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  • Writer's pictureMarissa Villescas

My Journey Into A Tiny World

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

The Painted Ladies (houses of San Francisco) and the Golden Gate Bridge Illustrated
San Francisco Tiny World

Never had I ever thought I would be an artist in my late 40’s When I started to doodle about ten or so years ago, in my late 30's, I felt my art was simply awful. The only thing I wanted to do was to learn to make shapes and pretty things on the corner of my paper. Sure, I could use a paintbrush and I could draw a very basic house, but I just wanted to be creative. I had often done crafts in my life and even owned my own soap company. I could follow directions of step by step kits. But something in me needed more.

I really wanted to be a person who knew what to do with all those different numbered pencils. 2B or not 2B, was that the pencil I should pick up? I wanted to take pretty colored pens and create a masterpiece on a random envelope or scrap of paper. Little did I know it just took a lot of practice. And I mean a lot.

A black and white pen drawing of houses all around the world
Tiny World Houses WIP


Nine years ago seemed to be the height of the doodle craze-right before the chalkboard craze, which I also wanted to participate in. I could go on and on about the creative crazes I have been through, attended, and bought all the equipment for, but this blog post is about art so with that said, I shall continue. It was also the year I needed to teach art to my homeschool daughter, who had been scarred by a previous art class at a brick and mortar school. Hello, zen doodles for children so they didn’t make a mess (how tragic), but that's a blog post for another day as well.

Back to the story- I needed to teach her skills of how to actually draw, so I bought a bunch of art books and got to work. We started out with still life drawings of stuffed animals and shading of food in the kitchen. We moved onto sidewalk chalk masterpieces, and blind contour drawings. It was quite fun to do. It was like I was in Elementary School again with my favorite teacher, cutting paper hearts, and drawing things in perspective.

A few unique buildings in San Francisco illustrated
San Francisco Tiny World

After a while I discovered I could draw a bit too. I then tried my hand at those Zen doodles. It turned out I liked it and I could use all the colored pens I wanted. It also gave me a great activity to do with the kids on a cold afternoon. Eventually, she went back to a brick and mortar school for a time in middle school and went on to run an art club. I feel like I must have been able to turn something around in her because she is now getting her degree in Art History at ASU. Proud mom moment, sorry. The point is, the whole experience opened my love of art and drawing.

Childhood Memories

The experience also unlocked part of my childhood that had not been as clear in memories; Carrying around a Richard Scary Busy Town book and sitting in the middle of a clothes rack at Joslin's department store in the mall to read it while my mom shopped. Or another memory of winning a Disney drawing contest at our local Blockbuster movie rental store. Or the moment in school when my perspective drawing of the Emerald castle from the Wizard of Oz, was hung on a star student board outside my 5th grade Art Room. Discovery of a lifetime that I had actually loved art all my life but needed the experience of teaching it to unlock a passion.

Illustrated buildings in Paris painted in watercolor
Paris Tiny World

Who I am now

Eventually, I found my way to my style and my whimsical art world of my tiny worlds. It's detailed and colorful and yes, really tiny (grateful for good eyeglasses as I age!). The style, like all artists, has come with more and more practice. I can finally look at other artists and not wish to draw like them. At this point in my life, I have seen different versions of myself, and I love them all, but the artist I have become is whimsical and wonderful, just like how I draw, and I‘m proud of her and her adventurous spirit.


May my art and tiny worlds lift you up, take you on a journey to see the good in the world, and remind you of the heart and soul in places of “home”.

Pen drawing of houses around the world
Tiny World Houses WIP


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