Date:December 5, 2020

Dad Turns His Kids’ Drawing Into Terrifyingly Funny ‘Real’ Animals

Following the success of his Instagram account, MediaCom’s Tom Curtis has released a book featuring his kids’ drawings in a bid to encourage the next generation to unleash their creativity.

Tom Curtis is a Photoshop master and a father of two from London. The man also runs an Instagram page called Things I Have Drawn where he creates realistic versions of the pictures children draw and the results are just as terrifying as they are hilarious.

Curtis’ Instagram account ‘Things I Have Drawn’ went viral last year when he decided to photoshop pictures of creatures his children had drawn and transpose them onto real life animals. In just a few months, the account had gained a large audience and now has over 120,000 followers.

Tom Curtis, head of MediaCom Beyond Advertising, MediaCom said  “‘Things I Have Drawn’ is scratching the surface of a much bigger issue and that is the fact that creativity amongst kids is kind of under threat from lots of different things, not just funding, but also from the unknown impact of screens in the home and the fact that many kids just want to play Minecraft and computer games.

“I think that there’s a big opportunity to really encourage children to draw; I think there are many other opportunities for parents out there to get their kids to be creative and celebrate their creativity.”

The account was inspired by a drawing Curtis’ son drew, then aged five, of an animal with both of its eyes on the same side of its head. This spurred on what has become a creative side-hustle, resulting in the publication of a book.

“I thought; what about if the world really did look like the way kids drew them, drew animals or drew objects around them. So I thought, this is a very simple idea; let’s turn the thing that he’d drawn into something real.”

More info: Instagram | Twitter (Dad) | Twitter (Children) | Book | ThingsIHaveDrawn.com

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Tom’s journey into the art of bringing children’s drawings to life started when he saw that his son Dom drew a picture of a weird looking animal and he noticed that he (like most kids) draws the eyes and mouth on the same side of the animal’s head.

He has loads of experience and has been dabbling in Photoshop for nearly a quarter of a century.

Therefore, he decided to Photoshop his kids and other children’s fun, creative, and goofy doodles to bring them to life. The result is both terrifying and hilarious and we absolutely love it!

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“I used to claim that all the animals were real and it took ages to find them and photograph them, although that joke wore thin pretty quickly,” Tom quipped about how long it takes him to finish the pictures.

“The length of time to make them depends on all sorts of things. The subject matter (animals tend to be quicker than vehicles); what the texture is (reptile scales take ages to get right, smooth skin is easy, fur is somewhere in the middle); and the more detailed the drawing, the longer it’ll take. But generally speaking, I reckon an average of 10 hours per image sounds about right.”

Tom said that the number of submissions he gets form other kids’ parents varies. “It’s completely dependent on what’s happening on Instagram at that time. We recently had a big spike in followers and were getting well over 50 drawings sent to us a week, but now it’s settled down to a few per day.”

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In another interview for Adobe UK, Tom spoke more about his future plans. Read on for the full interview.

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Adobe: Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do and how did you get into drawing / using Photoshop?

Tom: I work for a media agency in London called MediaCom. I run the creative and production team although I used to be Creative Director so occasionally did a bit of Photoshop as part of my job. But I’ve actually been dabbling with Photoshop for over 20 years. I first started at Lancaster University while doing my Visual Arts degree. I really should be better at it than I am.

A: Has your son always been an avid drawing fan?

T: Before we started Things I Have Drawn I’m not sure if his output was any more prolific than his friends at school. Drawing is just something kids do – and they should be encouraged. Some of our recent Instagram posts have been by his younger brother Alistair – who’s drawing even more than Dom at the moment. I’ve got a big stash of pictures they’ve produced that I’ve not managed to do anything with just yet. I tend to stick to their quick doodles. The really detailed drawings would take me ages to recreate. Perhaps I’ll get to those one day. 

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A: How did the project come about?

T: I always loved Dom’s drawings and thought it would be a cool thing to do. (It’s since become a nice alternative to Minecraft and Wii). The original idea was to make all the drawings really creepy, but Dom kept drawing animals that were more happy than creepy. I think what we’ve achieved is a bit of both. We live near a zoo which provides a lot of inspiration.

A: At what point did the project go viral? How did it feel knowing your work was being shared all over the world?

T: Towards the end of October, one Sunday night, I posted one of our early creations on Reddit. Within a few hours it made it to the very top of the homepage. Next day it began to get picked up by the media. From there we had 5 days of extraordinary coverage with websites across the globe featuring it. I even did an interview for Japanese TV and Dom and I were on ITV News on Friday. It was quite a surreal week.

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A: What’s been your favourite drawing to reimagine?

T: I think my favourite has to be the cat, our first ever Instagram post. It’s a bit rough and ready but still makes me smile.

A: Christmas is around the corner, have you got any more festive creations up your sleeve?

T: I have indeed. Although I can’t tell you what they are yet. It’s a secret.

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A: What’s next for you and your son?

T: Well – we’ll keep up with the Instagram posts. We’ve got lots more to do, especially with Alistair now contributing.

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