Written by: Kevin Ward | Photographed by Emily Martian
It was a frigid and icy January day when I found myself sitting across from a tall wild-haired young man who was enjoying a beer and making good use of his drafting pens to enhance an unattended scrap of paper with his art. This pen-wielding man and I knew each other before this particular day, in fact, you could say we are friends, but like most sane people he would never admit this fact in public. His given name is Peter Deligdisch, and being the good friend I am, I only had to ask him twice how to spell Deligdisch. You see he has a moniker he is better known by, Peter Draws, which is his artist name and YouTube channel.
As Peter continued to draw and sip his fermented beverage I felt the proper thing to do was start asking questions; that seemed the thing to do in an interview. First off was when did he start down the solely disreputable path of an artist? “I started in Kindergarten, like most people,” Peter told me, but if you mean my current style, that started in high school. He went on to say that he would draw instead of taking notes in class, “I probably should have taken notes and just doodled in the margins, but I didn’t.” Peter considered his drawings as nothing more than doodles, but his classmates seemed to disagree and saw them as works of great art. Peter went on to tell me that he still views his art this way, doodles that take more time, but doodles nonetheless. His fans and I disagree with him on this particular issue; if his art is mere doodles then Van Gogh pieces are crayon drawings.
Peter has a successful YouTube channel in which he shows off his art to millions of people across the world, but like most things, it started small. He told me he began his channel “Peter Draws” while in high school with nothing more than a cheap point and click camera. “I always liked time lapse artwork videos, and wanted to make my own,” Peter said.
When asked what it took to grow his YouTube channel to where it is now, “You have to promote yourself”, he said as if dispensing some ancient wisdom. He expanded on this concept to further enlighten me: he would post his videos on Reddit himself, knowing he could not expect others to do it for him. Soon his videos were getting over 100,000 views and other people were sharing his stuff without him having to lift a finger.
Peter’s videos run the gamut; he may just draw a beautiful surreal image in pen and ink or use a palette knife to create Fractal Expressionism acrylic painting while dressed as a monk, and sometimes he just switches to food and teaches how to make a proper grilled cheese with an iron. Among the most recent highlights of his ever-growing channel, he was contacted by Netflix to do promotional art for their new movie BRIGHT. About this same time Peter headed up a community mural at the CAM. He created a wonderful time-lapse video of all the talented people who added their art to it.
Doing my best to channel a hint of professionalism from myself, I asked him what is his favorite medium is these days. While finishing up his drawing with his pen, he pointed to it and told me that still to this day nothing is better to him then Pen and Ink. Now, these favorite tools of his are no regular art pens that you can grab at a crafting store, they are Rotring drafting pens. With these very pens, he creates monochromatic masterpieces that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
As graceful as a drunk person trying to plug in a phone charger, I segued the conversation towards Peter’s future plans. He got a mad glint in his eye when I asked, almost like he had been waiting all day for this very question and I had fallen right into his trap. He started by saying “Well, I want to see my channel continue to grow, really see it become a force in the online art world.” Peter made it clear that when all is said in done that he hopes Peter Draws will be mentioned in the same breath as the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: I mean they both have fantastic hair. On a more local scene, Peter wants to do a small scale art show here in Wilmington. He is looking for the right venue and is open to suggestion on the matter. I suggested the nearby McDonald’s, but he didn’t seem to jump on that idea at this juncture. Even grander than this versatile artist has goals of doing an art show in one of North Carolina’s many fine art museums. Having one’s creation displayed on the walls of a museum or gallery is one of art’s oldest goals.
So let’s say that you are hooked, you want to see more of this Peter guy’s art, and maybe hear his calming voice for yourself, or perhaps you want to send him some venue suggestions for the earlier mentioned art show. Well here is how you can do all that, both his YouTube and Instagram accounts are called Peter Draws. Just look them up and give the subscribe (or follow) button a tap, and then you can see his art and videos when posted.
The questions done, his beer finished, and the once empty piece of paper filled with art, Peter bade me farewell and started walking towards the nearest exit. As he walked out the door I yelled my parting words, which was to suggest the nearest Taco Bell as an art show venue. Again, he did not seem keen on that venue at this time, but I am sure he just needs to ponder it for a bit.