Writing Tips

A Detour from the writing journey

By Regina Montana

    In 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing and I was watching two of my grandchildren, I had the opportunity of eavesdropping on my granddaughter’s third grade virtual art class.  Her teacher was praising each of her students and telling them how beautiful their pictures were.  It was an experience I never had growing up in classes of 50 students.  I was quite delighted to see how my granddaughter was enjoying the encouragement of her teacher and how she continues to thrive and paint amazing pictures to this day.  Soon after that I heard about a book called How to Draw Without Talent by Danny Gregory.  I wondered if I could try my hand at some illustrations during a dry spell of writing that I was going through. I had heard about how veering off into other aspects of creativity can actually strengthen one’s present endeavors.  I had nothing to lose.  And so I started to draw with colored pencils, acrylics and finally some watercolors.  My family bombarded me during the holidays with gifts related to painting.  I didn’t have the heart to say I was just a beginner and that this new hobby probably wouldn’t last.  They knew that writing picture books and poetry were my main goals.  I was totally unprepared for some of the lovely comments I received while doing my sketches.  My husband would ask every night after arriving home from work, “Do any painting today?”  After showing him a few things, he would always remark, “Those are very good.”

    Even though I was sketching the pictures from existing pages and following guidelines in the book, I still felt creative.  And I was proud of the outcomes.  I never thought I could ever draw.  After writing a poem about the Painted Bunting, a magnificent multi-colored bird, I did an illustration of one and have attached it, along with some other pictures I drew of some birds, one of which is included in Danny Gregory’s book.  I highly recommend this book if anyone reading this article has ever been tempted to draw or feels they have no talent.  I think back to the day I overheard the wonderful voice of my granddaughter’s art teacher urging her students onward in their creative journey. As an 8-year-old I know I would have thought very differently about how creative I was.  I truly believe we are all creative when given the opportunity or desire to find out where our gifts lie.  I also feel that painting and drawing have helped me see my stories in a different light along with helping me visualize my characters and their journeys. 

Parrot from How to Draw without Talent

American Robin

Painted Bunting

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