Haj Mirza taught Farshchian how to draw a gazelle. “When I got home, I was so excited,” Farshchian recalls. “I stayed up all night and drew about 200 gazelles: big ones, little ones....I felt like something was changing within me.” The next day, he took his portfolio to show the gazelles to Haj Mirza, who could not believe his eyes. He asked if Farshchian had drawn them all by himself or if he had traced them. “No, sir, I’d never do that. I just drew them,” Farshchian answered. Haj Mirza instructed Farshchian to draw a gazelle in his presence. After finishing quickly, Haj Mirza kissed him on the forehead and said, “You’ll become great! Work hard.”
Farshchian became Haj Mirza’s apprentice and continued to draw in pencil for four more years, mostly emulating Timurid and Safavid drawings. Then Farshchian began to study painting. Eventually, the precocious boy was helping carry out the studio's commissions. The gazelle still holds a special place in Farshchian’s heart and appears throughout his body of work.
"I always got a perfect score, 20/20, in drawing, composition, literature, and other abstract lessons. Unfortunately, I was so untalented when it came to math."