“I Taught Myself To Draw from YouTube and Local Dailies cartoons” says Kenyan Teacher

Joseph Njoroge showcasing some of his arts. PHOTO BY DENNIS ONSONGO

His love for art began at the age of 7 while a pupil in Marumi primary school in Muranga County.

Joseph Njoroge Maina, now a graduate with a degree in Education from Nairobi University has grown to be a celebrated artist in his home county among others  “When I was in school, I used to re-draw every cartoon in the daily newspapers and this made me perfect my skills, I would later use the drawings to decorate my cubicle” says the soft spoken Njoroge.

During his high school life in Karega Secondary school, Njoroge would find himself drawing teachers and images on the black board. This made him more prominent among his peers and members of the staff.  It is in this spirit of making each art better than the next that has made him a resilient figure in the field of art.

After drawing, he would send a few copies to fellow cartoonist who drew in the newspapers.  In 2004, his efforts started giving fruits. The current teacher at South Tetu girl’s high school in Nyeri met his mentor John Nyaga, then a cartoonist at Nation Media Group.

“Nyaga had loved my work from the mails I used to send him. Due to this he asked me to give a courtesy call at his work place, I was so much glad as this was proof that my art was good” says Njoroge  He further adds that after a long discussion, He encouraged him to keep on the good work as one day it would pay his bills.

Njoroge later joined Campus, but despite his tight schedule, he would still find time for his talent. Here, he drew his classmates for a fee of sh50 and this is how he made his first coin. Within no time his passion for art was known all round the Nairobi university Kikuyu campus and his customers had increased. From then he started charging a fee of between sh50 to Sh.100 per drawing.The fees raised from his works would later help him meet part of his basic needs.

It was during a drama festival for the universities that one of his friends, Patrick Ochiba asked him to do a back drop to be used for their play. This was one thing Njoroge had never done. But as the saying goes, never say never. He took up the challenge.

With no knowledge on how to mix up the colors, He turned to YouTube for a few days and learnt basics on color mixing and design for both Land scapes and potraits.This helped him to market his work to a bigger audience.

Up-to-date date, Njoroge visits YouTube to learn more on art and how to furnish his work  His biggest breakthrough came during the 2013 general election. Njoroge drew one of kigumo constituency spirants who bought the portrait at a cost of sh.15000.

This became the most expensive art he ever sold.  Three years now after he left campus, Njoroge landed the teaching job in Nyeri but did not stop doing what he loves most. To strengthen his efforts, He started an arts club at south Tetu girls. As his habit, he also drew fellow teachers and they loved his work.  Of recent, Njoroge has drawn Kenyan leaders among them, President Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, KNUT secretary General Wilson Sossion among others.

Today he appreciates YouTube for training him on how to do his work best as he works best to inspire the world through art.  Despite his good relationship with the aerelic paints, water colors, drawing pencils and brushes, Njoroge’s journey has not been smooth.  He blames the society of not appreciating all in favor of digital images.His biggest challenge has been market and purchase of expensive tools for his products.

A first born in a humble background of 5 children, Njoroge calls on the society to appreciate local talent and mentor young people from a tender age.

This, he says will be the easiest way to start eliminating unemployment.  His dream is to one day open an art school and nature young talents.

He can be found via email on story.joseyarts@gmail.com

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