At some point we accept the path that took us to where we are now.

January 18th, 2014, 1am

It was 7°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

I love drawing. It takes me to another place. I like being able to draw things that pop into my mind, even though it not always ends up as I had imagined in the first place. Today I drew something I haven’t done (I haven’t allowed myself) for a very long time: manga-style.

You see, growing up in Mexico at the early 90’s meant you would watch all kinds of japanese cartoons, Dragon Ball (before the Z), Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon and well, whatever other retro show you can think of. At some stage a friend of mine introduced me to more serious ones and slowly it became a hobby, even though never an “open” hobby, since I was actually embarrassed about it (being a teenager and stuff).

Uni came and I let it go. But I kept drawing as always and my style evolved, but I applied the things I had learned while trying to mimic my favourite comics or series. Thickness of lines, proportions, shading.. Last year I had a small exposition at a bar here in Amsterdam and I sold many of my drawings. Some people could see the japanese influence and I accepted it reluctantly.

But today I saw the TED talk of Lizzie Velasquez and it made me think about what defines us. And I realized that I shouldn’t stop myself from drawing what I still very much admire, even though I am now 25. These cartoons and comics opened my imagination and were the basis for my style of drawing today. So after 13 years (give or take) I am no longer embarrassed about that path that led me to open so many opportunities today.

Christine, Eiko, Luis and Hadge said thanks.

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Aafke Mertens

Born and raised in Mexico City I moved to Amsterdam 7 years ago. Starting my own company and sharing my days with my dog and sketch book.

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