Samurai March by Dan Moran

Samurai March by Dan Moran

Samurai March
By Dan Moran

Published Issue 126, June 2024
Best of Birdy, Originally published Issue 062, February 2019

Samurai March is a 8.5″ x 11″ ball-point pen piece created in 2014.

Dan Moran is a self-taught artist who’s been drawing for as long as he can remember, since before he could read or write. He’s never formally studied art. With a B.A. in Liberal Arts and an M.A. in Philosophy and Religion, he worked as a production editor of scientific and medical journals. His long-term home is Vermont, but he currently resides in Colorado.

He specializes in black-and-white drawings. His basic style is realistic/representational, but his subject matter often veers off into the surreal, the fantastic and the magic realist. He also specializes in dark and horror-related images. He can draw a completely realistic portrait or figure just as easily as  a zombie, a dragon or a viking. His main medium is ball-point pen, with his favorite being Bic. Occasionally he uses a roller-ball pen (meaning the other kind of Bic pen). He doesn’t use fancy “art” pens  but rather gets his my pens in 10-packs at drug stores. When he says he draws with pen, many people are prone to ask “Oh, pen and ink?” No, ball-point pen is something else; it’s really more like pencil, with subtle shading controlled by pressure on the page. In the art world, “pen and ink” really refers to a totally different style and medium. He does occasionally work with pencil (or, to make it sound more fancy, “graphite”), and has also dabbled in charcoal, etching, painting, woodcuts, sculpture and even silk screening. Bic pens are still his lifelong favorite. His method is simple: he uses a pen to draw on paper or vellum. Some people seem to think that he uses computer programs somewhere along the way, but he doesn’t. All he does with computers is scan his finished drawings and then post them online. He’s never even opened Photoshop or Illustrator or anything like that. His hand, a pen and a blank sheet of some kind is all he need. The way he does a drawing today is no different than how he’d do it if it were 1970.

Check out more of Dan’s work on his site | Facebook: Dan Moran Art | Facebook: Dark Arts of Dan Moran and Instagram.

In case you missed it, peek Dan’s last Birdy contribution, School In The Snowor head to Explore section to see more of his past work.