Tabernash teen uses illustrations to express himself
Some teenagers express themselves through music. Others ski or snowboard, ride their skateboards or write.
Andrew Tekansik, 13, does all those things. But what he really enjoys is cartoons, namely Manga, a form of Japanese comics that can be dated back to the 18th century.
“I can draw what I want to be, what I wish I could be. It’s endless,” Andrew said, as he sat in the kitchen in his family’s Tabernash home. “It’s different than reading a book ” that can open many worlds too, but it’s the author’s world. You can’t choose it. I think it’s a better way to express yourself.”
Andrew started drawing in fifth grade because of a friend “who was obsessed with it,” he said. After taking some courses on drawing, he bought a few Christopher Hart books and became immersed in the world of Japanese illustration. As his mother Amy tidies up the kitchen counter, she smiles to herself as Andrew talks excitedly of his favorite characters.
“I like drawing super deformed characters, or ‘chibi,'” he said, as he brushes the blonde hair from his eyes and points to a cartoon he drew of a shrunken boy named Xander.
Chibi is the Japanese word for “short person,” or “small child,” but it’s used among fans of Manga and Anime ” a form of Japanese animation. It is combined with the term “super deformed,” and describes when a character goes from his normal size to a shrunken version of himself when a strong emotion hits them.
“They become super small so the emotion seems bigger than life,” he explained.
Teenagers know something about larger than life emotions, and Andrew uses his artistic talent to express some of his everyday frustrations, like when a teacher makes a snide remark, or he’s loaded down with homework. He even drew a cartoon of his sister, Julia, when she was “really mad.”
Amy looks at the illustration of Julia and shoots Andrew a look. But it’s obvious she’s proud of her son’s talents.
She explains how Andrew will watch a movie and something will suddenly spark his interest. Then he’ll just “disappear”, or she’ll find him drawing late at night in his room.
“I don’t know where he got it,” she admitted. “From the earliest age he could just draw. We noticed that from the beginning ” he was always doing his own thing. I hope he always continues to enjoy it. I think it really opens a lot of opportunities for the future.”
Andrew is an eighth-grader at East Grand Middle School and is trying to start a comic club with kids his age. The club will have a kind of “rebellious” streak to it, he explained, like Dennis the Menace and Calvin and Hobbes.
With all the emotions of growing up and being a teenager, he hopes drawing will offer a freedom of expression to some, and a way to air frustrations on paper.
“If you’re having a hard time with your family, just draw a picture. Or draw one of your family when you’re not fighting,” he said. “It helps make things better.”
One can draw anywhere, anytime ” even on napkins or little kid’s menus, Andrew added. He is also writing a short novel about vampires, and draws Manga characters to illustrate some of the pages. He is currently on Page 50.
“It just opens so many doors,” he said.
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