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Raising an artist: Q&A with my daughter

Sarah Cartwright

Art Therapy By Donna Hope Blas

One of the important things to teach children is the love of learning. Once they are equipped with this, they can learn anything they want to at any age in their life.

As soon as your child can lift a pencil, I recommend you give them the tools to start drawing. Always encourage them, and ask them what they drew. Don’t guess what it is. Watch as the years go by how they progress from stick figures to actual digital photorealism.

They will find their own style of art eventually. Copying great artists’ work is good practice for different styles.

When your child reaches high school, start to look for art colleges that can help them in their future careers. The University of Guam has an excellent art program. I’ve discovered that many of the popular artists on Guam were students of Ric Castro, an instructor at UOG.

I’ve seen firsthand how a child can have a love for art and absorb every aspect of it until a skill is mastered and then move on to the next medium. Nowadays, we have many resources to teach art (or any subject). There’s YouTube and Google, among many others.

As a child, this month’s artist excelled in most art forms, including drawing, painting (watercolor and acrylic), and of course digital art, before she was a teenager. She also published “My Little Pony” customization videos on YouTube and currently restores vintage Barbie dolls. Her YouTube channel has tens of thousands of viewers.


I’d like you to meet my daughter, Sarah Cartwright, a.k.a. Attau, who aspires to be an illustrator and doll fashion designer. She picked the art name “Attau” because of her CHamoru heritage.

When did you first discover art?

After I found a “How to Draw the Little Mermaid” book when I was about seven, all I wanted to do was to draw Ariel because I was obsessed with the movie. Over time, it grew more serious after I discovered the internet and more characters I really wanted to draw.

Did you have any formal training?

Nope, only YouTube videos and how-to books from the library.

What or who inspires you?

Artists from the Disney renaissance or from DreamWorks when they did 2D-animation. Seeing artists in forms of media that you wouldn’t even think about, like art on the box of an old Barbie, inspires me.

What advice would you like to give to aspiring artists?

Find something you really, reaaaaalllyy absolutely love and keep drawing that thing. You’ll improve the more you work with something you love.

Donna Hope Blas is a restoration and 3-D artist. She is a certified therapeutic art life coach and entrepreneur. She was born and raised on Guam. Send feedback to

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