Like Designer Daddy, Like Son

June 2, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Every parent cherishes the milestones in their child’s development. First step, first word, first tooth, first poop on the potty. These are all documented and hold a special place in my memory. Yet JJ did something recently that had my heart leaping with pride and joy…


“Untitled” by JJ, May 2013, age 3-1/2

Wow, your kids a regular Rembrandt, you’re probably thinking, sarcastically. Firstly, he’s three and-a-half, so shut it, Smartass McJudgeypants.

I admittedly have not kept much of the “artwork” JJ has produced to this point, as it’s mostly been pages from coloring books he’s Crayola’d and stickered into oblivion. But this drawing came directly from his double-cowlicked head, through his chubby toddler hand, and onto paper. No lines to fill in, no dots to connect — pure, unfiltered, unguided creativity. I was one very proud Designer Daddy.

Secondly, it gave me an acute sense of déjà vu…


“Swimming Hole” by Designer Daddy, Sept 1972, age 3-1/2

This is a drawing I did at roughly the same age. I’m sure lots of kids start out drawing people this way (what they have against arms, I don’t know) — but the similarity struck me, made me giddy in fact. Biological relatives frequently attribute shared talents or passions to genetics. But not being genetically related to my son, these connections hold extra significance for me.

I know he may not grow up to be an artist or designer. (Let’s hope he takes after Papa and becomes an attorney — I’d like a pool and a painting studio in my retirement home.) But that’s one of the most joyous things about getting to witness JJ’s childhood. On any given day he has the potential/determination/energy to be an Olympic athlete, a super-powered crime fighter, or a world-renowned painter.

Regardless of what other skills my son attempts or identities he dons in the course of his life, I’ll always have this drawing to remember our connection, and to put a smile on my gigantic, armless head.

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OPENING SOON: Come back next week for the inaugural Designer Daddy’s Proud Papa Gallery of Greatness*, a special Father’s Day collection featuring the artistic creations from the offspring of over a dozen other doting dads!

Submissions are still being accepted! Send them in, along with your child’s name and age, by Friday, June 7th.

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*Name subject to change



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6 responses to “Like Designer Daddy, Like Son”

  1. Chris says:

    As a former art teacher, I can tell you that your son is well on his way to being some sort of artist/creative person. In the stages of development for drawing at his age he is into the pre-schematic stage. What this means is that he already gets the early placement of eyes and a mouth, which are details that most 3-4 years olds don’t get yet. Most kids focus on the legs mainly because from their perspective our legs DO look like one long continuous line. The line signifying the body is what gets it for me. He knows there is a body there somewhere and divides the space. Even his spatial reasoning is sound with yourself and Papa being bigger and him smaller. That’s amazing! I loved seeing his drawings and hope I didn’t overanalyze it but thought you might want to know from an “expert” point of view. I can see why it is so special.

    • Brent Almond says:


      Thanks — I LOVED the analysis! I’d never heard that before, so it’s quite eye-opening. And to clarify, the 1st drawing is by my son, the 2nd one is by me when I was about 3 years old. So based on your analysis, I ended up in the right profession. 🙂


      • Chris says:


        Yeah, I guess you did! I still think the first picture like you said is so similar and in the same stage even without the arms. The eye and mouth placement alone gets him there. Looks like he’s going to follow in your footsteps. Even if he does end up a lawyer, at least he will have attention to detail! Like fathers like son.

  2. Daeminimon says:

    This is a significant leap in children’s development. This type of picture is so common, it actually has its own name in Swedish- we call them “huvudfotingar” (“headfooters”), and it’s one of the things health visitors and helath workers look out for at around the 3-4 year mark. Body and arms come later! 🙂

  3. Zee says:

    Dear Brent,

    I’m a kindergarten teacher. Just like Daeminimon said, I found this very familiar as my Skandinavian students exactly draw people like this ( smiley headfooters ). Such a cutey, ya?

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