Sharpie Squad member, Laura Kelly, may be one of the cheeriest bloggers we have had the pleasure of working with! For the past 3 years she has brightened the Sharpie world by guest blogging and sharing her Sharpie love with the world (and across the country, in this case); so, what better way to celebrate the season than to share Laura’s cheer with you all!
What better way to spread BRIGHT and happy love this holiday season than to add a little Sharpie fun to my already planned adventure across the country from North Carolina to California. With my backpack full of Sharpie markers to give away, sketchbooks and other random Sharpie gear, I grabbed my stuff and made my way to RDU to meet my long time BFF and get on our way.
We started in Raleigh, North Carolina on a beautiful sunny morning. Having arrived at the airport earlier than necessary we decided to grab breakfast at the super yummy 42nd Street in terminal C. When our server arrived, we informed her that she was the first lucky Sharpie winner. From the large plastic tub of Sharpie markers, she chose green as her favorite and I used it to draw a quick “Me and My Peep” character of herself. Our first stop was Boston and while there, I left the tub of Sharpie markers on my chair in Delta’s Sky Lounge while going to get some fresh veggies and a refreshing beverage. Upon my return, I found the chair empty and heard the following over the loudspeaker, “Will the owner of the Sharpies please come to the front. Your Sharpies have been turned it.” I dashed to get them and was told that I was lucky to get them back, that sometimes valuable left like weren’t so fortunate as to be returned to their owners, like laptops and cell phones. She was one smart concierge; she sure knew the value of the Sharpie pen collection! I doodled a few things for some of the “business” travelers and witnessed a few overly dressed and somewhat pretentious professionals shift from uppity bumps on logs to open, connected and interesting regular folk. Who knew that a little Sharpie doodling and laughter could create a table of new acquaintances swapping holiday stories and plans while swapping Sharpie markers from my tub to keep or take back to loved ones at home. My favorite guy took four, two for each daughter (pink/purple and chartreuse/lime green).
Throughout the day, from airport to airport and on the planes; I sketched “Me and My Peeps” for those around me and made LOTS of new friends. The most popular colors taken from my collection were bright pink, lime green, red, black and purple. I got to hear so many great stories about the ways people use their Sharpies, how amazing their artistic children are with Sharpies, what kind of Sharpies they wish they had more of and so much more. I even got to doodle one of my all-time favorite men, Santa Claus. He asked me if I wanted more Sharpie markers in my stocking to which I replied, “OF COURSE I DO!
On Saturday morning we went shopping and I doodled along the way. The workers in the t-shirt shop were psyched to get their own “Me and My Peep” drawn and put them on display behind the register.
The dude working at the San Francisco Bath Salt store was another proud owner of his “Me and My Peep” and more than excited about the possibility of showing up in this blog. He was definitely a SILVER Sharpie marker kind of guy…with a sparkly personality to match!
During the day on Saturday, I took my Sharpie collection along for our outing to Alcatraz, thinking I might be able to graffiti a little in the cells…JUST KIDDING! While doodling in line I found a fellow Sharpie marker user…the girl assigned the job of marking our tickets! She was happy as could be when I replaced hers with a new sharp tipped red and happily let me photograph her in action. She said she wished she could use purple but that red was her only choice. I gave her a purple to use on personal time. She gave me a hug. I call that a GOOD DEAL! The boat trip over was a bit choppy so I kept my tub packed up and enjoyed the ride!
That evening we attended a wine tasting and once again, my tub was a hit! The tasters used the markers for their customer tasting notes. Personally, I recommend the 2010 Mendocino! It gained a bright red Sharpie heart on my notes!
On Sunday morning, I left a black Sharpie marker with a doodled up message on the paper machine. I watched from afar while people stopped to read it and chat up their Sharpie stories. Finally it was taken by a teenage girl who stated as she ripped it from the machine, “I think someone left this here for me.” She was right. I guess I did.
That afternoon while shopping at Pier 33 and strolling Fisherman’s Wharf, I took a break to sit down and sketch only to find myself surrounded with people who waited in line for their turn to get sketched. It was crazy fun. I passed out Sharpies and smiles at the same time. Some wanted to know where my tip jar was and I laughed. Can you imagine, drawing “Me and My Peeps” for tips. I do it for fun…for the mere pleasure of spreading cheer. Once inside Boudans to buy some sourdough bread, we decided to head upstairs and grab a bite. I put my tub of Sharpie markers on the bar while I dug in my backpack for my wallet and the man next to me said, “Wow, you are so lucky. You have so many Sharpies.” I chatted with him and ended up giving him a few doodle tips. He practiced his skills on the postcards he was writing back home to his grandmother in Sweden. When I gave him the handful he used for his masterpieces, he reacted as if he won the lottery. He gave me the cheek and then the other cheek European kiss and then was whisked off with his mate to his table to eat.
I was then requested to draw the bartender and the girl on our other side so happily doodled some more, handed out some more love in the form of Sharpie marker, then celebrated my new friendships with a little time trading stories before heading back out to the piers.
I continued to doodle and hand out the markers until they were all gone. I was invited to new places to meet strangers’ families, speak to their schools and illustrate their stories into books. I was thanked for sharing myself, for offering inspiration and for reminding people that they too were born to create…that doodling counts too and that they are already qualified!
I learned a lot from my adventure. The most important lesson that I was reminded of through this attempt to spread bright holiday love was that people from all over the world, of all ages and in all sizes love the joy that comes through creation and imagination. I was reminded that although I am often teased for being a doodle artist, my gift is unique and it makes a difference in the world we share.
Together with paper, Sharpie markers and strangers…we can connect, grow and care about others.
MERRY HOLIDAYS! May your celebrations be filled with lots of BRIGHT, CHEERY and HAPPY CREATIVE LOVE!