People. That is what an incredible student artist at Nevada High School enjoys drawing most.

Whether it’s digital (on a computer) or traditional (with a pencil and paper), 16-year-old Christina Wright, a junior, loves drawing people — many of them mythical. Sometimes she enjoys working on scenery, too.

“I would love to work on art all day if I could,” she admitted, noting that she takes her pens, pencils, Copic markers and drawing tablet with her “almost everywhere.”

Her amazing self-taught artistic talent came center stage about five years ago, she said, when she was drawing, not one specific thing, but several things.

Wright, the daughter of James and Sarah Wright of rural Collins, was told she comes by this drawing talent naturally. “My mother said that my great-grandfather drew a lot. He did a lot of 1930’s and 40’s cartoon-styled drawings, similar to Steamboat Willy,” she said.

She’s never seen her grandfather’s work, but, if hers is truly a talent based on genetics, she can certainly understand his passion for it. Her catalog of drawings includes cartoonish characters, and she loves manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels.

The artists who are most influential to her, she shared, include Akira Toriyama, a manga artist and creator of Dragon Ball Z; Mah, a Japanese animator and artist; Anett Osvath, animator and artist from Hungary; and Vincent Van Gogh, the famous impressionist painter.

Currently, the most influential artist for her, she said, is manga artist Hirohiko Araki, creator of JoJo. “It’s the beautiful line art he has and how much he’s changed in his years of doing manga. He’s adding more details as he goes along.”

Wright hopes that someday she and her work can inspire someone else the way the artists she has listed have inspired her. “They are all very successful storytellers and artists,” she said. It should be noted here, that Wright also enjoys writing. “Storytelling is a lot of fun; it would be fun to write a graphic novel someday.”

Wright has enjoyed her membership in 4-H. “It has allowed me to show my art, and to gain interviewing experiences with a judge,” she said. Since 2016, she has won numerous fair awards at both the county and state levels. (See a list with this story.)

When she talks about the art program at Nevada High School, she does so with great appreciation. “Nevada has been very generous to me about what they can offer me in art,” she said. She calls art instructor, Mark Beauchene, “fantastic. He is a wonderful teacher… I’m very grateful for what he’s offered me.”

One thing she loves about art at Nevada High School she said, is canvasses. “It’s rare for a high school to have stretched canvasses that are ready to paint on. I can’t even count how many I’ve done. I used to bring one home every day,” she said. She likes painting on canvas and said one of them she did last year was as tall as her.

When her artwork comes home, some of it is hung up in the house. But when you bring home as much as she has, “a lot of it goes into a spare room in our house.”

When asked about her future, Wright said she knows art will be part of it. But she thinks she may possibly pursue a career in culinary and do her drawing work on the side.

“I like to work with oriental, Asian food,” she said. “One of my favorites is Tokyo street-style Ramen noodles. It’s basically just a soup, but it’s so delicious.”

Food and art really do go together, she said. “I love [the colors] in food. I make a sesame chicken and there’s lots of reddish-orange color in the sauce…just a beautiful palette.”

As much as she loves colors in food, many of her traditional drawings, she said, are done in black-and-white. “I use pencils, just normal lead.” It’s when she works with paints or on the Adobe computer programs, creating 2D animation, that color is a bigger part of her work. “I use Adobe to create animations and digital art on a drawing tablet attached to my Windows desktop,” she said. She, in fact, used Adobe to edit Cub TV videos last year for the high school.

Wright is definitely letting her artistic side lead her in learning new things. Keep your eye on her in the future. Whether she’s drawing for a personal website, writing a graphic novel or stirring up great food, there’s no doubt she’s going to let her creative spirit lead the way.

Art Awards won by Christina Wright:

• July 2016, Story County Fair, awarded State Fair ribbon on visual art exhibit-digital drawing

• August 2016, took 4-H visual art exhibit to Iowa State Fair, received red ribbon

• August 2016, invited to and attended Artist Next Door at Iowa State Fair, spent time drawing with ISU graduate student

• July 2017, attended ISU College of Design’s Design Camp

• July 2017, Story County Fair, awarded alternate state fair ribbon

• August 2017, invited by ISU College of Design to participate in Artist Next Door at Iowa State Fair, spent time drawing with ISU graduate student

• March 2018, awarded Best of Show Ribbon at Heart of Iowa Conference Art Festival and five Blue Judges’ Ribbons (had eight pieces at the event)

• July 2018, Story County Fair, awarded State Fair ribbon for visual art exhibit, digital drawing, and awarded alternate state fair ribbon for visual art exhibit, painting

• August 2018, took 4-H visual art exhibit to Iowa State Fair, received red ribbon