One SoCal dad is drawing big crowds during the state's stay-at-home order. But don't worry — this artist's drawing parties are social distancing-approved.
Donnie Leverette is one of the millions of parents and guardians tasked with homeschooling his children after the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close.
Leverette's wife Tiffany — a second-grade teacher in the Beaumont Unified School district — came up with an idea to supplement art class at home: lockdown drawing parties.
On the first day of lockdown Tiffany already had their two children at the kitchen table, which she had turned into a classroom setup. She told her husband, "Hey, Dad. I need you to do an art class."
Donnie, who has worked as a tattoo artist for 15 years in San Bernardino County, took to Facebook to ask his friends if they'd be interested in a virtual drawing party for their kids.
"We went on and it just exploded and everyday it's just gotten bigger and bigger. And we do a little competition during, where whoever gets the most likes gets to pick the art for the next day," Donnie said.
The drawing parties are now regularly livestreamed on Facebook Live, where Donnie demonstrates how to draw different cartoon characters — including Mickey Mouse, Chip 'n' Dale and Pikachu — as his "students" try to mimic his sketches.
Following the sessions, Donnie has his "lockdown locos" post a photo of their finished masterpieces in the comments section.
The Leverette's children — Callie and Jaxx — often co-host with dad on the livestreams. But, the drawing lessons aren't just for youngsters or locals.
"We've got adults that follow along. We got kids, teenagers, all ages," Donnie said. "As long as you're doing it step by step, anybody can draw."
You could say that art runs in Leverette's family. His grandfather — a hot rod builder — taught him to draw when he was a child.
"I used to sit on his lap and he would draw little Looney Tunes or race cars and he got me into it. He'd enter me into all kinds of coloring competitions at these car shows and that's what really got the wheels turning," he recalled.
Now, Leverette is passing that artistic talent on to his children — and anyone who logs on for a free lesson.
Whether you consider yourself a natural born artist or not, grab a pencil and paper and click here to join one of Donnie's lockdown drawing parties online.