In the fall of 1963 I turned 6 years old, and opened this book:

To this page:

And drew this picture:



48 years later, my twins turned 6, and here is Rose with the same book:


and here is her version of the same page:


Drawing is a big deal in our house these days.


I have about 10 pages or so of drawings my mother saved of mine, from about age 4 ½ towards junior high school. One I did in the first grade was of Bill Russell, then the center for the Boston Celtics basketball team. The kids have been fascinated looking at my drawings from when I was their age – so Daniel sat down & drew Bill Russell – after only seeing my drawing. We don’t watch any sports here, I pay no attention these days to professional sports at all…as far as I can tell, he’s never seen a basketball game! But they listened closely when I told them that Russell almost always won & Wilt Chamberlain almost always lost – so Daniel drew Russell soaring over Wilt. Got the # 6 on his jersey, and the goatee. Also the initials B. R. :


When I got to high school, it was the early 1970s, and the way the school was structured, I was allowed (with loads of other kids) to specialize my high school studies to lean towards art school. As it turned out, art school & I did not agree – but for many years I always kept a sketch book going. You won’t be surprised that for a long time it was mostly birds I was drawing. I wanted to be a cross between Andrew Wyeth and John James Audubon.  While digging through this stuff to show the kids, I found two drawings from 1979 that show my first two chairs!  I no longer have the chairs, and no photos of them, so these are the only records of my first true woodworking efforts.


my first chair

That one was a one-slat chair, then I did a two-slat version, with bent posts. these were before I got to Country Workshops, and met Alexander and Langsner:


Nowadays I sometimes still get out pencils and paper, but it’s usually to work out some carving details; proportions & spacing, that sort of thing. Like this:

here’s one I did while viewing some Dutch furniture at the Peabody Essex Museum last summer:

But the kids do the bulk of the drawing around here, and I am thrilled at the degree of detail shown in their works. That means they’re looking closely at stuff. Drawing certainly helps you see more clearly. Great stuff.  No question about this tree species by Rose:

Rose's squirrel

Daniel is often drawing his Lego figures:

So there. I got a slew of my kids’ drawings in this post, but worked in a little woodwork just to keep folks coming back. Dovetails next time. Yup, you heard me right.

14 thoughts on “drawing

  1. I love this post… It is so fascinating. Drawing, for me, is figuring how everything works. I keep coming back to drawing… so do you, it seems. I can’t wait to see what our little one draws, he’s more interested in tasting the crayons now!

    Great post, Thanks.

  2. Peter,
    You are a wonderful natural story teller, Please keep it coming and keep on keeping it simple. Like Bill Russell, you are all about the fundamentals.
    Lin Willis, Morganton NC

  3. Peter, the neat thing about you is that reading you is the same as listening to you at a workshop. Hope to see you in the Spring.

  4. Love it, those apples didn’t fall far from the tree Papa… and drawing seems to be the theme this week… the Huffington Post blogger John Seed picked my painting of Ted’s old dixon drawing pencil (The Beginner) as one of the ten most memorable paintings of the year. Ho Ho Ho

  5. Lovely post Peter, drawing is so important and great to see yours and the kids. Ruskin used to bang on about the importance of drawing not for it’s own sake but as a medium to help you see properly.

  6. Since I was there for the early Follansbee drawings, it thrills me to see the later ones by the new Follansbee artists! What fun to follow – keep ’em coming.

  7. I remember those early drawings so well. Have some of your early paintings and have given a couple to my kids, and grandkids. I am amazed at the detail in Rose and Daniel’s drawings! Glad to see they have the artistic gene!

  8. I about fell off my chair just now seeing that book. I remember reading that myself back on Pierce Road! I’m amazed by Daniel and Rose’s drawings, though really it shouldn’t be surprising. Just signed up to get updates whenever you post. Thanks for being such a creative inspiration.

  9. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you
    actually know what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also consult with my site =). We may have a link change contract among us

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