The ugly duckling: Where it all started

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. Can the same be said for an artist?

The first signs of quacking started pretty early on for me. As a child, I used my Dad's leather-bound Roberts Bird Guide to source reference material. We recently visited my mom in Kimberley, and I dug up some of my childhood drawings.

Seeing them was surreal... They reminded me of my late dad, who was always my top supporter, but didn't live to see me becoming a professional artist. I can still hear him telling me that a real artist always signs their work with their name and the date. I then continued to not only add my name and the date, but also my age, the day of the week and sometimes even my school class as well!

It was also fascinating to see how many of the same birds and animals I revisited as an adult, completely forgetting that the "matching" childhood drawing exists.

It dawned on me -- this is where it started... Looking at my childhood drawings, it seemed so obvious that this would be the path I would end up on, and yet it took almost three decades for me to realise that I wanted to be an artist.

(Ah, the cruel clarity of Retrospect...!)

I still experience the same child-like joy while painting that I did back then, sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet. My mom is still the first person I share my latest projects with (and aside from all my childhood drawings, she is certainly the biggest collector of my adult works!). To this day, I just love signing a completed piece (although I no longer add my age - a lady does not divulge such personal details!).

I guess that makes me a quack. I mean, a duck...!

Here are a few of my favourites from my childhood stash, some alongside their grown-up buddies:

childhood drawing of robin-chat the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of hippopotamus the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of mouse bird the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of owl the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of giraffe the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of crimson breasted shrike the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of elephants the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of secretary bird the happy struggling artist

childhood drawing of raptor the happy struggling artist

See my "grown-up" work in my online shop here:



Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published