She Draws The Faces And Lets Her 4 Year-Old Daughter Do The Rest. I Love This!

April 26, 2015

Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist, but also the mother of a 4 year-old daughter. One day, while her daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, she pulled out a new sketchbook she special ordered and began drawing.

As soon as she finished drawing her first face (she loves drawing people from old black and white movie stills) her daughter had swooped over asking if she could draw with her. Mica tried to tell her it was a special sketchbook just for her, only to hear back, "If you can't share, we might have to take it away if you can't share."

"Oh no she didn't! Girlfriend was using my own mommy-words at me!" Mica writes on her blog.

Ss she decided to comply, allowing her to draw the body for the woman's face. The result?

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

By Mica Angela Hendricks for Busy Mockingbird:

Not surprisingly, I LOVED what she drew. I had drawn a woman's face, and she had turned her into a dinosaur-woman. It was beautiful, it was carefree, and for as much as I don't like to share, I LOVED what she had created. Flipping through my sketchbook, I found another doodle of a face I had not yet finished. She drew a body on it, too, and I was enthralled. It was such a beautiful combination of my style and hers. And she LOVED being a part of it. She never hesitated in her intent. She wasn't tentative. She was insistent and confident that she would of course improve any illustration I might have done. And the thing is, she DID.

Soon, she began flipping through my sketchbook, looking for more heads. "Do you have any heads for me today?"  she would ask me each morning. So I began making a point at night to draw some faces for her (which was my pleasure–faces are my favorite part, anyway). She would then pick up a pen with great focus, and begin to draw. Later, I would add color and highlights, texture and painting, to make a complete piece. Sometimes she filled in the solid areas with colored markers, but I would always finish with acrylics later on my own.

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

Sometimes I would give her suggestions, like "maybe she could have a dragon body!" but usually she would ignore theses suggestions if it didn't fit in with what she already had in mind. But since I am a grownup and a little bit (okay a lot) of a perfectionist, I sometimes would have a specific idea in mind as I doodled my heads. Maybe she could make this into a bug! I'd think happily to myself as I sketched, imagining the possibilities of what it could look like. So later, when she'd doodle some crazy shape that seemed to go in some surrealistic direction, or put a large circle around the creature and filled the WHOLE THING in with marker, part of my brain would think, What is she DOING?!? She's just scribbling it all up! But I should know that in most instances, kids' imaginations way outweigh a grownup's, and it always ALWAYS looked better that what I had imagined. ALWAYS.

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

For example, the filled-in marker of the one [below], she told me, was a chrysalis, for the caterpillar to transform into a butterfly. Of COURSE it is. I never would have thought of that. And that's why kids make awesome artists.

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

collaborating with a 4 year old
Space Beavers? Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

collaborating with a 4 year old
Credit: Mica Angela Hendricks

And from it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.

Credit: Written by Mica Angela Hendricks for her blog Busy Mockingbird. Some of these prints are for sale on Society 6. Stay updated by liking The Busy Mockingbird on Facebook!

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