Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Talented artist transforms toddler’s scribbles into artwork for the home

Being a mom changes the way you see things. I have to admit that I have never envisioned art in my toddlers’ doodles, but then again, I’m not an artist like Ruth Oosterman. Ruth has been connecting with her 2-year-old daughter Eve at the most fundamental level — by reimagining and repurposing her childlike scribbles into watercolor paintings.

A Bookworm's Dream

Photo credit: Ruth Oosterman

The drawing starts out in the most typical toddler way. Eve uses a pen to scribble all over a page. My toddlers do this every afternoon of the week, and they usually draw a little on the table too. Normally I smile and nod if I’m busy. I may even scribble along with them on a good day. Fun times, bonding, basic toddler stuff.

Ruth takes her 2-year-old daughter’s doodles and turns them into mother-daughter works of art. Ruth’s reimagined watercolors based off her toddler’s drawings are truly unlike anything you have ever seen. Ruth comes up with these vivid images out of her own imagination, coupled with a few directions from her young daughter.

A Bookworm's Dream
Photo credit: Ruth Oosterman

She shares the story behind one particularly vibrant piece (that I would love to hang in my own house) on her personal blog. The collaborative painting is called “A Bookworm’s Dream.” The before and after pictures can be seen side by side.

As a nonartist, I personally can’t imagine how Ruth began to transform circular scribbles into a painting. Ruth explains, “It is in these moments I like to imagine myself in a surreal world where every tree is a bookshelf and underneath each one is the world’s comfiest, worn in leather chair… So I sat there with my paintbrush in my hand and I wiggled my toes, as if I could almost feel them in the long grass under that tree, I then began to paint inspired by my bookworm’s dream.”

Ruth details her process from start to finish in a time-lapse video on her YouTube channel. It begins with a toddler’s indecipherable sketch, without any interference or instruction from mom. Ruth observes her daughter’s creativity and takes it as inspiration for her own painting. The end product is impressive — you would never know how the painting came to be without hearing its unique backstory.

Ruth is a talented artist, but it’s her relationship with her daughter that impresses me the most. I’m not an artist, but I am a mother. The next time my kids sit down to create — aka make a mess — I’m going to watch them more carefully. I’m going to listen and participate. I’m going to be part of the process.

More on living

Your kids won’t lose their packs at school with these cute DIY labels
Really, Facebook? A picture of a sick baby isn’t scary
A guide to surviving family visits during the holidays

Leave a Comment