A chat with LEGO® NINJAGO® fan artist Joshua Deck
Hey Joshua! Give us an introduction into who you are.
My name is Joshua Deck, I’m 24 years old and I’m from Alabama. I’ve been an artist most of my life, and I’m a day-one NINJAGO® fan!
How did you discover the NINJAGO universe and what does it mean to you?
I discovered the NINJAGO world when I was 14. I was already a big fan of LEGO® sets, and like every 14-year old kid I was into two things: ninjas and dragons. So when I saw this new theme that had both, I was immediately hooked. I bought all the Pilot wave sets I could in order to get all the ninja, villains and side characters. I remember my first sets were Ninja Ambush, Turbo Shredder, Ice Dragon Attack and Garmadon’s Dark Fortress. My immediate interest in ninjas may have introduced me to the theme, but I stayed because of the amazing characters and the interesting world the NINJAGO theme set up. I guess to me, NINJAGO means opportunity. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today, in this amazing community.
Who is your favorite ninja and why?
My favorite ninja has changed over the years, but ever since Sons of Garmadon, and after rewatching the series, my definitive favorite ninja has to be Cole. He’s the backbone of the team, the loyal friend who would put himself in harm’s way for the rest of the ninja. He’s the introvert of the group, the guy in the background who doesn’t interact much with outsiders, but is completely open around those he trusts. He’s also kind of an artist as well. I was saddened by [TV show voice actor] Kirby Morrow’s passing, but I’m glad that Cole was given an absolutely incredible season that gave the character the recognition he deserves.
What do you enjoy the most about NINJAGO® fan art?
I love the creativity that goes into translating these animated ninja into a realistic style. This goes for both my art and all the artists in the fandom. Everybody has their own idea of what the NINJAGO® characters might look like in real life, and it’s led to so much variety in the community.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
My biggest advice to aspiring artists is to not compare your art to other people. Trust me, speaking from experience there’s always someone out there who is better than you. Instead, practice improving and compare only to yourself. If you looked at my art from 2014 and compared it to now, you’d think they were done by two different people. And don’t be afraid to look for help and references if you’re having trouble with something. Not everyone can visualize what they want to draw, even people who have been at this for years. You can find Joshua’s art at joshuad_17 on Twitter and Instagram, and joshuad17 on Deviantart, Artstation and Tumblr.