Having just launched his own English-language YouTube channel, Dr. Stone artist Boichi is poised to be the next Bob Ross. It's exceedingly relaxing to watch these two masters at work, for similar but different reasons. Ross has a soothing, almost hypnotic tone and voice, while Boichi's classical soundtrack and focus on just his hands and art allow the viewer to put all other cares and worries out of their mind. Boichi also often answers fan questions and gives inspirational advice in pop-up messages, while expressing his love for the story his partner Riichiro Inagaki has made. While he's not aiming to teach like Ross was, one can't help but want to break out pen, paper and/or drawing tablet and work alongside him.
The first video on the channel was uploaded on April 6, and it's clear that Boichi's been learning since then. His early videos showcase both traditional and digital art, and even a Star Wars fan-made flipbook made during his school years. While he did have to put the videos to "private" following an urgent request from Shonen Jump (to prevent spoilers) for a time, he was soon back to uploading regularly. It's worth noting, though, that these early videos were silent, with the fourth "real-time drawing show" being the first to have music and the fifth introducing his signature pop-up messages. While both needed some further refining to become what we know them as in his current videos, the main hallmarks of the channel had been established.
Boichi clearly puts a lot of effort into making the videos fun and engaging for his English audience, often stopping drawing and gesticulating when he wants to emphasize a point. He also gets help with his translations, and as a result, has developed his own signature style of English, most notably replacing the word "my" with "ma," making him come off as extremely genuine and human -- not perfect by any means, but given that he's a professional, that humanization and display of imperfection draws a lot of people to the channel and his work.
And that's a good thing because as pen-based artist, Boichi can often come off as nothing short of a miracle worker when using his drawing tablet given how little he uses both the eraser and undo button! It makes sense when you think about it: the traditional inking process has little forgiveness for mistakes, but to many people just starting out and watching how a professional handles their artwork, it can seem an impossible standard to attain. Watch carefully though, and you'll notice that Boichi uses line width often to cover up small mistakes and is very careful with the lines he does draw, drawing them in smooth motions, and leaving fast lines for small areas. In many ways, one can't help but think of the Bob Ross quote: "We don't make mistakes -- we have happy accidents."
Counteracting the seemingly perfect inking process is the video lengths themselves -- unlike most YouTube artists, Boichi has opted not to speed the footage up, and as a result, some of the videos can be over 40 minutes long. This way, this audience gets to see exactly how much time is spent on each panel, and the subsequent effort that Boichi puts into every page of the manga.
While Boichi's only shown the inking process on his channel so far, there's still a lot to be learned from this master at work. Whether it be perseverance, gratitude or shading techniques, Boichi gives Bob Ross has a worthy successor to his soothing legacy.