When I was a kid, my friend Tony and I would watch The Secret City. We’d follow along and draw the space crafts and extraterrestrial villages that Mark Kistler would draw in front of us. He’d make swooshing, swashing sounds in his space suit as his pens and pencils streaked across the page. Eventually, a whole mural would appear full of antennae, space aliens, and obscure geometrical infrastructure.
I was never very good at drawing. Tony, on the other hand, was incredible. From the age of 6 or 7, he was drawing detailed sketches of ninjas, comic book characters and anything else that lived in his mind — all from memory.
Drawing was something I’d do when Tony was doing it. I enjoyed it enough, but it wasn’t something I put much physical or emotional effort into.
To add momentum to his natural ability, Tony would take classes. He’d practice. He’d draw all day and create ornate worlds on paper that everyone would gawk at. By the time he was a teenager, his body of work was hefty. And by the time he entered college, he basically had a professional level portfolio, continuing his craft all the way through the present day where he works as a graphic designer.
Tony put in the work. He drew when it wasn’t really convenient. When I wanted to race bikes or watch Voltron, Tony just wanted to draw. He let his art live through him. He let it determine his actions and he did its bidding, no matter the cost.
To me, drawing was art.
To Tony, drawing was a craft.