Bob Ross is rolling over in his grave right now, grabbing a brush, patting his ‘fro, trying to save the world with cool little trees on snowy mountains that have rivers cascading down them while birds fly overhead as the sun is setting.
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Eleven minutes and fifty seconds. That’s how long that video is. Eleven minutes and fifty seconds for the best time of your entire life.
Look at the springs by him at the beginning. Merrill was flying high before he became a “serious” artist. That’s Vince Carter in And1’s type stuff. You go hard to the rim or you don’t go at all and when you get there, you throw that Nerf ball down with authority, the beginning of the video an attempt to bridge the gap that, he feels, exists between artists and sports fans. This is him coming down to meet us on our level.
See? I used to be like you. You can trust me.
The disclaimer, before we go any further, should be thrown out that I realize the end product doesn’t really look much like Kevin Durant at all. It should also be said that there’s no way I could do any better. In fourth grade we had to draw the cover of our favorite book for some art project and, instead of drawing it, I traced the cover for The Cat in the Hat. Turned it in like I’d done it free handed, got jacuzzi’d in praise, then proceeded to allow it to be displayed in front of the class for the rest of the year as a project that displayed “Great Promise” without saying a word.
The Cat in the Hat wasn’t even my favorite book. My favorite book was Danger Zone, but that cover was a little too involved and my fourth grade self was somewhat horrified of drawing, or tracing, actual people. In any case, this is my public apology to Danger Zone. I denied you by not drawing you and for that I am forever ashamed.
I pour one out for you, Jimmy Doyle. You were the evolutionary Chitwood and I didn’t even give you a chance to be immortalized on the wall of Mrs. Helms’ classroom.
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So, this video.
This guy is kind of the best. He’s proclaimed that he doesn’t normally draw athletes, but in September of 2010 Durant was a commodity, putting up video game numbers for the national team in Turkey and generally turning the world into his playground. Even amateur artists needed an outlet to reveal to the world his extreme dopeness.
The video descriptions are wonderfully clueless. Despite drawing him in a Team USA jersey, he makes sure to note that the player he’s drawing is Mr. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (formerly Seattle Supersonics). Why you gotta twist the knife, Meryl?
Side bar: It’s fun to go back and think about just how great Durant’s play was in those World Championships. So great, in fact, it forced this dude to feel like he had to show us all how to draw him.
He pronounces Durant’s name as “Duraunt”, which is perfect and something I’ll be doing in the moments that Durant pushes his game to elegant heights. That 66 he put up at Rucker, the first half of Game 3 against the Rockets, and the game winner against the Mavs that one time when he made Brendan Haywood’s song cry. All Duraunt moments.
But this isn’t so much a dissection of how this dude talks as much as it is a celebration of how just a tad bit off his final product is. He draws Durant like I handle myself in conversations involving baseball or politics or James Taylor songs. I can look like I know what I’m talking about pretty good until people start to look real close and analyze what it is I’m saying, then I’m screwed.
There’s just something a little “Wait, who is this supposed to be again?” about the picture at the end.
He’s so obsessed with shading. You know how CNN would do those big word bubbles during the election right after the debates to see what words the candidates were using the most? If you did a word bubble of all the words said in this video then “shading” would be the size of Oklahoma City with all the other words used the combined size of Porum. If Thomas Kincade is the painter of light then Merrill is the painter of shade.
I can go on and on about the video but it’s probably best if you just watch it and enjoy it. Try it out yourself. Put it on a fridge somewhere.
Remember, be brave with the tones and, after having tried it, making the teeth look real is just as hard as Merrill said it was.
*Shouts out to my great friend Jason Gallagher, the guy who brought you this, for making me aware of this video.