Archive for September, 2012

The Shoes

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Pencil Sketches, Portraits

Before going to Kenya I decided to commemorate the trip by purchasing a pair of red Toms and drawing on them.  It was the natural thing to do.  Here are the Toms:

While tree planting with my team I was privileged enough to meet Robin Wiszowaty, author or My Maasai Life.  Robin has been working with Free the Children for a decade now, seeking out the work in international development after she spent a year living with a Maasai family.  I took the liberty of introducing myself to Robin, as I had read her book before embarking on the trip.  Not long into the conversation Robin noticed my shoes.  Her excitement and awe over the illustrations is very difficult to describe in words.  She couldn’t stop expressing her amazement over the detail on the giraffe and the accuracy in the map.  Nearly right away she commissioned me to draw her something.

Upon my return I picked up her book once again and glanced through the photos located in the center.  A photo that struck me while reading it struck me again.  This is what I was going to draw her:

Robin’s story of her experience in the Masai Mara is inspiring, funny, insightful and beautiful.  I was thrilled to draw her something upon her request.  I have mailed this drawing to the Toronto location of Free the Children.  Robin will be touring Canada (she lives full time in Kenya) while speaking on the Me to We tour.  I’m excited for this drawing to find her!



The Talent Show

Posted: September 8, 2012 in Pen Sketches, Portraits

I recently went on a trip to Kenya with an organization called Free the Children.  My small group in this big organization decided to have a talent show on one of our last nights.

I made some amazing connections while I was there, mainly with the locals.  One of the people I met is Jacob, our Maasai Warrior Guide.  Jacob was there for us to pepper with questions whenever we felt the need to ask.  I learned more from Jacob than anyone else on the trip.  Jacob told us all about agriculture and types of trees in the Mara that are used for different things.  Among these trees we learned about a bush that is used as a natural bug repellent – popular with the animals.  Jacob also taught us about Maasai culture and certain rights of passages that are completed by the boys as they grow up.

Jacob was very inspiring and an incredible human being.  He loves his family tremendously and treated us with respect, care and love.  When it came time for the talent show I knew I wanted to draw a portrait of someone on the trip.  I managed to get a fabulous photo of Jacob just after he had beat someone at a game called Sumo Slaps.  He was quite proud of himself and flashed a huge smile.  Snap!  Got it!  Drew it for the talent show:

Unfortunately I’m an idiot and didn’t listen to anyone when I was told 100 times to bring my pencils and sketch book.  I figured this would be unwanted weight and space-taker-upers when I will only use it maybe once.  Considering I was tool-less I took a pen used for my journal and begged one of our facilitators for some blank paper.

It all turned out in the end.  When I presented the photo at the talent show four girls burst into tears and Jacob himself, tough Maasai Warrior fought the emotion of such a gift.

Jacob told one of my friends later in the night that he planned on keeping the drawing his whole life.