Portrait of a Lawrenceburg fifth grader as a young artist

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By Meaghan Downs

Leawna Isham, 10, simply put her head in her hands when asked what she would do if she broke both of her hands tomorrow, eliminating her favorite hobby — drawing.
That, and she said she would throw “the world’s largest tantrum.”
The Saffell Street Elementary fifth grader loves to draw, especially characters in anime, a particular and popular Japanese animation featured in numerous television shows in Asia, as well as in the Western world.
Provided with a notepad and a mechanical pencil (her preferred tools, although she’d like to use oil pencils someday), Leawna immediately began sketching the outline of a large, expressive eye during her Friday interview in The Anderson News office.
She draws warriors and fighters, even giving University of Kentucky basketball players the same large eyes used and well known in the anime genre.
Eyes are the easiest and most interesting part of the face to draw, Leawna said.
Unlike landscapes, which she said she still finds to be a big challenge, and something she’d like to work on in the future.
“You’ll end up seeing a trash can full of paper,” Leawna said of her attempts to draw landscapes from her Fish and Wildlife calendar at home.  
Although she’s not a landscape artist, Leawna said she enjoys watching nature painter and TV personality Bob Ross at work.  
“Usually after I watch him, I try to draw that. I fail,” she said.
“You don’t fail,” Leawna’s brother, Justin Isham, said.
Justin, 20, said he told his sister she could probably make the perfect comic book.
“They look perfect to me, but she hates them 100 percent,” he said. “I don’t see what’s wrong with them.”
But Leawna is her own toughest critic. She said the some difficult things to draw are toes, feet and hands. If a character’s outfit is too hard to draw, she’ll change the clothing.
The hardest part about drawing, for Leawna, is her memory.
“Usually, if I want to draw a character, I get so frustrated ‘cause I don’t remember what they look like,” she said.
That’s why Leawna often uses a “paint” type of software on her computer to draw, she said, allowing her to glance at anime characters on screen more easily.
Sometimes she likes to check out zerochan.net, an online anime board for anime artists and fans, for inspiration. She’s uploaded a few of her own drawings, but not many.
“They’ll draw it, and then they’ll upload it,” she said. “There are a couple I’ve seen that are really good.”
Now Leawna can see how much better she has gotten, looking back at her old work.
“I went from squiggles in kindergarten to that,” she said, pointing to her drawings.