By Job Osazuwa
If one calls him a wizard, one would not be exaggerating. Everything about his total being exudes pencil drawing. His love for artworks, particularly drawing, is apparently inseparable.
Listening to Akinola Daniel talking about drawing and watching some of his videos while he does his work effortlessly, one would simply conclude that drawing might be his divine calling.
Ask him to tell you what he knows about hyper realistic pencil drawing, he beams with smiles. Like a monkey who sighted a bunch of banana, he begins to gesticulate and continue to dissect the basic rudiments of the artistry until he is stopped.
He described charcoal and graphite pencils as his best friends. He said that with the pencil and other drawing tools, he could be lost into a world of his own for as long as the drawing lasts. He said that he often forgets everything around him whenever he is enmeshed, and he might not hear when people are talking.
He said that his best time for drawing was between 9.30pm to 6am. And he could do that for days unstopped. But he said he was advised to take some break when he was always running temperature after long active nights.
The 15-year-old student of Oke-Ira Senior Grammar School, Ogba, Lagos State, said that he didn’t inherit the skill from any of his parents. In fact, he could not tell exactly what or who motivated him into the world of drawing.
Recalling how he started drawing, he stated that the passion started manifesting when he was about five years old. But no one, including his parents took him serious. They believed that he was merely reckless and exploratory.
He also recollected how he used his food and snacks money to purchase super strikers books (books of comics), which he used as tools to practise his drawing. He said when his parents bought him an internet-enabled handset, he was able to google any image and download it for his practise.
He said: “I was later told that I just started drawing anything I saw or making sketches of people and objects. All attempts by my parents to discourage me didn’t work out. They tried all they could but when they realised that my love for it grew stronger, they let me be and started encouraging to also be studious with my academics.
“I am sure that they are now comfortable with my adventure. I believe being their first child; they wanted me to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer just as most parents usually pressurise their children to settle for any of these courses. Thank God that my parents later changed their earlier thought and allowed me to express myself through drawing.”
He said that some persons had suspected that he has some magical powers which propel and aid his works. But he disagrees. He told the reporter that attaining perfection in drawing was all about determination, focus and consistency.
The SS One student of the government-owned school told Daily Sun that on several occasions, he saw himself drawing in his dream. And when he woke up, he rushed to continue his work and have it done perfectly.
Receiving his portrait drew by Daniel, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, advised the youngster not to be carried away by his proficiency in artistry, but to concentrate on his studies. He told him that once he acquires degree in any course of his choice, it would give him a comparative advantage above his peers.
Admiring the artwork, he said that he was proud of the lad for his uncommon prowess. He said he would live to cherish the gift forever, especially when it is coming from a young boy who refused to allow his spirit to be dampened by ugly situations in his environment.
“I have never met this young boy in my life. He said that he saw my picture from my column and decided to make this beautiful portrait out of it. He is young, talented and smart. He needs to be encouraged by his family members and the society at large.
“You should study hard so that you can become a better artist that everyone would be proud of. On no account would you jettison your books,” he counselled.
For how far he has gone in the profession, Daniel cannot forget the role one Segun Omiyera played in his life. He said that the latter was the one that carefully shaped him to become a better artist.
His words: “He helped me to overcome those common mistakes that I used to make. He took his time to perfect my skills without collecting one kobo from. He is also a young artist but highly talented.
“Apart from Omiyera, the owner of Mayor Art, who lives in Ibadan, Oyo State, has also tutored me online. These are great guys that I am forever indebted to. When they told me that I was learning very fast, it boosted my morale. From afar, I admire Kelvin Okafor, Waspa Art and Arinze Stanley.”
Daniel said that the drawing that used to take him about two weeks to complete were what he was now executing in a matter of one day or a few hours.
He revealed that he had done a 20 by 24 inches portrait worth N50, 000 in recent past. But he quickly noted that he was not after the financial return until the best time for it. He said that he did many works for free.
“I would spend days in drawing a portrait and eventually give the owner for free. At a point, my mother discovered that I was spending all my money on charcoal pencil and other materials and scolded me why would I be spending my time and money for others.
“I hope to build the business in the future and make it one of the biggest in the country. I want to be one of the best hands in the world.
How did his classmates regard him when he started drawing for fun? He said they all mocked him and said that he was wasting his time. And some of them called him an unserious student.
“But today, many of those same classmates are now begging me to make their own portraits. Sometimes some of them would take theirs home and tell their parents that they drew the works by themselves. I am always excited when I draw.
“I used to believe that I was going to be a lawyer, but that has changed. I don’t think I could have argued and worn any case because I don’t have the charisma. I don’t believe that I could have been deriving the same joy I get in drawing if I were to be a lawyer,” he said.
He promised to make his education a priority for now. He said whenever he was having exams in school, he suspends everything about drawing.
He said: “My parents always monitor my progress in my academics. They have warned me not to relegate my education to the background just because of drawing.
Daniel, who hails from Abeokuta in Ogun State, pleaded with Nigerian parents to always allow their children to freely exhibit their joy-giving talents irrespective of their preferred profession for the child.