The very first memory I can recall, of the first time I took a pencil to paper for artistic purposes was in 1st grade. I can’t remember what special day or event it was for, but everyone was asked to draw and design their own individual masks. Later on that week, all of the 1st graders would dawn their hand made creations, and as a group, proceed with the teacher in a single-file line passing by all of the other classrooms where the ‘big kids’ watched as we paraded on by. I believe I remember this event so vividly because of how focused I was at making the best possible mask I could. I remember that I put what felt like an infinite amount of circles all around the eyes while adding various shapes of various sizes to elaborate on the chin and nostril areas. Lastly, to the best of my ability I colored that mask with fiery passion. In retrospect, I believe that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that I was starting to develop with the right side of my brain.
Besides the limited amount of time our teacher spent teaching us about art, I never really had much of an opportunity to continue my creative streak at home. It wasn’t until I finally played Super Mario Bros 3 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, did I begin to become fascinated with the artistic style. I took the small book that the video game came with, and had myself trace the images I found in there. Sadly, most of the images in the books were in black and white. Not only that, but seldom was I able to see through such thick paper in order to trace the images behind them. Regardless, I stuck to it, and thanks to my mom seeing my desire to work on artwork at home, she helped feed my passion by buying me various types of media. One of which was a blessing in disguise: tracing paper.
Once I had tracing paper, it fueled my passion to trace images from my video game books. Even when we’d go to Blockbuster or Hollywood video, I would be inspired to trace the images found in the booklets that came with the rental of the games. This desire to trace from video game books eventually led me to a desire to draw things free hand, which also began to lead me to drawing images from TV shows that I recorded (with those ancient VCR tapes). Back then, video games were seemingly the primary inspiration of all of my artwork. Strangely enough, I believe that it was initially my 1st grade passion for art that helped mold me into a gamer, as well. The artistic style of video game art and concept seemed so easy, simplistic, and the fact that the characters had a sense of depth and, well, character – also assisted in shaping me to become a gamer.
Interestingly, even today, my artwork is still overwhelmingly influenced by video games. More often than not, when I think about drawing my own original character vice fan art (recreating popular/streamline characters in your own, original, artistic style) – I usually tend to lean onto the side of fan art. The fact that the characters are already ‘alive’ with a sense of story, plot, and personality also adds to the ease of drawing. Sadly, due to copyright infringement and penalties, it’s not always wise to try to sell and/or profit from fan art pieces.
Regardless of the matter, so long as producing pieces of artwork continues to be one of my long-term hobbies, so will being a gamer. Video games inspire me artistically, and until that connection is severed or until I am no longer passionate about art, these two things will always continue to define, as well as inspire me.