This guest post is by Althea Mariano, a young woman on the autism spectrum who was accepted into California State University. Althea is applying for the Spring 2021 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization here.
Can I ask for a favor? I’m trying to make this nonprofit self-sufficient so I can make this my full-time job supporting the special needs community and would appreciate you taking a minute before reading on to watch this video below and subscribing to our Youtube page here to get to learn more about the work we do in the community.
It all started when I was a kid. Every time I would watch a cartoon movie or TV show of my time, it would inspire me to make creative drawings and stories on plain paper, old docs, and even whiteboards, with a marker, ballpen, and pencil. For example, I drew a girl in a flower field, a dog walking on the grass, a heart with my mom’s face in it, and even a house on a rainy day. I would also make those drawings as gifts for my friends and loved ones as get-well-soon cards, in birthday parties, and even for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I would also color those drawings. Even at pre-school days, I would even draw and color those drawings whenever were in an arts and crafts activity.
As I grew, I started making more drawings on my sketchbook to make them erasable if a make a mistake. I became more fascinated with digital drawing when Mom gave her Samsung phone to me. It had a drawing app, where I made line drawings. I never knew how to color behind the lines at that time, just filling color in the empty spaces. I was even enrolled in a 5th-period art class in Nobel Middle School, where I learned other art techniques such as drawing faces and profiles, anime, sketches, shading, backgrounds, blending, color palettes, new ways of painting, and charcoal art.
The month before I got my iPad Pro on my 15th birthday, I researched how to draw digitally. I finally knew how to color digitally behind the lines and shading the colors by layering. I never thought of making original characters until I researched digital drawings of the characters they drew from their creativity on the internet. I drew original characters (three girls, chibi version) for a New Year’s 2018 poster for my upcoming story, which is still a work in progress. This drawing was also the first time I make loose lines first for the outline. As of January 2018, I even drew lots of concepts for my original characters. I followed the same technique for my drawings too, but I also keep my old drawings from my Samsung in my iPad; my Samsung was given away to my cousin from the Philippines a month after my birthday. I even made simple animations using the Animation Desk. Those animations include a 1930s style character dancing onstage, a couple dancing, and a girl relaxing on her tube while in the pool.
As my drawings were adored by my friends and relatives on Instagram, Mom still felt that I needed to improve my drawings. So in the summer of 2020, I enrolled in two classes in an app called Udemy: how to use another art app called Procreate and its techniques, and drawing characters realistically. I have been doing these things since then, but I also take a break from this to do something else besides drawing. I even made a few animations in Procreate such as a heart beating.
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.