Some people are born with a knack or natural talent for certain things, from sports to music to math to art. At some point, it becomes hard to differentiate between people who are highly trained and people who are naturally gifted, but occasionally a person's innate abilities are abundantly clear.
Such is the case with Trent, a 24-year-old artist who has gathered a huge following with his on-request animal mash-up drawings. Trent has over a million followers on TikTok. He also has level 3 autism, which impacts his ability to communicate and necessitates help and support with day-to-day functioning. Trent's parents are his caregivers, and they use TikTok to help Trent share his art, champion his work and answer people's questions about autism.
Autistic people sometimes have unique talents, which can manifest as special abilities in memory, math, music, spatial awareness and more. Trent's parents say he started drawing at as soon as he could hold a pencil. He used to draw on everything—walls, furniture, toys, as well as paper—and his favorite thing to draw is animals. His parents nurtured and encouraged this love of drawing, and when you see how effortlessly he draws people's animal mash-up requests, you can see why.
In a recent video, Trent drew a "disco zebra with an afro," a "boxing gorilla" (which he interpreted a bit differently) and a "tiger butterfly." Watch:
Check out Trent’s art and merch in his store! #autistic #artist #fyp #trenttok
No pencil sketches. No erasing. No re-doing. Trent is able to draw what he sees in his mind's eye, using a permanent marker to make a line drawing of it in seconds. It's mesmerizing to watch.
People have asked if Trent ever makes a mistake and starts over. His dad says no.
"We have never seen him, in 24 years, crumple up a piece of paper and throw it away and start over," he says.
Very seldomly, he'll draw a line and then shift his idea, never going back to incorporate that line. But otherwise, he just draws.
Check out the recent drawings he's been doing of groups of animals with different facial expressions:
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Trent doesn't always use a Sharpie—he usually draws in pen. (Why use a pencil if you don't make mistakes?)
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And his drawings can get really interesting and creative as well. For instance, here it looks like he made the animals wear their noses and snouts as hats:
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Trent has been impressing people with his cartoon animal drawings for many years. This video of him drawing chalk animals on the family trampoline went viral in 2017:
Trent now has a coloring book, a children's book (written by his parents and illustrated by Trent), and greeting cards for sale. The Drawings by Trent website also sells t-shirts and explains the purpose of the online store:
"At Drawings by Trent we want to encourage families to help their children achieve their full potential, educate communities on the important role individuals of all skill and ability levels play, and inspire everyone to discover and use their own talents. Part of accomplishing those objectives involves helping Trent become a productive member of society while doing something he loves (that's what we all want, right?). When you purchase a piece of Trent's art you are not only supporting him, you're giving families hope."
It's great when anyone gets to do what they love and get recognized for it. Check out the Drawings by Trent TikTok channel for more.