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Wow! Those Giant Green Pencils We Had

[NOTE: This blog appeared on this website that was lost due to previous web hosting issue. This was recovered from backup files and is included on this newer website version]

Last time I told you how I met my friend Flaker and on the first day of school the first grade teacher thought I needed a shepherd to keep me with the heard …she was probably right but don't tell her I said so.

First grade was about learning Readin,'Ritin & 'Rithmetic …but let me say whoever made up that saying hadn't learned his spellin' and for me the best memories and apparent center of my interest wasn't the 3-R's but drawing with those cool pencils we had.

…and wow …what cool pencils they were! Those big fat green pencils with the super thick soft leads, yeah! I supposed I could learn to write my letters with them but I was more certain these were drawing pencils and I knew what to do with a drawing pencil! These pencils elevated every line to a new level of cool.

So, I put aside my escape plans and began to experiment with my new drawing tool. I had always found drawing great but now drawing had become just plain magic. Every line became hypnotic and I could hardly wait to see what my pencil would make next.

I don't remember how much time we were given to just draw but I know I was drawing a lot and the great thing about drawing around other people is that it is contagious and magnetic. It wasn't very long before the gravitational pull of the artistic spirit begin to gather toward a common center.

That center, for me, was Willrence Wu and if ever there was someone who could draw it was Willrence, Master Artist, age 6, Wu. His subjects were always about the drama of war. With pages full of GI's, tanks, planes and guns blazing, bullets flying everywhere, how could I not be impressed with what he did with a pencil and I had to get onboard with this too.

So I learned to draw what he was drawing, right along with Flaker and the other boys in the class. Every military tool, device, land, sea and air vehicles became our subjects and we could draw them well too. There was always some competition but then we were all friends so as we did our art we compared and encouraged each other on every piece.

We drew as many war images as we had paper to put them on. This was the first important artistic association and collaboration experience that I remember and it has become incorporated into the foundation of my informal art education.

I lost track of Willrence after my early school years but have never stopped admiring his great talent. I don't believe he pursued an art career and I was saddened to learn from my friend Flaker, that Willrence had passed away long before his time. I know if I had ever met up with him after grade school I would have wanted to go out, find some big fat green pencils and have another drawing marathon. Here's to you, Willrence, my friend!