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Get ready to have your heart broken, because this is the saddest thing you’ll read all day.

Everything was going so well for 12-year-old Michael Chang yesterday afternoon. He was drawing a horse at school, and it was turning out great, with a strong, clear outline and a nice sense of perspective. But just when Michael seemed to have drawn a pretty decent picture of a horse, disaster struck as the kid completely overdid it on the shading and basically ruined the whole picture.


Devastating. He was so close to having a nice picture of a horse, and then it all fell apart.

After sketching out a halfway-decent horse with well-drawn eyes and a long, beautiful mane, Michael went and fucked the whole thing up by shading the animal into complete and utter oblivion. Looking at the completed picture, you have to wonder what was going through the kid’s brain, with shadows that completely contradict his own placement of the sun and so much graphite used on the horse’s torso that it smears wildly outside the lines. A drawing that at one point had the potential to be laminated—completely destroyed in the blink of an eye.

The head-to-body ratio of Michael’s horse was actually pretty good for a 12-year-old, but not even perfect proportions could have saved this picture from Michael’s tragic shading job. What started as a fairly impressive horse was quickly reduced to a horselike smudge, and the situation only worsened with each passing minute. As Michael grew increasingly invested in the drawing before him, he became even more aggressive with the shading, getting up from his chair no fewer than three times to sharpen his pencil and even shaking out his wrist sporadically to prevent it from cramping. Before long, the horse’s fairly realistic face—previously the drawing’s greatest asset—had been shaded beyond repair.

A drawing once destined for prime real estate on Ms. Gunvalson’s wall, now relegated to a life in the trash. He was so, so close.


You hate to see defeat snatched from the jaws of victory like that. At its highest point, Michael’s horse looked so impressive that someone at his table asked if he had traced it. It’s heartbreaking to think about what might have been had he only eased up a little on the shading. Better luck next time, Michael. We’ll be rooting for you.

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