How Tears Help Wash Away the Pain

How Tears Help Wash Away the Pain

“Quit your crying!”    From the time we were little children, most of our parents told us not to cry when we were hurt. Even if our moms and dads were of the more nurturing nature, the message that is crying is for wimps was reinforced by our classmates, heroes on TV, and society’s expectation in general.  Of course, there is a time to stop crying, deal with your problem and move on, just as my wife and I tell our children. But how many of us are holding back tears during a time when we should let them flow? We may experience an extreme trial such as a job loss, the severing of a close relationship, abuse toward us or those we love, accidents, bad news of a serious illness, or even a death–and because we were taught to hold back the tears, buck up, and save face–we stuff the feelings of grief and emotional trauma deep down where we think it’s hidden for good.  But it has a way of coming back.  In anger, frustration, bitterness, despondency–we often lash out toward those who are closest to us and could console us. We hide behind a wall, a veneer of togetherness, when inside we are falling apart.   In this post, I am showing pages 7-10 of the children’s book I recently illustrated, “The Boy in a Tree,” by Pamela Boodle. (If you missed my first post introducing this book, you can check it out right here.)   In the book, Nick, a cognitively impaired child, sees the world in a different way than most of us. Although he may...
Recognizing the Gifts in Those Who Are Different

Recognizing the Gifts in Those Who Are Different

Do you have a child with special needs or know someone who does? These days, it’s getting more and more common to see children with special needs anywhere you go. I speak from personal experience–my son is one of these wonderful children. They have a different way of looking at the world that can really help you to see life from a whole new perspective. If you’re close enough to them, you will learn things about yourself (especially your own shortcomings) that you never knew, and you will grow as a person just by being with and relating to them.Almost a year ago, I was asked to illustrate a children’s book called the “The Boy in a Tree,” written by my sister’s friend, Pamela Boodle. This book follows the life of a cognitively impaired child who has a fascination and relentless interest in climbing trees. And not just any tree. He searches for trees “with branches made just right for climbing and up, up, up he goes.” Over and above the grand height he ascends to in those towering limbs, his childlike outlook on life encourages us to take pleasure in the simple joys of life.  During the last several months between other commissions, I worked on the illustrations for this book, starting with a freehand pencil sketch for the layouts, scanning the drawings into my computer, and then coloring them with Photoshop’s paint tools. This allowed me to keep the texture of the pencil and that hand-drawn look while having the flexibility to quickly change color and prepare a digital product ready to be printed.I met with the...
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