Jesse Emons, a sophomore at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, creates art with unique tools, from his cell phone to a plastic bag.
He started early – Emons says, “I’ve been creating art since I was old enough to draw.” He draws, sketches and paints, but his favorite medium is digital art. He makes cartoons on his phone with an app called ProCreate. This particular app is famous for its many customizable brushes, including some with unexpected uses. “One of the most different tools is one I use for creating facial hair,” Emons says. “I can lower the texture on that brush and make a beard seem more realistic.”
Even though he uses a stylus to draw on his phone, Emons will often create a paper and pencil sketch first, and then upload a scan of the sketch into the app. He then uses the scan as a guide, drawing black and white outlines and, if he so chooses, adding texture and color.
Oftentimes, he bases his cartoons on amusing observations of movies and TV. “If I see something I like on TV, I’ll make a joke about it,” he says. At a Bucks game, Emons also saw and became interested in the work of David Garibaldi, a painter whose signature act is rapidly creating paintings of rock musicians.
Emons’s biggest source of inspiration and encouragement, however, is his mom Nadine Janik, an acrylic painter. As a young child, Emons found an old pencil sketch Janik made of a dog on a surfboard, and that inspired him to start creating art himself. In addition, she has saved many of his old notebooks and helped him put on several fundraisers.
Emons is currently expanding his ability into creating art with spray paint. In order to add shape and texture to the painting, he uses items around the house, like plastic bags and bowls. He also has a budding interest in tattoo art and Flash-style animation. He’s still settling on future plans, but says that “it’d be cool to work for Pixar or Dreamworks.”