HJ/EDMarch 20, 2006

Cokato freshman shows his artistry in cartoons and comic books

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Troy Hafften of Cokato, cartoonist, animator and illustrator is a freshman at Dassel Cokato High School.

Hafften, 15, draws complete comic books, cartoon strips and single panel comics and has several characters he uses on a regular basis. About half are people characters and half are animals, he said.

Before he starts a single panel, whether an adventure or comedy, he always sketches the character from multiple viewpoints, said Hafften, who is originally from San Diego, Calif.

“Sometimes they just come out of a dream or from a thought,” Hafften said of his comic book plot lines.

For example, one of his comic book characters he currently is working on is a 17-year old boy. He is tall, tan and has black messy hair. Hafften said he watched the story about the character unfold in his mind.

The character doesn’t realize he is cloned from the DNA of a powerful man from the past. It will be his destiny to fight in a war between good and evil forces, in which the powerful being in the past also fought, Hafften said.

Sometimes his sisters tease him about how some of his comic books have grand themes, he said.

“You’ve got one whacked out mind,” they kid him.

Hafften lives with his sisters, Sade Clay, 13; Shantell Clay, 14 and Neeah Hafften, 17; and his grandparents, Bruce and Enriqueta Hafften. Hafften also has an adult sister who lives in St. Paul, he said.

Not all of Hafften’s story lines are adventurous though. He also has a recurring character who is humorous. It’s a teenager with a huge square head and small body Hafften calls “Huge Squarehead,” he said.

Huge Squarehead likes to go paint balling. “Funny things happen,” Hafften said.

Hafften also draws fanciful characters, similar to those in the Sonic™ series, he said.

Hafften started drawing cartoons when he was in the second grade, about the same time when his family moved to Cokato.

Hafften never considers himself “done” with his cartoons. He is always revising and redoing them. One of the most difficult drawings was of a Samurai warrior. “This guy was just standing there with a sword,” he said.

Hafften wanted to get a three-dimensional effect. “I was trying to get the wrinkles in the clothes,” he said.

Usually Hafften draws with a pencil so it’s easier to shade his drawings. He also builds his characters with a series of circles, squares and lines. After he outlines the character’s body on the frame, he erases the frame work, he said.

Someday, Hafften would like to be an illustrator and draw comic books professionally or go into animation, he said.

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