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When Oscar first was handed a pen at about 14 months, he held it with a perfect two-finger grip, instinctually. He started making circles and spirals by about 18 months. Oscar’s OT pointed out that this is somewhat unusual. Then, at two and a half, Oscar shocked us when he drew this self-portrait. Unprompted, entirely of his own volition. We immediately found a spare frame and hung it in the kitchen.
Several months later, still not yet three years old, completely out of the blue (literally and figuratively) one day, Oscar stunned us again with this drawing of “Cape Man,” a made-up superhero based on a small action figure-like toy he had seen at a friend’s house a few months prior. These two drawings were exceptions to the rule. He regularly drew pretty cool “designs” but not necessarily reacognizable, representative drawings.
Recently, however, this boy is surprising us on a weekly, if not daily basis, with his drawings. He’s working with an art therapist who says he draws at about the level of a seven year old. His service coordinator noted today that he has developed a real style to his work. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but when she said that it rang true. Often, when Oscar is drawing, if we try to ask him a question he says very pointedly, “I’m concentrating!” (subtext: Don’t talk to me and please leave me alone). Check out some of his newer work:
And here’s the artist at work one sunny afternoon recently:
In this next drawing, the blue is a monster. The red is a scene from Finding Nemo, which he watched for the first time in the hospital in January. We recently borrowed it from his cousins and after watching the scene in the dentist office he decided he did not like the movie any more and we should give it right back. This is the dentist office scene that he did not like. For several days after he drew it, he refused to look at it or talk about it.
Some superheroes for cousin Emily’s birthday (he even wrote his name sideways in green-the “S” on top was the first S he made and he decided it didn’t really look like an S so he needed to rewrite it below the O):
Oscar drew Teeth Man, another superhero, when he came to work with me for about an hour one day last week. A co-worker and I were talking and Oscar was sitting quietly and intently drawing. Suddenly in the middle of drawing he looked up and looked right at me and said, “I like being with you.” I nearly melted.
I love that when Oscar draws in pen, he draws minute details. Sometimes he spends a long time on the details and then he colors them in, coloring over them completely, so they are indiscernible. We have to be mindful of what we take away from him to save and what we allow him to keep working on as long as he wants to. His process is important to him, but sometimes to “save” the artwork, we decide when it’s finished. He’s filled a notebook and a half since the beginning of the year and that doesn’t include all the drawing he’s done on loose pages.
Oscar drew this yesterday, while I was at Wegmans. I don’t know what this kid is going to do next. But I do know we need some picture frames and some nails. We have plenty of wall space. We’ll just have to designate an Oscar gallery.