College Essay #1

by Holly Kluck ’22

When I was eight, I refused to set up a lemonade stand like the other kids on my block. I wanted to sell something that set me apart from my neighbors and came up with the idea of postage-stamp-sized greeting cards. On Saturday mornings, I would tiptoe out of my room and stealthily collect paper, scissors, pens, and crayons. The crisp snip of my scissors cutting the white cardstock, the waxy release of a crayon pulled from the paper, and the squeak of a marker would bring my cards to life, and every Saturday, Holly Cards Inc. grew in inventory. In preparation for the flood of Christmas visitors to my house, I expanded my range and began making customized cards. Sadly, sales of my amateur art were below my lofty expectations.

Three months later, my dad took me to Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle. I was astounded by the creative costumes, booths, board games, and tchotchkes that surrounded me. However, what truly blew me away was seeing real artists at work. I remember the royal blue an artist used to highlight a whale on the first art print I had ever bought. I realized that there were many alternatives to a lemonade stand, but I needed to enhance my skills and get better materials; the artists I watched didn’t draw with crayons on computer paper once a week. One of the booths had an artist working away at an intricate drawing of a woman’s eye using something called a ‘Copic marker.’ She explained to me how versatile the alcohol ink was, and that they were her favorite markers to use whenever she had an important project. Needless to say, I spent all of my saved money on Copic markers to take my cards to the next level.

My discovery of Copic markers unlocked something within me. Other activities like soccer, cello lessons, and collecting succulent plants came and went, but art was different, something that I could always come back to and improve on. I started to see new experiences as another marker being added to my collection. For example, marker #G24, “Willow,” is the same soft green as my first succulent. Marker #E39, “Leather,” reminds me of the rich, warm brown of my cello, but also of driving to Seattle for lessons, learning new songs, and playing beautiful music in my orchestra class. It was invigorating to have my family view my art in the 6th-grade district-wide art competition where I earned 1st place.

Now, as a teenager, when I need a break, I settle into my chair and the squeak of my markers ring out. My sketches come to life as the astringent alcohol smell fills my nostrils and vibrant designs fill my sketch pads. Now as I prepare holiday cards, I’m infusing them with memories of what each of the colors mean to me from my own experience. Prepared for weeks in advance, my cards facilitate stronger connections with my friends, family, and neighbors every holiday season. Not only am I making cards and coloring in detail, but I’m building a better connection between  myself and the people around me- one vibrant card at a time.

Comic-Con was the start of my love affair with Copic markers and growth in art and design. While Holly Cards Inc. is still in business, I’ve taken on bigger projects like re-painting and tiling my parents’ kitchen, refinishing a table, and advising relatives on furniture choices, color schemes, and Feng Shui. I’m buying parts to make my own computer, and the layout of the case and lighting are key components in my decisions. As an artist, having more colors means more possibilities for what I can create, and my collection of markers and experiences grow in tandem. I’ve far outgrown the idea of lemonade stands but always find myself gravitating toward new ideas about art and design.