LEONARDTOWN, Md. — While some people used their quiet time during lockdown to binge watch Netflix, a young Lexington Park artist used the time to fuel her passion for art.

Zora Peterson is a 12-year-old 6th grader at the Chesapeake Public Charter School. Her work was recently displayed at the Spring Art Show at The Rex in Leonardtown. Quite an accomplishment for a young artist who just took up drawing seriously last summer.

While Zora enjoyed drawing like most children, it was a book she read last summer that really lit a creative fire. “I read a book called How to Draw Chibi, and I began to really love art.”

Chibi is the Japanese word for something short and it describes a caricature-based style of animation.

Zora said COVID-19 lockdown rules probably helped her discover her passion for art. “I didn’t have anything to do, so exploring art was pretty cool.”

She started following the step-by-step instructions for drawing characters in the book. Then she began to mix the clothes and hairstyles to create new characters. That evolved into exploring other styles of art and other mediums like painting.

Zora was inspired to try realism. “I saw a lot of things on Pinterest. I see something I like and want to create it, so I just do it.”

The young artist says she plans to pursue art as a career. “I want to do art when I’m older, I find it very enjoyable.  I’d like to do animation and create characters for a movie.”

Even if you don’t see yourself as an artist, Zora says to stay open. “Keep sticking with it. At first, I wasn’t into it. But now I am, I found the right art that I wanted to do.”