Two years ago, senior Zach Hsieh began to notice several of his friends were drawing superheroes on their homework. On a whim, he followed their lead.
Two years later, Hsieh has quit swimming and cut sleep in order to make more time to practice for a future career in comic drawing. He has helped several amateur comic writers actualize their writing in comics, created an Instagram to showcase his art and formed a network of aspiring and professional comic artists. Hsieh sees himself a full-fledged comic artist.
What he enjoys most is the creative aspect of comic drawing, where he can sketch out his own world and the scenes associated with it. As a result, he specializes in sketching, usually allowing others to do the inking and coloring for him. However, Hsieh also realizes that he should expand his skillset if he hopes to enter the comic art profession, and is currently working to improve his inking and coloring. He will move onto graphic coloring once he is satisfied with his proficiency in these skills, using a computer to add hues and tones to his inked works.
“I’m a rather dark person, and I can get quite angry inside sometimes.” Hsieh said. “Instead of lashing out on others, or showing others, I put my energy into drawing and it motivates me to work harder.”
Hsieh’s Instagram, @zhcomicart, is a massive grid of these works. Original sketches, colored pieces, explanatory steps for drawing techniques — every day there is a new image or video for Hsieh’s 27,000 followers to see. It was this collection that has helped Hsieh establish connections with aspiring comic writers, fellow comic drawers and one of his favorite comic idols: Edward McGuiness, the primary penciler and inker for Spider-man vs. Deadpool.
Spiderman has always been Hsieh’s favorite superhero, so when he received a direct message from one of Spiderman’s artists commenting on his talent despite his young age, Hsieh didn’t let the opportunity pass him by. Through Instagram, Hsieh established a firm connection with McGuiness, and continues to receive occasional comments and suggestions from him. With a professional comic artist’s words as guidance, Hsieh improved his female characters and background sketching.
“If you’re passionate about something, but your time and effort into it,” Hsieh said. “It’ll show.”