What I Learned: Travel Sketching

accidental aliens
“Accidental Aliens” by Leon Chan

My heart skipped a beat and my hands got balmy after hearing the words, “Please open your sketchbook and leave it on the table.” Tamara Moan, our art instructor, just asked the class to share their artwork before the conclusion of the first day of class. I looked at my sketches from the day, three out of the four scenes had aliens in them. It wasn’t my intention to draw extraterrestrial figures, the people and statues I drew just happened to look that way. Without a second thought, I picked the sketch that least resembled a sci-fi storyboard and quickly slipped it in with the rest of the drawings.

I stepped back towards the other students and took in everything laid out on the worn wooden desk. I was floored by what I saw; why are these people taking an introductory sketching class? All the artwork displayed (except mine) looked stunning and professionally drawn. I was ashamed of my drawings and tried to get as far away from them as possible; I didn’t want to be associated with those sketches. However, no one said anything negative (to my face) during the impromptu gallery walk and class was over for the day. I was able to stave off death by embarrassment for at least another day. So how did I get myself in this sticky situation?

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Why NineOverFour?

I haven’t had many memorable Valentine’s Days in the first quarter century of my life. There were the ones in elementary school with chalky candy hearts and valentines crafted out of construction paper. In college, there were a handful of singles’ nights involving pizza and poker with the guys. However, Valentine’s Day 2014 blew all the previous ones out of the water because of one particular event. In the following days, I felt like a celebrity in the wake of a revealing scandal. There were paparazzi everywhere; they were stalking outside my office building or hiding in the bushes waiting to ambush me. Everyone wanted to ask me one specific question, “Why 2.25?”

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