Creating an imaginary world where his children’s drawings become reality, creator of Instagram account @thingsihavedrawn
—who took over Gucci’s Instagram Stories account for the Fall Winter 2020 Men’s show—Tom Curtis, unveils the secret of his inspiration.
How did @thingsihavedrawn come to life?
When you’re a parent, and you yourself have a job as a creative, and you’ve been doing creative things all your life, it's almost inevitable that you’ll be on the lookout for ways that your kids can get involved, join you on your creative journey, or generally just be creative themselves.
Luckily, young kids are unashamedly creative, not worrying what people think of their weird and wonderful creations.
One day I noticed a picture that my older son, Dom (then about five), had done of an animal, and wondered if he really thought the eyes, nose and mouth were all on the same side of the animal's head. It’s how most kids draw animals, I realised. Then I thought - what if the kids are right, and it’s us stupid adults not looking hard enough. So, I thought it might be a good idea to test out what Dom’s drawings might look like in real life, sticking very much to the form he composed.
I started with a portrait he’d done of me, which wasn’t out of narcissism, more because it was really easy to take the photos I needed. I shared the resulting image on Twitter - my brother liked it - and so I did more. A few months later I started posting pictures to Instagram as @thingsihavedrawn
and its been onwards and upwards ever since. How does your family inspire your works?
Many kids, particulate young ones, don’t need to be encouraged to be creative, but I think it’s important to make sure they have all the access they need to be so. Not with tablets or phones, but with pens, pencils and paper. Once you start seeing them scribble away, it’s not hard to be inspired by their unabashed imagination, as long as you choose, yourself, to think of it that way. Don’t take it at face value: “it’s an elephant that looks like it was done by a child”. Look at it as a step on their creative journey. Notice how they’re learning and changing their style every time they draw. Appreciate how their view of the world changes as they grow up. These are the ways I consider my boys’ artwork and it’s pretty hard not to continue being inspired by it. Could you tell us the story behind the creative process for your works?
With Things I Have Drawn everything starts with the kids' drawings. Whether they’re done from memory or from looking at something in real life, it’s vital that the drawing is the child’s own creation. I tend not to use drawings they’ve copied from books - and especially not ‘how to draw’ books - as that skews their own interpretations and limits their imagination.
Once I have their drawing, I’ll try to take photos of the real subject matter, if possible, from a number of angles. Then it’s all about the photo editing, the more complicated the drawing the longer the edit takes.