mine, you’ll probably have the best chance of finding a coloring book kicked under a sofa or a coffee table. Why is it that kids can seemingly always find something that you don’t want them to? The irony is that they know where things go, but act like they don’t when you ask them to pick up their toys.

Sorry for the tangent there. I think everyone with kids will understand…

Anyways, you’ve now got your coloring book in hand. Grab a sheet of blank paper and get yourself a pencil. It’s time for an exercise.

Flip through the coloring book and look for a cartoon charter that you wouldn’t mind looking at for a while. Got one? Good. Now take the picture and turn it upside down. Now, I don’t really care where you start, but take your pencil and place it on the blank sheet of paper. Imagine that the lead of your pencil is an ant and the ant is wandering around looking for food. Continue to draw on your paper while looking at the upside-down character from the coloring book. Be thorough and go through the picture line by line always keeping the perspective of being an ant.

When you’ve completed every line, flip your picture over and voilà! Amazing, huh? I bet you never thought that you could draw like that. I guess it just goes to show you just how much your own mind influences your abilities.

I just remembered that this post is all about me realizing that I didn’t want to be a teacher. Then, I go and give you instructions on how to draw a cartoon character by shifting your reference. The right side of the brain is forced to see individual lines, shapes, and spaces instead of the whole picture. The left side of the brain processes visual clues by interpreting them as familiar patterns and symbols. Crazy how a simple reference shift can produce results and confidence so easily.

Back to the original reason that I started this post in the first place.

In 5th grade I went to a school that was just down the street from my house. It was nice being able to walk to school. Times are different now, but now that I’m a parent I can tell you that I’m going to have a hard time letting my kids out of my sight.

The school that I attended was painted in the summer before the start of the school year. Now, the school was an older building that lacked air conditioning. Midwestern summers can be downright miserable because of this nasty little thing called “heat index.” Humidity is not your friend.

So, I’m in art class and the art teacher has the kiln fired up and he’s firing pottery from the previous class. The art room is heating up and we are all starting to sweat like stuck pigs. The art teacher goes over to open up a window to let some air in, only to find out that the window was painted shut and wouldn’t open. He started to pound on the handle of the window with the palm of his hand to try to free the window from the grasp of the paint.

Suddenly, his hand slips when he hit the window latch and his wrist goes straight through the window pane. Broken glass hits the floor and instantly his wrist and the floor is covered in blood. All the students were in a state of shock. Well, all the students except for one.

I hurriedly grabbed a towel by the sink and ran it over to the art teacher. He placed it on his wrist putting pressure on the area. He told me to dial 9-1-1. I ran to the phone on his desk and punched in the numbers. The ambulance and paramedics arrived within minutes and rushed the art teacher to the hospital.

The whole situation scared the crap out of me, but I was intrigued at the same time. I thought medicine would be a fun career path because I was fascinated by the story my art teacher told about his surgery once he returned to teaching.

Years later I was poking around on the internet and did a search for my former art teacher. I found him and interestingly enough, turns out he works for a company that customizes limousines. I thought that was an interesting job transition, but then I started to read up on his bio. He is able to incorporate his design and artistic sense in a way that I never would have guessed. Instead of painting on a physical canvas, the interior of limos are his canvas. He had some pictures up of some of the vehicles that he designed and I was totally blown away.

What a fun an innovative way to take a skill set and apply it to a completely different industry. I never would have imagined that I would view a limo as a piece of art, but that’s exactly what he is able to create.