UNION GROVE — Charlotte Hirth’s family is hitting the road this summer, and she wants some extra money for souvenirs.
But the shy fourth-grader isn’t really the type for a Kool-Aid booth. Your talents lie elsewhere.
She can draw. Almost everything.
So the artistic 9-year-old from Union Grove started a picture booth. She sits behind a table in her family’s driveway and offers passers-by to draw pictures of whatever they want.
You name it – Charlotte draws it for a fee of $1.
The young girl’s creative money-making idea has landed her a solid bankroll for souvenir shopping later this summer.
And her uncomplicated, childlike portraits of dogs, flowers and butterflies brighten people’s days and warm hearts.
People also read…
“I was like, ‘This is adorable,'” said Diane Trebiatowski, who saw Charlotte’s drawing picture business mentioned on Facebook and then rushed to the girl’s home to place an order.
Trebiatowski liked the portrait of her bulldog Penelope so much that she made it her Facebook profile photo and plans to have the original framed.
“I’m smitten,” she said.
Others on a Facebook group called “The Grove Community Group” have similarly shared pictures of their Charlotte originals, expressing admiration for the girl’s creativity.
“The whole world should support this little girl,” wrote David Guenzler.
“That made my whole day sweeter,” beamed Ali Knapp.
Many patrons have commissioned Charlotte to do portraits of their family dogs, while others have requested drawings as diverse as gnomes, blueberries, cats, and sunflowers.
Pretty much the only request the young artist has missed so far was a man’s Volkswagen – although she’s still tinkering with that too.
So far, her talent and ingenuity have netted her nearly $100.
Charlotte, who will be starting fourth grade at Union Grove Elementary School this fall, said she puts effort into every drawing. And she appreciates how people react to her finished product.
“I hope they see how much work I put into it — and it makes them happy,” she said.
Many people provide photos of their dogs or other subjects. From there, Charlotte lets her artistic instincts take over.
Charlotte’s mother, Shannon Hirth, said her daughter has always been artistic, from using crayons in preschool to school art projects and visiting museums.
As the 2022 summer vacation started and the family made plans for a trip to Florida, Charlotte tried selling soda and cookies to get some extra pocket money.
Then a grandmother gave Charlotte a new set of markers with 40 different colors. The young artist was inspired. The idea of drawing pictures for money soon matured.
Charlotte set up a small table at the end of the family’s driveway, and her little brother, JJ, began knocking on neighbors’ doors to promote his sister’s new business.
Soon Charlotte was making one drawing after another.
Her mother watched in amazement as Charlotte’s skills seemed to blossom and each client presented new challenges.
“Everyone has a different idea for something they’ve never drawn,” said Shannon. “She’s really creative.”
One of Charlotte’s clients is a teacher from a bygone era.
Jen Nelson, a Union Grove elementary school teacher, noticed chatter on Facebook about a little girl drawing pictures on demand. Then Nelson realized it was Charlotte, a student in Nelson’s 4K Kindergarten class about five years ago.
Many students tend to switch off and stop studying during the summer holidays, Nelson said. She’s excited to see Charlotte hone her artistic skills — especially in ways that touch other people’s lives.
“It’s pretty special what she’s doing,” Nelson said.
Nelson plans to frame her drawing of a teacher midget and hang it in her classroom.
Charlotte plans to use her income to find some stuffed animals or other souvenirs during the family’s trip to Florida.
Although she also enjoys soccer and has tried gymnastics and scouting, Charlotte said her experience drawing on demand this summer convinced her to focus more on the arts in the future.
“It’s always been my thing,” she says. “I think it might be my favorite thing to do.”
In photos: Union Grove fourth grader draws portraits for summer vacation money