Crayon artist: Kristina Nelson has crafted a career with a box of crayons.

Kristina Nelson remembers being a third-grader. The girl who sat

next to her had a big box of crayons, and Kristina had only a small box.

Kristina wanted a big box. She loved to draw. She had no idea then that

she would grow up to use crayons to create colorful drawings of animals,

people, pancakes, pears, and even toilet paper.

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After she finished college, Kristina traveled to Mexico to teach

art at an elementary school. She wasn’t sure if her students would

have art supplies, so she took an entire suitcase of crayons with her.

“In fact,” Kristina says, “I didn’t bring that many

clothes. I was borrowing other teachers’ clothes.”

It turned out that Kristina’s students didn’t need all

the crayons, so one day, she says, “I decided to use them. I found

a little store that sold paper near my house, and started to create

crayon drawings.”

When Kristina returned home to the United States, her mom saw her

artwork. “You should make more crayon drawings!” her mom said.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Kristina’s mom introduced her to a professional crayon artist

named Don Marco. He had been working with crayons for more than 25

years. He offered to give Kristina lessons.

Kristina accepted Don Marco’s offer. “Sometimes I worked

with him six days a week!” she says. “I practiced and

practiced and practiced what he taught me.” After a year and a

half, Kristina sold her first crayon drawing. Now she has a studio where

she draws, displays, and sells her crayon art.

Kristina believes in practice, and she believes in education. The

road to becoming a better artist is to “read many books on

art,” she says. “Educate yourself. Take art classes and visit

museums. Other artists and their art will teach you to make your artwork

better.” But, she adds, “Even if your artwork is never sold,

that is just fine. Just the joy of making artwork is what counts.”

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