6 Things That Influenced My Art

Or: Now You’re Just the Fanart That I Used to Draw

I wrote about my inspirations before, in a previous blog post. Today I want to talk about the shows, games, and movies that made me pick up a pencil and draw.

When you first start learning how to draw, the natural thing to do is to copy those who have done it better than you, right? Actually, yeah. For a while. As long as you don’t try to be the kid that says, “Look at this story I completely made up on my own!” That’s a dick move.

But if you’re copying and you’re like, “Look how well I drew this other cartoon!” That’s ok. That’s how people learn to draw at first.

For me, these were the things that got me to draw. These were the things I drew over and over, and these things still influence the look of my art to this day.


Dragonball Z

The first influence on my art was this show. I drew so much (bad) fanart for this series I could have made my own graphic novel out of it. I especially drew the villains, notable Cell, Buu, and Raditz, because their designs were (and still are) pretty outrageous but fun.

There’s still a touch of the style in how I draw eyes sometimes, or how I draw body language. You can actually see a little of the influence in this early Johnson & Sir strip.

jak and daxter

Jak II

This game probably still holds the most influence to this day. I mean, the banter between the villain’s minions is what inspired Johnson & Sir, for Pete’s sake. And you can still see the elf ears carry over in the comic, as well.

Also, looking at the concept art for this game is what got me into drawing with markers. The colors in this game are just gorgeous, and the gritty, mechanical environment design is something I may drawn on when I work on The Uthers (working title, mentioned in this post).


the emperor's new groove

The Emperor’s New Groove

I didn’t draw the characters or scenarios from this movie in my sketchbooks. But the colors and unique line quality still had a subliminal influence on me. I watched this movie on repeat for a long time, and during that time, I could see my art begin to get more colorful and vibrant.

This film touched me more obviously in my writing style than in my art. There’s something to be said for its silliness, its characters, and its well-paced jokes.

chou from rurouni kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

So Dragonball Z was the first artistic influence on me. Rurouni Kenshin is the second. To be honest, though, I didn’t start drawing the characters until the Jupon Gatana showed up. And then I went nuts in my sketches.

This show is where I got my line quality from, and where I got a lot of TERRIBLE costume ideas. I’m glad those ideas fell by the wayside as I got older.

I also practiced the swords from this series a lot. While a few of them are not very realistic (Chou’s whip-like sword seems the most improbable to me), the ones that were were fun to practice.

hunter x hunter

Hunter X Hunter

This is perhaps the newest on the list, because I didn’t discover this series until the later years of high school. I still flip through some of my more recent sketchbooks and see sketches of Gon, Hisoka, or any member of the Phantom Troupe. I especially drew Uvo over and over, because men who are built like tanks fascinate me.

This is also the manga that influenced how I draw faces. A lot of expressions and proportions I practiced came straight from the pages of this series. Noses especially caught my eye, because almost every character in the series has a different type of nose.

The other day, I took some of my old sketches from my sketchbooks and made collages. A lot of those sketches were Hunter x Hunter sketches. That, and the last feature on this list…

kingdom hearts 2 final mix

Kingdom Hearts II

Not so much the first game, but the second game in the series had a hold on me for years. Sure, it’s awesome to see a lot of Disney worlds in a video game. However, I was especially fascinated with Organization XIII, and they frequently appeared in my sketches I made years ago.

Many of them had similar face shapes, but Xigbar I drew over and over because I wanted to master his cheekbones and chin. His face stood out the most from the rest of the Organization. Xaldin also appeared a lot in my sketches because I wanted to draw his braids/dreadlocks and sideburns until I got them right. Luxord was especially challenging (at the time) because his face was so square, but it had the best beard. And his piercings are still a carry-over in a few of my character sketches, notably those for Charlie & Clow.

So those were the features that got me drawing in my early halcyon days of illustration. Nowadays I draw influences from many different sources. But these features listed here were what got me started.

So what got you started drawing? Who or what did you draw a lot of when you started drawing? Do you still like those works? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday – where I’ll finally have a book to feature for a review!