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Local youths now Forest Park library illustrators

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Kielan Freeman was used to modeling clothes, acting in plays, and drawing illustrations of his pastor during church services -- but it was the challenge of drawing a picture of the rapper, Ludacris, that filled the 10-year-old Riverdale youth with anxiety.

Freeman's mother, Diane, said she signed up her son for a pencil-drawing class for teenagers at the Forest Park branch of the Clayton County Library System on Tuesday, to challenge his creativity.

At first, Freeman was scared when he realized he would be drawing a copy of a photograph of a celebrity. But, with instructions from librarian Amanda Corbitt, the youngster got off to a quick start on his copy of a picture of "Luda" (as Ludacris is known for short). In fact, Kielan Freeman took to the drawing assignment with such ease, he finished before everyone else.

Freeman's finished project also won praise from Corbitt, and drew groans of envy from the six other people in the class.

"When my mom signed me up for this class, I was like, 'Nooo, it's going to be hard. I can't do this,'" Kielan Freeman told Corbitt as he worked on his drawing. "But, this is a lot easier than I thought it was going to be."

The drawing class is just one of many free activities Corbitt has planned to tap into the creative sides of local teenagers this summer. Other upcoming activities include classes on how to keep a journal, an acrylic painting class, and a Jimi Hendrix-themed watercolor painting class.

"The kids love it," Corbitt said. "It's an outlet because the kids don't have a lot of places where they can be creative. This is good for them, because they can express themselves doing something that's positive."

The participants in the class used a grid system to learn how to draw a copy of a person's face. They first drew a grid over the picture they were copying. The youths then drew a matching grid on a sheet of paper, and then drew an outline of the person's features within the grid. The idea was to have the facial features in each box of the grid on the drawing paper match the features in each box drawn on the original picture.

After the outline of the facial features was drawn, the youths then erased the grid on their drawing paper, so only the face remained. They then drew in shading to make their drawings match the original pictures.

Ashli Dublin, 14, of Rex, said she was not keen on the idea of participating in a pencil-drawing class when she first heard about it, but she quickly warmed up to it, once she started drawing a picture of singer, Alicia Keys. Dublin's mother, JoAnne Ramey, said she put her daughter in the class because it was free, and because she recognized some creativity in the youngster.

Dublin said she often draws "bubble letters," and pictures of fruit. She admitted, however, that drawing a picture of a person was taking illustration to a new level for her. "When I draw a fruit, I start with drawing a circle, and then I go from there," Dublin said. "With this, it's a lot more than just drawing a circle. There are squares and rectangles and triangles. It's like you take every shape and put them together to make a masterpiece."

Destiny Grubbs, 13, of Jonesboro, said she had no reservations about taking the class. Like Dublin, Grubbs also drew a picture of Alicia Keys. The youngster also said this class will help her build a foundation for a career in the fashion industry.

"I actually wanted to draw, because I want to be a fashion designer some day, and its easy to start with this, because now, I'll know how to draw a person's face," Grubbs said.