Ty, the Rambling Artist
The art of making drawing smiles and making connections, anywhere in the world.
- get acquainted with how you fit.
In my life, the easel has allowed me to share in so many others lives. I have been a part of many marriage proposals (those are always fun!), I have shared time with guests at some of the biggest and best moments of their lives - weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, first birthdays, last birthdays and I’ve witnessed so many Magical Moments during my time Walt Disney World. Often, I’m simply an observer of what’s happening around me but occasionally, I get to be a piece of the puzzle, I get to help bring everything together. Sometimes what I do is an important part of someone else’s life and those are exceptional moments. These are the moments that explain why I’m so passionate about drawing smiles. I truly believe that fulfillment comes from making people happy - whether it’s giving the man on the corner with the cardboard sign a sandwich or being a key player in the most romantic proposal ever, finding how you fit into the happiness of others can help you find both purpose and passion.
One night, as I was working at my easel, I was approached by a large Puerto Rican family who wanted to all be drawn. They were at Walt Disney World celebrating getting through a particularly rough season of life and they wanted matching caricatures to help commemorate the beginning of a new season of happiness and promise. As I began to draw them one by one, more of their story began to emerge. They were a close-knit family living in Puerto Rico. One of the daughters of this family, was a college student, majoring in communications. She was brilliant, astute and destined for a successful life. She had a great boyfriend and loved life. Several months earlier, tragedy had struck this family when the daughter, Natalia, had been in an automobile accident and suffered an injury that had caused her to permanently lose her sight. The family had made it through the initial treatments are were now settling into the “this is our new life” phase - and they were joyful.
After I had drawn Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters, Natalia herself sat in my chair. Eduardo, her boyfriend, introduced himself and asked if they could be drawn together. Of course I agreed and I began to draw Natalia, sunglasses and all, as she told me all about their first trip to Walt Disney World and all of the incredible things they had experienced. Eduardo was smitten with Natalia and it was obvious from the beginning that he was a remarkable young man. He had become her eyes and seemed so happy to have that role. It was one of the sweetest moments in caricaturing I had experienced. I drew them together as the rest of the boisterous family laughed, took pictures and shared the experience with those back home. When the caricatures were complete, Eduardo and her family described the picture to her in great detail, using colorful language and animated gestures. As they told her how much they loved the drawing, a radiant smile crossed her face and she sat quietly for a moment. And then she timidly asked her parents, “Can I have him draw me again?” Everyone, including myself, felt a little confused. Had they described something she didn’t like? Was she not happy. She then looked toward me, smiled and quietly asked, “Can you draw me without my glasses? But not the scars? Can you draw me like I looked before the accident? My eyes were green”
My heart broke and my eyes (along with everyone else in the family) misted over. “Of course I will, I’d be honored”. And so I did. She needed me, a stranger, to be able to see past the damage that the accident had caused. She needed me to look at the scars and see the girl. This was a key moment in her recovery from this horrific life event. She needed to know she was still beautiful and her opinion was still valued. The laughter resumed as I took another piece of paper and drew this beautiful college student as the brilliant, smart girl she had always been and would always continue to be.
I’ve been a part of some incredible moments in my career but this one remains one of my favorites. You never really know when you’ll have the opportunity to positively impact someone else’s life but if you’ve found your passion and if you’re doing what you love, those moments will arise and you will be more than prepared for the task of using your puzzle piece to help the entire picture come together.
From Ty Walls:
After four decades drawing smiles I often encounter remarkable people. I've learned to create little special moments for people from all around the world with my simple smile-drawing skills. But sometimes, life creates little magical moments for me. This blog is my attempt to share them with you.