My dad passed away in September of 2011 from cancer. It was quite a blow for my mom and I. That following holiday season, there was obviously a huge void left by his absence. There was a part of me that wondered, What on earth could I possibly do to make this Christmas special for my mom?
My mom and dad loved each other, and had been married for almost 40 years when he passed. She had a wallet-size photo of him that she kept, which had been taken back when they were dating, around 1970-1971. She said she always loved that photo because she felt like it made him look like one of the old movie stars. So one day, while she was in the bathroom, I snuck around, dug through her purse, found the wallet-size picture she had, took a pic of that with my phone, and got back out without her being any the wiser.
Then I set about drawing the pic, and blowing it up. After I’d finished it and sprayed it down with matte finish so the graphite wouldn’t smear, I went and got a frame for it, and gave it to her as a Christmas gift that year. She was really moved, and still keeps the picture up at her house.
This is a little bit of the process of me drawing it.