Each of us has an itch that needs to be scratched. I may be presuming a lot here, but good hygiene aside, I believe we all have a need—an “itch”—of one sort or another that’s woven into the fabric of who we are. My “itch” happens to be drawing. For as long as I can remember, drawing has been a companion that has entertained me, challenged me and maintained my sanity through the monotony of countless classroom lectures, business meetings and church services.
I suppose my penchant to draw was wired into my psyche from the very beginning, but it was my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Landman, who opened my eyes to the wonders that can occur when crayon meets paper. Each day in her classroom, the very first thing we did was art. She loved art and her enthusiasm for it was contagious—at least to me. So ever since my days in the first grade, I’ve been…itchy.
Throughout my school years I scratched my itch whenever and wherever possible and discovered that drawing actually helped me to be a better listener. Of course, this wonderful side benefit usually wasn’t appreciated—or believed—by most of my teachers. My hopes of going to art school never materialized and I found myself majoring in business and eventually becoming a business person—still plagued by my inescapable itch.
Fast-forward to 2009. I was the editorial director for a publishing company when the economy evaporated my job. My first reflex was to go out and find another corporate position, but before long, that old itch began to redirect my thinking and I realized I finally had the chance to attempt what I had always wanted to do—scratch my itch…full-time.
Today, thanks to Mrs. Landman’s contagious passion for art, along with countless hours of practice and ironically, a job-shattering economic downturn, my livelihood is drawing—specifically, illustrating children’s books. It’s the very thing I had always dreamed of doing…and I’ve got to tell you, it feels great to scratch this itch.
For as long as he can remember, Bruce Arant has had a passion for drawing — and for capturing “the emotion of the moment” to tell a story, with or without words. Bruce’s first picture book, Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep!, will be released in October, 2013 by Peter Pauper Press. Prior to launching Arant Creative Group as a full-time illustrator and editor, Bruce enjoyed a career of nearly 20 years in the magazine and custom publishing industry, where he held a variety of editorial and creative positions in addition to his work as a freelance illustrator.