There will be kids waking up Christmas morning to find pens, pencils, markers, paints and sketchbooks with their names on them under the tree.
The best thing any kid lucky enough to find such items on Christmas morning can do is use them. Don't let them sit on the shelf or in a drawer. Don't let the pens and markers dry out. Don't let the paper in the sketchbooks remain white.
Use everything and use them a lot. Use them so much the pencils become nothing more than tiny nubs. Use them so much the pens and markers run out of ink. Use the sketchbooks - doodle, draw, sketch, scribble or paint on each and every page.
Every item has the potential to ingite a creative spark that can light a fire that will burn forever. Who knows? The next Peter Max, Leroy Neiman, Georgia O'Keefe or Charles Schulz could begin his or her journey into the world of art this Christmas.
That journey already began for one young girl. Her family needed to gather and celebrate Christmas early this year. Her aunt gave her drawing and colored pencils - and a case to hold them - and a sketchbook to capture her images. She already started her journey. I've seen her work - a dog and a road scene - and they look good. They are definitely refrigerator material at the very least.
The girl's aunt has a painting done by her mom, so I guess the talent lies in the genes.The same can be said for Greenwood freelance cartoonist Mike Beckom, who learned about art from his father. When his dad died, Beckom wanted to honor him. He did exactly that and more.
"I was going to try to get one cartoon published just as my way to tip my hat and say thanks to him for teaching me to draw when I was a little kid," said Beckom, who is a regular contributor to the Index-Journal. "It literally took off like it was on fire."
When I talked to Beckom a couple of weeks ago for a story about an editorial cartoon of his being selected for "Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year 2013 Edition," he said he still does cartoons the old-fashioned way - with pencil and paper.
That's very cool.
He uses a No. 2 pencil and sketch pad when he starts a drawing. Once he gets the cartoon the way he wants it to look, he traces it onto Bristol Board. He then inks the art. He then scans his art and colors it in Photoshop.
"When I get an idea for a cartoon, I can look at a blank sheet of paper and it's like it's projected on there," Beckom explained. "I just kind of trace right along what I already see."
On the walls in my house hangs artwork from both my boys, which I treasure more than the art I created that hangs on the walls as well.
I had a cousin who helped nurture my creative spark. In turn, I lit the fire for my boys. The guys received markers, crayons, pencils and paper on Christmas morning, just like many youngsters will get this year.
If anyone knows a child who does receive such gifts, make sure they get used. Take the time to encourage the budding artist.
Who knows what will become of the child who is nurtured? The worst: You'll get art for the fridge. The best? You'll be invited to an exhibit opening at a gallery.
Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not reflect the newspaper's opinion.