I remember the exact moment I thought picking up a pencil and drawing might be fun. Actually there were two moments, but this was the first one. It was a visit to my 5th grade school library. I had no idea what book I wanted to checkout but since class time was allotted to finding one, I perused what was available. In the end I selected what was an instructional book on cartooning which showed the basic process beginning with simple geometry and fine tuning the likeness of the character from there. I was mesmerized. Looking back, it is kind of humorous since it was such a rudimentary book, but it pulled me in. Not long after that I started drawing simple characters and doodling. I realized that you could create anything you wanted to on a blank sheet of paper and with a pencil. This was still just a seed that really hadn’t been watered. However it was my first reaction to what would be a life long hobby and passion.
Fast forward a few years and I ran into my brothers comic book collection. Geekdom soon became a reality. Not only did comic books become a mainstay of my childhood, but the characters were so cool. It was the first time I had been introduced to what I would later come to realize as “sequential art”. I was hooked. I began to read about characters like Spiderman, Doctor Doom, The Avengers, The X-Men, The Fantastic 4, and all the arch enemies that came with them. I read Marvel titles, and then DC titles. A new world of mythology opened up to me. I say mythology because I actually did have an interest in that at the same time. Hercules, The Titans, Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Jason & The Argonauts, etc.. As cool as they were, comic books soon replaced that interest!
The tipping point came later. You see, every younger brother eventually goes through his older brothers belongings. Right or wrong, its just something that happens. One day I was rummaging, and I struck gold. It was a book called How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way. As I opened that book and turned the pages, it became apparent that there was a science and an art to the thing I had been enjoying. A book on how to draw characters through line of action, form, perspective, anatomy and a host of other visual tools used by artists. It provided a comparison of size and proportion to define the hero from the non hero form. I saw shading, forced perspective, beautiful drawings and simple thumbnail doodles used to flesh out the ideas before going larger. I remember thinking that this was the coolest shit I’ve seen. It stuck with me and showed me that I could do that someday myself. I studied that book intensely. Every page and it became a holy grail to me.
Pencil & paper soon became items I was never without. They were mainstays. I started drawing intensely and at the same time began to realize the frustrations that come along with it. Why could’t I draw better and why can’t learn faster? It was a personal endeavor but I was alone with my thoughts and creations. There was no basis of comparison other than the professional art work that I saw in the book and the comics I was reading. Their stuff was light years ahead of mine. There were no other kids I knew with the same hobby. Keep in mind, this was before the internet so forget about that. It wasn’t until I got into middle school that there were others that shared some of the same hobbies. It was also the first real art class I was able to take. Despite the frustrations, I kept at it. The thing I didn’t realize at the time is that no matter how good your stuff is, you think it isn’t good enough. You think it isn’t where it should be and you think that the other guy is somehow doing better than you. This is funny because he’s thinking the same thing. Its good to reflect on those things from time to time. It helps give you perspective on where you are now.
So I progressed through art classes and college classes on art, design, anatomy, color theory and a whole host of other topics. I watched countless videos on how others do their work. I developed an appreciation for my own favorite artists . I watched tutorials and tips & tricks. I got into computer software and digital drawing & painting tools. I never forgot the traditional tools of graphite, coal, conte, ink, and paints. Art has been with me since I was a kid and provided the kind of enjoyment that lasts and allows you to continually improve. With that, I’d like to dedicate this blog to those of you out there that share those passions and endeavors. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and what I’ve learned with the hopes that you will find it helpful and as a basis for you to expand upon it.