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"You're a what?" I hadn't heard the title before and I wanted to make sure I understood correctly.

"I'm a Creativity Engineer."

"I thought you were an artist. Or is Creativity Engineer a new title for artist?"

Before I continue, I want to say that there are many talented people in this town. Some want to be heard, known, have their say-so, and so forth. But some of them quietly, yet dynamically, go about their business and never puff themselves up or draw attention to themselves. Rich is one of these people.

Nice pun -- draw attention -- because Rich Davis is a professional artist, designer, and illustrator. And I would be remiss if I didn't add: He is GOOD at it!

I met Rich several years ago and still see him on Sunday mornings, but I didn't know his vocational background. When I needed an artist to speak for the Siloam Springs Writers Guild, several people told me to go talk with Rich. I finally made an appointment with him, and met at his house for coffee.

Rich attended the University of Memphis, and earned his BFA in the field of Graphic Design. Soon after, he received a call from DaySpring, asking him to come to Siloam Springs for an interview. His wife, Angie, and Rich prayed about it because they wanted to make sure it was God's will for their lives.

They accepted the offer in 1987, and Rich worked as an illustrator for DaySpring for 21 years.

As Rich refilled my coffee, I asked, "So you left DaySpring in 2008? That's the year Carol and I moved to Siloam Springs. What do you do now?"

"Working largely out of my home, I am a free-lance illustrator in children's books, greeting cards and other media." Rich combines the strengths of both traditional and digital art which gives him greater flexibility for uses in the market place.

But his passion is in teaching children to develop their creativity through drawing activities. Rich draws with them, showing them how, which makes it fun for them.

Needing a fun activity to engage children's creativity during his programs, he developed a simple art game called Pick and Draw (pickanddraw.com; $10). The goal is to draw a cartoon face by combining the different cards. There are over 60,000 possibilities! It has been extremely effective and this game is now being enjoyed all over the world, even in countries that do not speak English.

Rich views art as a universal language, and I agree with him. Some schools in India have even used Pick and Draw to teach English words -- which generates great delight and big smiles.

Rich never dreamed he would have the opportunity to draw with thousands of children all over the United States in public schools, libraries, homeschool art camps, and even on the governor's lawn for the first lady's literary festival. After nine years of doing this work, he still finds that art is an amazingly effective way to teach children and invest in their future.

The Pick and Draw game was used by so many people in so many ways that he published a compilation of these activities in a picture-filled book called, The Big Book of Pick and Draw (amazon). Activities include help for autism spectrum, physical therapy, creative narrative writing, art education, homeschool, Christian missions, and group ice-breaker activities.

Rich reminded me that everyone enjoyed drawing as a child. He said, "People usually stopped drawing when they compared their drawing with someone else and decided theirs was not as good. Or someone else gave them a negative message about their art. Then, giving up on their efforts, they left something they enjoyed -- depriving themselves of something that gave them an opportunity to create, and would have fueled creativity in other areas of their life."

"So that's why you call yourself a Creativity Engineer instead of an artist?"

"Yes. I believe that's the calling God has given me."

Our discussion went much deeper than what I can put here, but I'll say this: as I was leaving, Rich volunteered to pray for me. And through that prayer, God spoke to me and gave guidance relating to a decision Carol and I had on our mind.

Find more about Rich Davis (portfolio; product and services) at: http://artbyrichdavis.com

GENE LINZEY IS A SPEAKER, AUTHOR, MENTOR AND PRESIDENT OF THE SILOAM SPRINGS WRITERS GUILD. SEND COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS TO MASTERS.SERVANT@COX.NET. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.

Editorial on 04/04/2018

Print Headline: Rich Davis -- Artist and Creativity Engineer

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