Art Seen

This Artist's Simple Sketches Of His Family Capture Life's Fleeting Moments

"I want to draw ... the ones that make me feel something real, no matter how simple."

In 2016, we featured Curtis Wiklund, an artist who illustrated his day-to-day life with his wife, Jordin, for 365 days straight.

"Many of the drawings happened to be of the two of us, just doing normal life together. During that year, many people told us they felt like they got to know us better through the drawings — like they were a peek into our personal life," Wiklund writes on his website

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The black-and-white sketches illustrate everything from a pregnancy announcement to tender moments over the holidays. There are even illustrations of life's not-so-pretty moments, such as budgeting and surviving the flu, that still manage to pull at our heartstrings.

"I tend to draw moments that made me feel something. Those moments are sometimes hard to notice in real life, and even harder to articulate to someone else, but when I can draw it, I can hope that somebody else knows what I'm talking about when they see it," Wiklund tells A Plus in an email. 

"Strangely enough, very few people have seen me cry, but nearly every page of my sketchbook has seen me cry. I think it is because the moments I want to draw are the ones that make me feel something real, no matter how simple. When I'm drawing them, it's like I'm feeling it all over again."

Wiklund points to examples of this, such as the moments when his wife lays her head on a pillow or rests her chin on his shoulder. 

"I would've missed those moments if I hadn't drawn them, and those are the moments I never want to forget." 

Over the years, Wiklund has continued his work, even turning the illustrations into a book entitled UsLately, Wiklund's drawings have showcased everything from the couple's phases of sleep to "early morning goodbyes" and life with children.

"I care about documenting the moments where I felt something more than typical feelings. For all my life, I've been a pretty even person emotionally, but Jordin has always tapped into something emotional in me that nobody had tapped into," Wiklund says. "Now my boys are starting to do that, too, which is probably why they're showing up in my drawings."

Wiklund points to one sketch that shows their family on vacation: 

"As the sun was setting on our vacation, [my son] was getting cold, my body was warm, and he laid on me like that for a long time. I don't have any words to describe how that half hour made me feel. I can only get misty-eyed and show it."

Wiklund says his sons love seeing his new drawings, and they encourage him to create more. 

"The drawings help me hold onto and cherish the fleeting moments and even help me work through the hard ones. I try to remember that they could help somebody else like they help me," Wiklund adds. "Now, when I'm feeling the urge to 'hide' or not make artwork, in addition to my wife's voice, I hear my son's voice in my head, saying, 'You should draw today.'"

And now, with Valentine's Day on the horizon, perhaps these drawings will serve as a reminder that we should all appreciate those quiet, special moments with our loved ones just a little bit more. 

Check out more of Wiklund's illustrations below and his book here

1. "We love movies."

2. "You can do it, babe!"

3. "Morning with Casen."

4. "We're getting published!"

5. "Setting a real clock."

6. "They’re sharing a room."

7. "Boys breakfast."

8. "I miss you."

9. "Tired."

10. "Chef's table."

11. "The way we sleep. Phase 1."

12. "The way we sleep. Phase 2."

13. "The way we sleep. Phase 3."

14. "Quick kiss."

15. "Do you want to brush?"

16. "I cry when I look at you."

17. "We’ll make them uncomfortable someday. For now, they just think it’s funny."

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