Drawing the Defense: SOU's Masi Tunoa Turns Teammates into Cartoons

Redshirt senior defensive lineman, Masi Tunoa, uses steady hands and focus to get past opposing offensive lineman, but he also uses it to draw portraits of teammates and friends.

Posted: Aug. 16, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Aug. 16, 2018 8:44 PM

ASHLAND -- Southern Oregon University's redshirt senior defensive lineman, Masi Tunoa, spends his days on the practice field at Raider Stadium. He spends his free time with a stylus in hand, creating digital portraits of teammates and friends.

"My mom is a seamstress and she does her own paintings too," Tunoa said, "I guess that's where I got it from." 

Since putting out an open call to friends and teammates to turn their portraits into works of art, he has been inundated with requests. He has a long list of drawings he still has to get to. All the work is done on his iPad. No actual ink is involved, but if you have ink on your arms, don't expect them to be depicted in Tunoa's drawings.

"If they have tattoos, that's the hardest part to draw," Tunoa explains, "So, I tell them, 'Hey, if you have a tattoo on your arm, it's going to be blank.'"

Tunoa's process is more simple once he breaks it down and he said for men, it only takes about 30 minutes.

"For women, I have to spend a bunch of time drawing in their eyelashes," Tunoa laughs. 

First, he pulls in the picture a teammate has sent him. Then, he blurs it so he has a more transparent background to draw on. Slowly, but surely, he traces and adds facial features until he's ready to fill it with color. Using a combination of a stylus and his hands, Tunoa puts the finishing touches on a portrait that transforms his teammates' pictures into cartoon versions of themselves.

There is still one wrinkle Tunoa wants to add to his graphic drawing repertoire. 

“My biggest goal is to maybe draw a group picture, because I can only do one and I get tired, so maybe like people of three," Tunoa said.

If he can make it a self portrait with a couple teammates and a trophy with Daytona Beach as the backdrop, he'll be living the best of both worlds this December.

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