One day I had just finished teaching a library class when one of our regular patrons came up to me with a camera and asked if he could take my picture. I said yes but immediately wondered, “Why?” Smiling for the camera, I asked, “Why are you taking my picture?” He smiled as he replied, “For your portrait.”

Ah…the clues came together. I had seen portraits of coworkers popping up on desks. Not too many days later a pencil and charcoal drawing of my face appeared on my desk. I was amazed at his skill, especially that he had even captured my expression. (You know, the “why are you taking my picture?” expression). He also caught the one wonky curl I usually have.

Two of my student volunteers were also impressed. He drew their portraits and another of me as well. I love that he draws for sheer love of it, and I consider it a beautiful gift of time and talent. Guangyu Liu likes to draw smiling faces and is willing to draw yours! Contact him at if you’d like to have him draw your portrait, but be prepared: it will be lifelike (which might include dark circles under eyes and wrinkles).

Heather Nitzel is the Crestview Public Library's youth services librarian.