Monday, December 20, 2010

Edition Two: Of Ninja, Samurai &Sensei

The We Back Edition
Edition Two: Of Ninja, Samurai, and Sensei…

Sketchbook Page: Micron pens and sharpie markers

Deljuan has been riding me all semester. Tellin’ me he can outdraw me. Explaining to me that while I am an artist he is an artiste’. Whatever that means… Still I am not surprised so much by his bravado. No all teachers and so called masters of the arts are called out and tested. From Ogami Ito to the Iron Chefs to Billy the Kid to Bruce Lee someone is always ready to test the skills of an artist. No I was shocked by his youth. Deljuan is a seventh grade student of mine. For two quarters I have listened to him tease and try me. So at last on the second to last day of school I accepted his challenge. A drawing contest to decide once and for all who was the best artist in first period Art I7. He chose the subject: Ninja. I laughed. I been drawing Ninja twice as long as this boy has been living. I grinned. I recently returned to sketching Ninja in preparation for illustrating Blak Fox. I smirked.
Of course Deljuan did a very nice pencil drawing of a ninja with a ripped tunic and rippling stomach muscles, arm foreshortened, throwing a shuriken. Good range of value considering he was drawing on newsprint. I chose to draw using pens. Ive been thinking a lot about blacks and finding planes of dramatic shadow from fluid form. More importantly it was an opportunity for a teachable moment. I learned that I must warm up my hand as much as my thoughts. I gestured out three thumbnails using a XS Micron pen. My fourth gesture produced an arch typical Frank Miller inspired Ninja. By this sketch I had moved up to an F (fir Fine)Micron to get some fuller and varied outlines and contours. Finally I came in with the B Micron (for Brush) and blacked out deep shadow and dramatic form. The final sketch I did as the character Assassin Ninja created as a foil for Blak Fox by my brother decades ago. Just a good ninja squat pose.
Well Deljuan looked at both our works and told me I had tools in my favor. I told him no I have Process. And process is learned from observed repetition and adaption. Though he didn’t understand what I meant he understood I knew and understood something he did’t about drawing and he needs that knowledge from me. He found humility and drew silently for the next two days, stopping only to get my comment on his progress. A student is born.

Reading this joint for Book Club. First twenty pages have given a incredible narrative voice to the declining faculties brought on by dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. But I love the cover the most. A visual that typifies the scattered days as the mind looses cohesion. I watched my Grandmother succumb to dementia before she passed. We were reintroduced repeatedly until I simply was the young man looking after her that day. But I also learned that she played basketball in high school and that she was good too. Walter Mosley continues to impress me.

Oh Shit Almost Forgot!!!
Went to the Atlanta ComicCon two weeks ago. More about that next time. And John Byrne’s NextMen are back!!!