|Warbird comic artist explains inspirationMINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Staff Sgt. Eric Henson, 5th Force Support Squadron base personnel reliability program monitor, works on a sketch of Marvel comics “Spiderman” in his home here Aug. 11. Sergeant Henson has been a comic artist since he was five years old when his father gave him a “Silver Surfer” comic book. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton)|
by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
- MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- [Editors note: This story is part two of a three part series highlighting Staff Sgt. Eric Henson's gift in comic art and how he incorporates them and what they mean into his everyday life and family as an Airman.]
A Minot Airman graced with a special gift explains his art and dedication to the comic book industry.
Staff Sgt. Eric Henson, 5th Force Support Squadron base personnel reliability program monitor, works magic every time he sets down to his drawing desk. But how does he do it? What brings him back each time with greater vigor than before?
"It's a huge portion of who I am," said Sergeant Henson. "It's just part of my natural build."
The sergeant began drawing when he was 5-years-old. His father, Jim Henson, was an amateur artist himself and greatly influenced his son. So much that Sergeant Henson said, "He's my number one mentor by far."
"If my Papa likes it, it's good art," he added. "He started me on the path to art and I will always value his opinion over all others."
Keeping it in the family, the sergeant said he also turns to his 4-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, for "her artist's eye."
"She sees things much more purely," Sergeant Henson continued. "Our children are observers first."
Yet, Nevaeh does more than critique her father's work, she also provides him with motivation.
"She inspires me to draw," he said. "Some of my most acclaimed ideas have come from a 4-year-old."
Just as the sergeant's family is important to him, his religious beliefs are also a big part of his life and more importantly, his art.
"There is a verse from the Bible in the book of Proverbs from chapter three which states: 'Do not be wise in your own eyes,'" Sergeant Henson said. "This verse quite literally tells you to build a stable of counselors."
And the sergeant has done just that, he has sought after the advice of his father, his daughter and others who have been in the business for years, such as Loston Wallace, who is a licensing artist with DC comics.
"I met Mr. Wallace through an online community for artists," said Sergeant Henson. "He's one of the best art critique(r)s and has given me some great tips."
While tips and critiques help an artist, having a strong history with an infamous instructor is invaluable. Frank Neal, an instructor at the art school Sergeant Henson attended, was a driving force and a contributing factor to the sergeant's art to this day.
"He always pushed me to enter art contests," Sergeant Henson said. "I placed every year from 1997 to 2003 and received awards at local and district levels."
Neal's mentorship brought about the best in the sergeant's work growing up. Sergeant Henson added, "He was a phenomenal painter too!"
Mentors, family, friends and coworkers alike have appreciated what the sergeant has produced throughout the years. They are a part of who he is and who he is to become.
Referencing his art, the sergeant explained what it truly is that brings him back to the drawing table day after day:
"Love it and be happy with who you are," he said. "If you love something, whether it be comic art, music, painting, etc.; do not be ashamed of it -- pursue it with all your heart and when you die, you'll know you did all you could to be a good steward of the gift you've been blessed with."
With all his art and work for the Lord, Sergeant Henson said, "I am an Airman first."
Find out in the next story of this series how Sergeant Henson fits his all he does, whether it is his art or his work as a Lay minister, into his life as an Airman.