i was to color the object that began with a T (it was a tie) so i colored all over its general area with my blue crayon. i was 5, and my kindergarten teacher didn't like my coloring skills. i was taken aside and shown the proper way to stay in the lines and actually make the outline look like the object it represented. while "coloring outside the lines" became an individualist's badge of honor for my generation, it isn't a method that serves every artistic intent. Tolkien didn't write all over the walls, he put Lord of the Rings in a book. you don't toss apples and cinnamon in the oven and hope for the best, you follow the apple pie recipe.
after i was taught how to color in the lines, i loved drawing. i don't know how much paper and how many crayons i went through in my childhood. i got addicted to "making stuff" especially if that stuff made a space a little prettier, or a little more festive. other people spent Black Friday shopping, i spent it cutting out snowflakes to tape to the windows. by high school, i wanted to go into special effects make-up, or movie set designing. i wanted my "lines" to be a director's vision, and my "crayons" to be sculpting tools and paint. but i just couldn't get excited about moving to Hollywood, so i began to wonder if it was the story i was trying to express, rather than its illustrations. so i switched to a writing major.
i graduated from college the year that everyone started a blog and newspapers starting dropping like flies. nothing had happened to me yet, so i had nothing to write about. i took a desk job. i left art to my off time. after a few too many years, i wondered how some people got to be what they wanted, and poor saps like me had to "direct your call." by then i was nuts for cookies, but i had a portfolio to build.
so i built one. and i found that cookie decorating is just coloring in the lines, and making a moment a little more festive and pretty. it's expressing a vision, fooling the eye, telling a story, suspending disbelief, wowing an audience, and taking you back to age 5 for a little while.
in kindergarten i was a witch for Halloween, and i wanted to be an artist when i grew up...