When I was like, 6 or 7 or so, we lived in Japan on a US military base. We had a complete little English-speaking community within those gates, but outside was where all the fun was. All our candy, gum, coloring books, and toys came from Japanese shops.
So, we (the kids) were well acquainted with the anime art style, as all the coloring books were in that style. The big eyes with the sparkles in them, and the individual locks of hair blowing in the invisible breeze. That was what we knew as what animated girls looked like.
This art was fabulous, and we all wanted to emulate it. We tried. All us girls, we tried to draw the hair and the eyes and the kimonos. We could get pretty close on the hair and dresses, but the eyes eluded us.
Then, someone found a way to do it fast and easy-like. It wasn't tracing, but it was something very close. I never did find out what it was, but girls would come to school with a great anime drawing and say they drew it with a magic pen. I never believed them until my best friend did that. I said "No way! How'd you draw the eyes, then?" and she said "The eyes were already there. I drew the rest." Now, my best friend was not about to lie to me, and I had knowledge of chisel-tipped pens, so I figured this was true.
Other girls still claimed they drew the whole picture. So, I realized I had to keep up. I got a pencil, and started tracing the eyes using tracing paper. I got the outline first, then the sparkles, then I filled it in. I traced a couple of pictures, then I tried it on my own. If I went really slowly and copied directly from the book, I found I could actually draw anime eyes! I practiced and practiced. I still couldn't get the individual strands of hair right, but everything else was right. And I didn't need a "magic pen".
I can still draw those anime eyes. Not really my art style anymore (it's very SailorMoon style), but by God I can do it. And all because my friends said they had a "magic pen". I am still curious as to what exactly it was that allowed them to create those pictures.
(And it took me this long to realize I want to be an artist? Sheesh!) I'm all :