The science of a superhero

May 3, 2017

Jerry DeCaire has illustrated comic book icons ranging from the X-Men to Deadpool. He is in Bristol Bay helping students draw superheroes as part of the Southwest Region School District exploration week. 

Jerry DeCaire and students show off one of his drawings. He is planning on publishing a book in the future that will give tips on the science behind drawing a superhero.
Credit KDLG/Lawrence Hamilton

Jerry DeCaire got his start illustrating the X-men back in 1991.  It was a dream job for the illustrator.  While he is still passionate and active in the comic book world, DeCaire wants to share with students the joy of drawing colorful superheroes. 

He does say, however, the best way to draw the most diabolical enemy or super strength hero is to study math and science. 

"My show is called the Science of the Superhero," DeCaire said. "I want to show how math and science help me illustrate a superhero. I show all those geometric cubes and of course human anatomy. It's all very scientific."

DeCaire has traveled across the country giving these lectures and has spoken to about 250,000 students nationwide. One of the main points of his lesson is that “boring classes” can actually hold a lot of hidden knowledge.  

"Maybe somebody is doodling in class and ignoring their math teacher," he said. "They don't realize they are missing a very important art lesson in math class."

The biggest challenge for students is to avoid disappointment when drawings don't turn out "exactly as planned."

While some of the students were nervous to share their drawings, a few seemed well on their way to having the next comic icon.

Some of the new superheroes on display were Dead Eye, Sun Prince, Mind Reader and Fashion Lady. 

Abigail Johnson drew Fashion Lady and said she wasn't sure what her superpowers were just yet. 

"She is really good at fashion," she said. 

The classes at UAF-Bristol Bay are accredited and will continue through Sunday. Next week DeCaire will be at the Dillingham Elementary school on Monday and the high school and middle school on Tuesday. He will then travel to Togiak on Wednesday and Thursday and Aleknagik on Friday. 

Reach the author at lawrence@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.

Abigail Johnson shows off Fashion Lady.
Credit KDLG/Lawrence Hamilton