Aspiring artist and cartoonist Mike Reed has drawn inspiration from all sorts of characters.
First it was Sonic the Hedgehog, the spike-haired hero of Sega video games, comics and cartoons.
Then came the ever-cheerful SpongeBob SquarePants. Now it’s the mystery-solving pre-teen twins of the cartoon “Gravity Falls.”
Ultimately, Reed wants to be known for drawing his characters.
The 21-year-old Muskogee resident aspires to be a professional animator. He has computer files and sketchbooks full of his whimsical line drawings.
“I’ve done a few flip books, he said, adding that he’s working on setting up a website to feature his art.
“I’m definitely going to publish a book, like a comic book,” he said. “I don’t know when, but it’s one of my goals.”
Reed said he often comes up with new characters each time he draws.
“I have done a lot of characters, but few repeating characters,” he said.
One repeating character is a “polar bear-looking animal” with anger problems, he said.
“A little bitty cub picks on him,” he said. “He just yells at him and throws something at the wall or something.”
He also has done a series about a kangaroo.
“He lives in Australia, and they have poachers who try to poach him and sell him,” Reed said. “He comes out with ways to outsmart them, but in a comic way. Kind of like Bugs Bunny.”
Members of his family also have been found among his comics.
“I drew a cartoon of my mom,” he said. “I drew her as sort of a robot because she’s always working, she’s always moving.”
Reed said he gets a lot of inspiration from the Disney Channel cartoon “Gravity Falls.”
“I like how they draw the characters, and their story line is pretty good,” he said. “They go on adventures, and in each episode they have a problem. They kind of have to figure it out, kind of like a mystery.”
talents of others
Mike Reed said he always wanted to draw, but took no art classes.
“I found time to draw between classes and after work,” he said.
“I took a break once,” he said. “There were two or three years when I was 14, I thought I wanted to be something else. It’s like when you’re young and you want to be a police officer or something.”
Sonic the Hedgehog was his first cartoon inspiration.
“I thought he was amazing,” Reed said. “He had his confidence in him, I liked how he always stood up to be a hero. I liked the way he was designed, always had the spiky hair. He was always real fast, but he was pretty laid back.”
Reed also found inspiration and motivation from an older sister.
“I saw what she did, and I wanted to do the same thing,” he said. “She liked to draw fashion clothes. She’d draw people, too, and I wanted to do that. We had sort of a competition going.”
Of course, nobody would actually win this competition, he said. “We just drew.”
He said his sister is now 30 and lives in Colorado and “is doing really well for herself.”
Reed said he has tried to do more realistic drawing, mostly of people and animals.
“But it takes time, because of the shade and the texturing,” he said. “It takes me about two hours to draw a good realistic picture. Most of the time I don’t even finish because I find some feature I don’t like.”
as a wrestler
Drawing wasn’t Reed’s only passion growing up.
He also was into wrestling.
He recalled taking classes at school when he was in seventh- or eighth-grade. However, he soon discovered it was not what he expected.
“I was expecting WWE, WCW wrestling,” Reed said, referring to the World Wrestling Entertainment and World Championship Wrestling.
Reed said his favorite professional wrestler was Kane, a 7-foot-tall wrestler known for wearing a red face mask. Kane was a World Heavyweight champion, a WWE champion and a WWE Tag Team champion.
“He was somewhat of a monster,” Reed said.
The glitzy world of professional wrestling was a far cry from the more formal wrestling of middle school and high school sports. However, Reed eventually got involved in the prep style of wrestling.
“My very first time I wrestled was as a sophomore,” he said.
He wrestled during his senior year when he attended Union High School. However, he was not able to compete.
“They had this rule that I had to wait a year before I could compete,” he said.
Reed said he was attracted by the individuality involved in wrestling.
“It’s you and that other person,” he said. “You don’t need a team. You’re testing yourself, your will, your strength. It’s all about you.”
a new passion
Boxing is Reed’s other passion. He said his boxing ambition and his drawing ambition are both about the same.
He’s just beginning to fight, though.
“I thought I should have taken boxing when I was younger,” Reed said. “A friend inspired me to take boxing in high school. He said ‘You’d be good at this.”
Reed said he started seriously pursuing his goal when he was 17.
Reed said he is looking for a good training facility. He does some of his own training.
Two boxing greats inspire him.
“Mike Tyson, that’s the man right there,” Reed said. “I don’t admire his actions outside the ring, but I admire his skills. His skills are phenomenal.”
Retired heavyweight champion Tyson won 50 matches in his career, 44 of them by a knockout.
“There are 6.5 billion people in the world, and he was on top,” Reed said. “When he was onto his opponents, he didn’t just beat them, he demolished them.”
Reed also admires undefeated welterweight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. The ESPN Website says Mayweather has won six world boxing championships in five different weight classes.
The one thing Reed says he likes about Mayweather is “confidence.”
“He holds his chest high and his head up,” Reed said. “He has confidence. When he runs his mouth, he can back it up. He walks around like a gladiator or a king, a boss, a warrior.”
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“The first time, I moved with my family. My mother moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic. My dad’s from here.”
“The second time I came back, I didn’t know anybody in Tulsa and I’m more comfortable here.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“It’s a small town, not too many people here.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“Get the violence to calm down. There’s not too much to do here.”
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
Work at a McDonald’s.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Draw, go to movies, work out.
WHAT OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE?
“It would probably be my parents. My mom is really ambitious. She always gets anything she wants.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“Hanging out with friends. I’m a pretty average guy.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“It’s a very small town.”
Meet Mike Reed
CAREER: Works at a restaurant. Aspires to be a boxer and artist.
EDUCATION: Grant Foreman Elementary, 7th and 8th Grade Center, Muskogee High School to senior year. Graduated Union High School 2010.
FAMILY: Mother, Arelis Reed; father, Samuel Reed; three brothers and two sisters.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian.
HOBBIES: Working out, running, movies, skating, drawing.