Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Doing What You Love

I interviewed a medical doctor today that's never practiced. It seems Don Stewart had taken a drawing class while in pre-med and he fell in love -- with drawing.
He had finished med school and was training as a surgeon when he realized he was in the wrong profession. In the middle of his shift, he walked out. When one of the other doctors told him his shift was not over, he told them "it is for me, because I don't work here anymore" and he walked away.
When he told his dad that he'd walked away, the elder Stewart was not happy, to say the least. 
But Don had financed his training through college loans, and he told his father he really didn't have a voice in the decision.
That was 25 years ago, and Stewart has never looked back. It took him 15 years of drawing to pay off his student loans, but he said that drawing made him happy and that day in the operating room, he knew that medicine never would.
His art is not considered art in the "art" community because he draws with a ballpoint pen. 
In this video Don walks you through his drawing of a golf bag. His art is a compilation of visual puns.  He does a much better job of explaining than I ever could.

He also did a piece that's called "Uncommon Valor" and from a distance it looks like a pen and ink sketch of the famous picture taken at Iwo Jima near the end of WWII. But in fact, the drawing is a complete history of the Marine Corps. 
He sells limited edition prints of this work and donates 1/2 the profits to the Marine's Wounded Warrior Regiment. 
I could have stayed and talked to Don Stewart all day. He is a fascinating individual. He is someone who can look you in the eye and tell you that he's doing what he loves.
You can learn more about Don Stewart at:


  1. That's really cool. My daughter wants to be an artist when she gets older. Her preferred medium is the ballpoint too, although she isn't allowed to use it at school.

  2. Way cool. What a brave guy who walked away from a lucrative career to do what he loved. I always told my kids to do what they felt passionate about and it seems to have worked.


  3. Anonymous9:14 PM

    That is so creative. It took real guts to walk away from a sure thing. Good for him.

  4. Anonymous9:51 PM

    I think somewhere in everyone lives Don Stewart.He can be small not noticable he can be big as life..My parents had a friend..lady who was a succesfull buisseness woman (the standard thing greta house great car and what some thought great partner) One day on teh way to work and stuck in trafic she decided to drive in opposite direction and went for a trip,no ,no not in 80 dayas but 732:) She came back ..happy:)

  5. I love his work. Especially the fish.

  6. This story will make many of us feel envious, I suspect. How many of us are doing what we feel passionate about? What a talented man!

  7. That was awesome! I love pen and ink drawings. It's one of my favorite mediums. I wish I'd have had the courage to do what I loved when I was younger - but I never thought I was good enough. If I'd have just worked at it with confidence I probably would have been. Confidence can take you a long way. Now I just do my art for fun and it still gives me a lot of joy. His story was fascinating - thanks for sharing that!

  8. I think that is why retired people are so happy...... they can finally do what they have always wanted to do. What a pity they didn't walk away from the operation as Stewart did. (Why do parents want their kids to be doctors? I sure never did)

  9. Gostei muito de conhecer seu blog seu blog, e ja estou seguindo. Convido a conhecer meu blog e seguir-me se gostares. Um abra├žo!


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required