Luckily for George S. Smith, a writer who lives in Arkansas, the Bedford County art teachers are a little more supportive than the norm.
"Our teachers were very encouraging," said Clinton George.
Clinton George and Chase Perryman, childhood friends and now business partners, have been making art their career for years now, ever since graduating from Nossi College of Art in Madison. Clinton works for the creative services division at National Pen and Chase works for Hayes Instrument, both using the design skills and artistic talent they have developed over the years.
"People don't realize when their kids are drawing that there is all this commercial application," said Chase.
"Most people don't even think about design, but it's everywhere," said Clinton. "Cereal boxes, web sites, everywhere you look, there's the work of a graphic designer."
Chase met George Smith through his work at Hayes. The Arkansas author liked Chase's artwork and asked him to illustrate a book he was writing, "Reveille," a story about family during the Civil War.
Later, he asked Chase if he could illustrate another one, a very special one.
"This was a story George gave to his children as a Christmas present 10 years ago," said Chase. "All of the characters, in one way or another, are his children."
The book, "The Tales of Splinterdorf," is a fantasy-science fiction children's tale about Splinterdorf, whose family has disappeared. She has to find them and learns about patience, persistence, love and tolerance along the way. She also has incredibly long ears, a single eye, and a various collection of physical oddities that presented a unique challenge to Chase.
"I read the book and bookmarked every place where a character was described," he said. "I realized that it was going to be very difficult to draw this creature from all these different angles, so I thought I'd make a model."
That's where Clint came in.
"I did the photos and the meshing," he said.
The result is like the story itself, a combination science and fantasy, with bizarre and appealing characters inhabiting an even more bizarre landscape. The art, like the book, is just plain fun.
When they aren't doing their primary jobs or their freelance work, the two Bedford County natives have plenty of other projects to keep them busy. They work together on a very funny monthly cartoon "Out of Plumb" for a surveying trade periodical. Chase is an aspiring musician and songwriter and Clinton makes his music videos.
Oh, yeah, and they both ride unicycles. It kind of makes you wonder just what they can't do.
"I'm not a very good cook," Chase laughed. "And according to my wife (Aubrey), I never turn the lights off when I leave the room."