A birthday gift that keeps on giving.
Back in February, my good friend Christina, turned 27. (You can read about Christina here, she was one of my featured inspirational interviews.) A month prior to her birthday, she asked her closest friends for a very specific gift. She said she would send us each a small, hand-held sketchbook in which she wanted us to draw one thing a day for 27 days. To be honest, initially I felt a bit obligated. Nonetheless, I agreed to be part of her birthday wish.
I got my sketchbook in the mail and with a Sharpie marker in hand, I started sketching. I’m not one to stick to a routine or schedule. I found that some days I would sketch three sketches and then other days, none at all. The more I drew for Christina, the more I realized that this was not only a gift for her, but also a gift for myself. I’ve always found sketching to be a sort of art therapy. It quiets my mind, it eases my nerves.
The sketchbook contained 30 pages total and I happily filled them all. The obligation I felt early on quickly dissipated. I was actually sad to find myself at the end of the book. Before I handed the sketchbook back to Christina, I took high-quality photographs of each page. Inspired to share my artwork, I vectorized each photograph and designed a 36 page coloring book and journal. I’ve since published this art therapy book through CreateSpace. Each page is lined for journaling and the entire book is scattered with positive affirmations.
Since I’m always finding ways to go the extra mile, I decided to take these sketches one step further, by digitally coloring each vectorized image. I’m using them as designs for my Zazzle store on things like coffee mugs, binders, skateboards and cell phone cases. What started out as a gift for someone else, turned out to be an inspiring idea that has led to several means of creation.
It’s amazing how far this birthday gift has come and continues to spiral into new ideas. I’ve recently started other themed sketch books that will also be published as coloring books and then colored and placed on Zazzle products.
The lesson I learned through this experience is that everything is a gift. Even the demands that others impose on us. The choice we have is in our perception. Had I begrudgingly sketched for 27 days, I would not have seen the opportunity that existed in this birthday gift. Instead, I remained open minded to receiving a gift while giving a gift. And now, I’m able to give it to you!
Download your own copy of the “My Dreams Matter: Mandala Coloring Book Journal” and print it out as many times as you wish:
Or, if you’d rather hold a hand-held version, purchase the paperback here.
Next time someone asks you what you want for your birthday, get creative and ask them to make something handmade. You’ll both enjoy the end result, even if it doesn’t turn out as you originally expected.