September 26, 2007

Ryan Huna Smith at the Smoki

New Museum Director Shares Art of Comic BooksComic books are an art form, according to Ryan Huna Smith, the new director of the Smoki Museum. Smith, a versatile artist who works with traditional native art styles, as well as comic-style art, led a comic book drawing class Sept. 15 as part of the Sharlot Hall Museum's book festival.

"I've done classes with Pima College in Tucson. I always enjoyed doing comic book drawing classes, cause when I was in college, there was always a lot of demand, but there were no classes on comic book production," said Smith. "So my friends and I would get together for drawing sessions on our own, and work on our stuff."
Ryan's philosophy and history:Smith stressed that, to him, comic book art is all about telling stories.

"The art tells the story, more than anything. You really have to learn to make the most of your space, draw the eye along from panel to panel, and be the best storyteller you can be, all with the visuals, the art."

He said he has had experience in creating his own comic book, "Tribal Force," which he fondly remembers, despite its early discontinuance.

"The publisher we were with was going under, and I had some creative differences with a partner, so it did fall apart before we could get more of it out, unfortunately," Smith said. "Still, I really loved 'Tribal Force,' and so did a lot of fans. It was basically Native American X-Men. Each member came from a different tribe, had their own power and weakness that made them unique, and they had to learn to work together. I thought that was a great message."
Comment:  Actually, the members of Tribal Force were two Lakotas, an Apache, and a Navajo. Which isn't as diverse as it could be, especially since these tribes are commonplace in comics.

Ryan is an infrequent correspondent, but now that he's at the Smoki Museum, I know where to find him. I'm hoping he'll do some art for the PEACE PARTY graphic novel.

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