When I was around 10, my eye caught those little Draw Me! School ads in my American Girl magazines, enticing me to replicate the pen and ink drawing of Tippy the Turtle or the Pirate. I practiced on him a few times.

The call to action was to submit your drawings for a chance to win a scholarship to their art correspondence institution. One of the professional artists who reviewed the submissions was none other than Minneapolis native Charles M. Schulz.

Luckily, my mother recognized my intense interest in drawing and enrolled me and my twin into our west side’s community art classes around this time, where we mostly drew layered geometric shapes over and over in black crayon on newspaper.

My extracurricular colored pencil and pastel drawings were shared with the class, like my Still Life with Pewter Pitcher and Grapes, faithfully replicated from one of the fancy instructional booklets from our local hobby shop that I had saved my babysitting money to purchase.

The teacher used that little piece of work as an example to the class, but admonished privately, quietly advising that my grapes needed some shading and in the advanced class she could teach me how to do that.

I was hooked on drawing from there on out.