Thursday, February 16, 2012

SMA Sketchbook Profile Week 5: Usagi Yojimbo

Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is, of course, a favorite of mine hence his inclusion in my sketchbook. However, my introduction to the character was not through his comic, but through the immensely popular "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" animates series of the late 80s and early 90s. As a kid, I was notorious into turning everything into a sword; from appropriately-sized sticks from outdoors to discarded paper towel rolls. I had pet rabbits growing up and so the imagery of a sword-wielding rabbit with a unwavering sense of honor really captured my attention and admiration. In short, he looked cool and was badass. Plus, since we're both vegetarian, he's extra cool! ;)

I've been a fan of Khary Randolph for a long time before we've every met. I frequented his website looking for new art and was amazed at what he (and still does) develop. I also uphold a personal desire to include an number of talented Black artists in my book and Khary is definitely in the upper echelon. At the time, Khary had a stint working on the TMNT comic, so this request was a cakewalk for him.

We finally met at Wizard World Chicago back in 2008 and I had the chance to gush in person. Khary’s got a quiet cool, in his personality and in his work, so it was pretty easy for me to choose the silent samurai and baddest bunny rabbit in comics for him to sketch.

The stoic pose, falling flower petals, and color contrast (accentuated by the red marker to illustrate a warrior’s work is never over) seals the deal and his cool.

Throwing in the badass “Whut” quote, gives this piece 1000 extra points, because seriously, if you just took out a dude looking that cool what else would you say to wide-eyed onlookers?

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