Cupcakes and Tattoos

Last year, I lost my job of ten years at a university, our course was cut. I taught young adults with mild intellectual disabilities and I wanted to continue, but felt disenchanted about working for another large education institution. In March this year, with a friend, I was fortunate to be able to set up a group one day a week at a Neighbourhood Community House.

We teach our young adults literacy, numeracy and art and craft. I Β love Β working there, but just didn’t have enough work. Exciting news for me though. I am going to be running an art and craft class for a group of adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities as well as an art class for a group of teenage boys who have become disengaged from education for various reasons. I’ve had the boys for one class so far and we did Zentangle style drawings of our arm and hand which captured their imagination as most are fascinated with tattoos. Some of their drawings were amazing and I think there are definitely a few budding tattoo artists there. I don’t know a lot about tattoos; I think I’m going to learn a lot more from this group. They will be a challenge to keep motivated, so if you have any wonderful ideas, please let me know! If you want to know more about Zentangle drawing then visit here:Β

You might wonder why I have photographs of cupcakes, I think I will not do cupcake decorating with the boys(they wouldn’t even use the pink Sharpie pen on their drawings). The cupcakes were decorated by my group of young adults. I gave them piping bags with coloured frosting and some decorations and then left them to it. At the end of the class, some were busy photographing their cakes for their Facebook pages. The highlight for me, was looking at their proud faces.

cupcake 2

cupcakes1 cupcake 3


39 thoughts on “Cupcakes and Tattoos

  1. giving someone a reason to feel good about themselves is a wonderful thing. People might not even realize they are good at or like doing something until someone helps them try it out.
    I wish those cupcakes were less ”virtual” yum!

    • One of the things I aim to do is to give people the skills and confidence they need to try something new, hopefully then, they can do it at home, by themselves. It’s exciting to think you might start someone off on a whole new passion πŸ™‚

  2. What a perfect way to use your talents, skills and previous experience Jen .
    I’m sure these groups will find plenty of fun and enthusiasm with what you bring to the classes, and no doubt some will enjoy showing you new tattoo designs … on paper I hope !

  3. I think it’s so wonderful that you’ve found a way to share your creativity and artistic talents with teens and adults who might not have that experience otherwise !!! I heart you ❀

  4. Congratulations on the new art classes!
    I highly recommend the book 100 Creative Drawing Ideas by Anna Held Audette – it has ideas from instructors at the high school and college levels. Here are a couple of the ideas from the book so you can get a feel for it – “self-portrait as an object” – the student picks an object to represent himself. That might be less threatening than actually drawing themselves. There is also one called “psychological space” to “show emotion without a figure.” The lesson ties into movie sets and how they add to the feeling of a movie with space, lighting, and perspective.

  5. The best thing about cupcakes is that they are so happy no matter what you do to them! As for tattoos….those artists are really amazing. It must be so much fun to go to work with everyone!

    • It is fun, sometimes very funny too! I’m sure with my teenagers there will be some challenges ahead, but once you understand what has happened to them in the past, it makes it easier to remain patient.

  6. Your new work sounds SO rewarding; that’s fantastic! Do you think your younger guys would like to do a self-portrait in blind contour drawing? (or maybe work up from an object like a model car, to a self-portrait later?) I looked up the zentangle technique; that would be great fun!

  7. aaahhh the art of tatoo… just for a FYI. here in the States thier are several… maybe ten differnt publications for tatoo art you maywant to read or look throught them and their are lots of internet sites for them also… some are funny like worst tattoos ever and some are more artistic… they have a rich history that may intrest your students about where and why people have them and several different styles are explained. Love Love Love the cupcakes… you are doing what I allways thought I would do for a living love sharing art with people who really need it… keep up the great work

    • I love the idea of introducing the students to some history and especially why people get tattoos. My father in law got a small Libra sign tattooed on his shoulder when he turned 70. Unfortunately, he died that year and I didn’t get to ask him why, I think he must just have always wanted one and thought, why not?

      • most were for religious reasons…and/ or spritual events… thats what mine are.. but then again some are just drunked bets… Was your father a Libra or someone he loved? I am sure it was to remember some who was that sign.. have fun with the idea I am sure the boys will love it !

  8. Thanks for the post, it brought home how different crafts touch different people. I was interested in the Zentangle link as my Son who studied Graphics does doodles like these. He hadn’t heard of it but I was interested that it worked with your young men as he does these sketches more when he has something on his mind.

    • It’s interesting that you mention that your son does this kind of doodling when he has something on his mind, I read that one of the benefits of Zentangling is stress relief, which your son seems to have found for himself.

  9. Yaaay congratulations for having your classes! You’re doing a great job, I find it very admirable people who take the time in helping others, whether it’s for learning or for arts & craft classes! I visited the Zentangle website, wow some of those drawings are amazing, and I do say those cupcakes look really delicious, I wouldn’t mind a bite of them! πŸ˜‰ xxx

    • It gives me a great deal of pleasure too. I told the students they could eat one of their cupcakes for afternoon tea, but with the exception of one, they took all three home to show them off first πŸ™‚

  10. Jen, your kind and generous nature comes across very clearly in your posts, and I’m sitting here with a smile on my face to think that your good influence is out there at work in the world. You might never know, but I’m convinced your efforts will make a difference in more than one young person’s life. You’re using your gifts to help others– it just doesn’t get any better or more commendable than that.

    Lovely cupcakes, but not half as sweet as the teacher, of course. Wonderful post, a tip of the ol’ beanie from one of your biggest fans! : )

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