Happy Birthday to the the amazing creator of One Piece, Oda Eiichiro!
“My staff and I often go to a very noisy Japanese restaurant where a lot of people take their children. There are TVs at each table. If you go there on Sunday nights at 7:30, you’ll see the children staring at the TV screens with their mouths wide open, looking silly. They’re watching…One Piece. When I see that, I never want to let them down.” Oda Eiichiro, 2001
Of all of the days for this event, I really wanted to contribute for today’s theme. I love Oda’s art. I love the way he draws his characters and the imagination with which he brings each scene and each arc to life. But when I sat down and thought about it, I couldn’t really pick a favorite period of his work or a favorite colorspread. All of them speak to his passion and his growth as an artist. But then I realized the one thing that all of Oda’s art has in common and it is this that I will pay homage to:
This desk has seen most, if not all, of the chapters of One Piece. It was there for every character, good and evil and in between. When Oda leaves this desk at the end of the day, he likely has eraser shavings in his lap and ink under his nails. He has spent countless hours at this desk, inhaling the potent alcoholic fumes of his Copic markers, as he brings the most triumphant characters and loathsome villains to life. Just as you can see his hand in every panel and colorspread, you can see the history of every single one of them on the surface of this ordinary piece of furniture, made extraordinary by an extraordinary man.
Eiichiro Oda’s art has given me so much courage and inspiration. It was heartening to read that he too struggled with coloring backgrounds and that his early colorspreads had white skies because he didn’t think it possible to make one without streaks. When he figured it out, his illustrations became that much more vibrant. And when I tried his technique, mine did the same. When his fountain pen—yes, he inks with a FOUNTAIN PEN—wobbles, it is immortalized for all of us to see. Just as Luffy doesn’t attempt to take back or excuse his actions, Oda doesn’t take back a single line.
Thanks to Oda and to One Piece, I no longer panic when I mess up while inking or when the marker bleeds over a line. His art pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone, to try new things and to never admit defeat when the media decides to be difficult.
And this is the desk where he made all of that happen.