Influence Map Meme Picture

Lots of materiel to cover here. My artistic and literary influence is typically paired with a character I latched onto in my past that I learned from simultaneously or could relate to. That's why it looks simply like a collage of boyhood heroes.... Cuz it kinda is. Anyway:

1. The Bible
Being a Christian is my primary identity, so it's natural that the Bible influences and governs my creativity. From the epic tales, astounding supernatural descriptions, or lessons to be learned, the Bible is a treasure trove of inspiration that lends itself to great character writing and design. In regard to my storytelling, the Bible has taught me the importance of attention to detail, that even righteous characters can fall hard, do not to shy away from the ugly side of life, and keep Christ as the centerpiece.

2. Ryu (Street Fighter- Masaomi Kanzaki, Kinu Nishimura)
Street Fighter is what got me to learn to draw anime properly. Both the Street Fighter 2 animated movie and the comics drawn by Masaomi Kanzaki were poured over like a grad student by my young eye. Additionally, I idolized Ryu as a teen. I could relate to his personality, yet he was everything I wanted to be. Ryu embodied the importance of focus, self-discipline, friendship and dealing with one's inner demons. Through Ryu I was reminded that power can also be gentle.

3. Megaman (Keiji Inafune)
I loved Megaman as a young boy and tried to emulate Keiji Inafune's drawing style very early on. Via Megaman I learned simplified gestures and designs. Nothing really philosophical here, except maybe balancing the ludicrous with drama and comedy.

4. Optimus Prime
What boy from the 80s didn't love Prime? I clearly remember in thew 1st grade, taking a Transformers comic and replicating and memorizing how to draw Prime. It taught me to draw believable machines, cybernetics, and how they might work. Prime was my first real experience with a larger than life leader archetype. Lessons he embodied still stick with me today. The biggest one I even use today in the Air Force is never ask your troops to do something you yourself would not do.

5. Yamcha (Akira Toriyama)
Yamcha's character grew on me immensely. He was an underdog yet still ridiculously powerful. He was afraid of women (like me!). He was polite and also had terrible luck. Yamcha's character taught me that good characters can be overlooked in the public eye depending on the audience. Additionally, Toriyama reinforced that comic paneling, at times, can be viewed as simply as storyboards for an animated sequence. So draw it like it's on TV.

6. Zack and Aerith (Tetsuya Nomura)
Final Fantasy VII had a profound impact on me, both in art style by Tetsuya Nomura, and in storytelling. It cam at a very fragile time in my life, which made it even more amazing to me. To me, Zack and Aerith embody the perfect couple, torn apart by tragedy. Zack's character reminded me how much a good, caring man can influence those around him and yet not need the spotlight, as I figured out his personality by reading between the lines of Cloud's inconsistencies. Aerith simply reminded me how a pure heart can lift everyone around that person.

7. Bugs Bunny
Bugs is awesome. Comedic timing, sardonic wit, and sometimes even irreverent humor. Bugs taught me that a good cartoon can be for all ages and appreciated on multiple levels, and yet maintain its innocence. There are jokes I didn't get until I was an adult.

8. My wife
My wife, a fellow artist, has been a big artistic influence on me. She could tell stories of how my proportions were awful, especially on my females, when we first met and how much I've improved. My wife is my biggest critic, and yet my biggest supporter. She is a sounding board for my ideas and has great taste to boot. She never hesitates to tell me when my ideas are poorly conceived, or just need work. If there's anything I've learned from her, it's just have fun and forget about people's opinions.

9. Batman (Michael Keaton)
Batman the movie was my first real exposure to the idea of a dark super hero. Batman in the 80s, at least for kid's stuff, smiled. This was something new and it was great. Also, Keaton does not look like Batman. He's the last one you'd expect. And when he puts on the cowl, he IS Batman. Mastering the concept of a secret identity looking nothing like the hero is genius. I was never interested in Bat until this movie. Batman via comics and Tim Burton, taught me that inner conflict can be expressed rather than spoken.

10. J.L. Garcia-Lopez (Superman)
Garcia-Lopez is a master draftsman. If you've seen any DC comics promotional art from the 80s, it's likely his. His 30 year old art is still used today on Tshirts and even school supplies. This man's ability blows me away and still managed to catch my eye amidst the hyper-shadowed cross-hatching of the comics in the 90s. His style taught me that learning the human form and gesture, and a gentle use of shadow goes farther than flashy poses. His art still trumps most comics I see nowadays.

11. Castlevania
Castlevania entranced me with its blend of mythology and cool art, with a pinch of pseudo-christianity. I learned how to draw dynamic action shots via man of the covers for the games. I also learned a lot about Dualism, and how just because God and Christianity is vaguely touched on does not make it correct. And you can throw a lot of unrelated ideas into a pot and come out with something fun.

12. Luke Skywalker
Plain and simple, I learned character growth from Luke. I always liked his character, but I learned someone can start out as a whiny, wide-eyed boy and turn into a calculating warrior. I also learned that good guys CAN wear all black and look awesome. As nerdy as it sounds, I first started wearing black after seeing Return of the Jedi.

13. Jim Lee (X-Men)
I figure most of my artistic generation was influenced by Jim Lee. I spent most of my pre-anime days trying to emulate him, cross-hatching and all. I drew Wolverine more times than I could count. I could draw his mask in my sleep. And Jim Lee is responsible for my love of thong bodysuits (Psylocke). So, yeah my wife hates him. Oddly enough, Lee taught me to carve my own path with my art and learn to draw from life-not other artists. Just look at the atrocity from the 90s comics and you'll see the result of that lesson. I did learn how to draw people lunging at the camera like a pro though.

14. Leonardo
Leonardo had a profound impact on me at the age of 8. The turtles made me love martial arts, but Leo first introduced me to the concept of honor. I drank up everything I could understand about being an honorable man, warrior, and leader. I also copied extensively the art of Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, and Jim Lawson from the original black and white comics. The comics taught me a story can be violent and gritty and still respectable.
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