In the past, we’ve seen many creatives bring funny kids’ drawings to life in the form of cuddly toys, wearable art, and even whimsical inventions. Another artist to do so is father-of-two Tom Curtis, who creates hilarious—and slightly disturbing—“real” renditions of his kids’ (8-year-old Dom and 6-year-old Al) drawings in an ongoing Instagram series called Things I have drawn. From anatomically-incorrect animals to comically-constructed cars, each charming Photoshop rendering brings childlike imagination to life and celebrates creativity.
Curtis first began the Things I have drawn series in 2016 when he began noticing quirky details in his kids’ doodles. “One day I remember seeing one of Dom’s drawings of an animal of some sort, and thought how interesting it was that he, and other kids, always seem to draw the eyes and mouth on the same side of the head,” Curtis tells My Modern Met. “His birds were particularly amusing because they also had beaks sticking out their head in addition to their mouths.” Curtis then began to wonder, “What [would the] world be like if all the things kids drew were actually real, and it was just us stupid adults that weren’t looking hard enough?”
Among the Instagram portfolio you’ll find a smiling butterfly, a sausage-shaped cat, a waving panda, and even Dom’s portrait of his own dad, complete with bulging eyes, a skewed nose, and an upturned smile. “At first I figured that all my Photoshopped versions would end up being really creepy,” Curtis says. “But it turned out that Dom, and his younger brother, Al, mainly drew happy animals.”
Curtis hopes that by continuing the series, he’ll encourage his—and other kids—to keep drawing. “If there was ever a time to be encouraging kids to pick up a piece of paper and pencil, and actually draw something, it’s now,” says Curtis. “Like many families we’ve got quite a few screens in our house and have the usual ‘battle’ with screen time.”
The Curtis family has recently released a book, titled Things I Have Drawn: At the Zoo, that chronicles before-and-after images of the weird and wonderful creatures they came across on a trip to the zoo. You can also find more from the series on Instagram.