Saturday, February 11, 2012


"Art has never been a popularity contest" --- James Levine

pencil and watercolor in the Moleskine

This week's Illustration Friday on Saturday prompt is "popularity". 

Yesterday, I blogged about the local alternative high school.  When I saw the prompt, I thought of those students and drew this representative - most often, not of the popular crowd at their traditional schools.

Popularity is a trait that requires its opposite to exist.  The popular kids in school automatically create the unpopulars.  But some of these "misfit" kids, I think, are proud misfits. 

A few years ago, I had a coworker who was worried about her teenaged son.  He was rebellious and not happy at school.  She was stressing and considering trying to get him into the alternative high school.  Later, in an unrelated conversation, it somehow came up that I enjoyed doing artwork in my spare time and looking at other ameteur artwork. 

The day after that conversation, she brought in some drawings her "troubled" son had created.  They were absolutely BEAU-tiful!  He had been adopted from Russia, and in his spare time, he liked to design FabergĂ© eggs.  

I'd never met her son, and prior to that, all I knew about him is that he didn't like school and that his mom was worried about him.  That day she showed me the drawings, however, she was like a different person, full of mom pride. 

Many of the kids at that school are artistically inclined - some maybe approaching genius realm.  And no, they don't particularly fit in with the popular crowd at a traditional high school. 

I confess that, to me, that's part of what makes them so cool.


Rod MacGregor said...

I agree with the quote! Nice sketch great perspective!

agg79 said...

Great sketch. I agree a lot of those alternative kids are unique, but not necessarily in a bad way. We all march to the tune of a different drummer.

ShadowRun300 said...

Awesome sketch... even awesome-er story about the high schooler. I think my boys all felt like misfits because they loved to read, draw and play music, and everyone else in their very small classes played sports. I was thrilled when they entered high school and were introduced to a bigger group of kids. They were able to find friends with interests similar to theirs. And I happen to think that my kids are the cool ones. :)

Cindy D. said...

Wow, great perspective and I really love those boots! She definitely looks like a cool girl to know.

The whole question of education in this country is terribly depressing. A lot of other countries have much better models. They aren't cutting education budgets and teacher salaries left and right, and of course they still have arts education.

Shawnte said...

Very nice sketch! I am kind of thankful today that I was not a popular kid back in school. From what I know now, all of the popular kids in my high school are either strung out on drugs or are in and out of prison. This probably isn't the case everywhere but it is here x.x.

Rabbit Town Animator said...

Great drawing and it sound like the son has some awesome talent. I totally agree about your thoughts on popularity. That said I always veered towards the more unconventional groups.

Mary Lou Rosato-Caine said...

I like your drawing very much, especially the tone of the piece.
Good read as always!

Adrienne said...

Thanks for a very interesting post. Now I'm very curious to see the Faberge eggs designed by your co-worker's son.

terri said...

It's great that the alternative school gives some kids a better option for getting through the high school years without so much angst. I expressed interest in such an option for my son a few years ago. The counselor at the high school discouraged it. Apparently our alternative schools are sort of a last resort and are filled with really troubled kids.

Spiral Teacups said...

I like your interpretation of the theme, fabulous drawing too!

theodraws said...

Fantastic illustration and a beautiful story, too. I'm sure most of us on Illustration Friday can relate to your post. Creative children are traditionally non-conformist by nature, and thus generally not in the popular group. Great work!

AHAviews said...

Love the angle, the boots, the posture. When you mention the boy liked to design Faberge eggs, I imagine a whole world into which he could pour his mind, enclosed in the shell of a perfect egg.