Tips for the Artist with Younger Siblings

Being an artist with siblings can be both rewarding and painful. I'm in the unique position of being the eldest by two years. While the 19-year-old is involved with the arts and knows what it means for me to do what I do, the two younger ones are not as easy to talk to about it. They are the ones that are growing up on the unique blend of entertainment from Cartoon Network to shooting games.

Siblings can be a great spring of inspiration, but on the flip side, they can also unintentionally drain your soul.

Let's get down to it. If you have younger siblings, here are some nice tips for your creative well-being.

1. What do you mean it's not for me?

When they're young, keep your stuff up high, no matter what it is. They will get to your paper, colored pencils, paint, and (worst case scenario) a toxic mix like brush cleaner. Invest in quality shelving for your walls to restrict access from the floor. A padlock or two on your cabinet will also do the trick, unless of course they have access to a battleaxe.

2. Can you do this for me?

When they get older, they'll probably ask you if you can draw this or that for them. They'll show you what they make in art class often, and you'll end up wondering just what these crazy kids are being taught. It will hurt if you discover that they are failing art class (how is it possible, right?) or, even more unnerving, that they are only in art class because they wanted an easy A. Fate is cruel.

3. No, I'd rather buy this one.

They may become indifferent, even immune, to what you create. They might also become interested in a type of style that you don't find appealing, or decline your offer to make something for them in lieu of a more trending style - like buying wall decals from a store instead of letting you paint a mural, for example. Learn to live with this as long as they respect your style. Everyone has their own tastes, so don't get bruised.

4. Teach me how to do that!

This is a big tip. My siblings have asked me to teach them how to draw certain things (usually people), and how I have tried! But unless you are a good teacher, it will be difficult to convey to them exactly how you make a face happen on your paper. In many cases they will be quick to zone out and do something else. If your sibling(s) is more persistent than mine, always encourage them and praise their progress.

Can you think of more tips for keeping yourself together around siblings? Let me know in the comments below!