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Howard drawing is big win for fan

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Even though he knew it was an unusual subject choice, it paid off in the long-run for one New Jersey teenager.

Joel Greenspan, who’ll enter his junior year at Cherry Hill East High in the fall, submitted an 18-x-24-inch pencil-drawing of his favorite Red Wings’ player in a national drawing contest last April.
Joel Greenspan won Sports Illustrated Kids' drawing contest in the spring when he submitted his tribute to Jimmy Howard.

The rules were simple: draw a picture of an NHL player for a chance to win a few cool prizes. Greenspan secured his contest win by going above and beyond the guidelines.

Now 16-years-old, Greenspan sent the drawing into Sports Illustrated Kids, organizers of the contest. And recently, he learned that his seven-image montage of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was selected as the grand-prize winner.

For his efforts, Greenspan won a copy of the NHL’s new graphic novel “The Guardian Project” produced by famed comic originator Stan Lee, and a hockey jersey of his choosing.

“My thinking was that the magazine would have received a lot of drawings from kids of players that most people have heard of,” Greenspan said. “But when you think of a star on the Red Wings, you think of Nick Lidstrom, Pavel (Datsyuk), Hank Zetterberg.

“I liked the idea of drawing all of the goalie equipment and the mask, so I decided to draw Jimmy Howard. Plus it was close to the playoffs and he was doing really well, and he’s a good, young player. I like him a lot.”

The drawing, which features seven images of Howard in both home and away uniforms with a red background, took about a week for Greenspan to complete.

“I start with a general sketch so I’ll know that everything will fit in the picture,” Greenspan said. “Then I move into a more detailed full sketch. What I did for this particular picture – since there was so much detail – I went over all of the pencil markings with a permanent marker so I had the outline done. There are seven different poses and with the five on the bottom I used a color pencil to get into the fine areas and then the two bigger images I used a pastel type. Then I added color and touch-up to the background.

“I’ve always liked art and I do other things other then drawing. I like sculpture and other methods. It’s just a hobby that I like. It’s something that I like to do, and obviously I’ve become pretty good at it.”

Greenspan’s mom, Nadine, said her son has shown an artistic aptitude since kindergarten.

“He’s been drawing realistic copies of players, and pretty much anything that you give him, since he was 5-years-old,” Nadine said. “He’ll do comic book characters. He’ll do characters that he sees on TV and in TV shows. He does T-shirts for his brother where he’s transformed sports team T-shirts. He does all sorts of mediums, where he uses paint; he uses watercolors, high-quality markers.”

It’s not the first contest that he’s entered, either … or won.

“The stuff that he’s done in school, the teachers usually want to hang it up in the hallways,” said Nadine Greenspan, of her son. “We’re just trying to figure what he can do with it, because he loves to do it.”

Greenspan’s passion for the Red Wings comes from his dad, Steven, who grew-up in Oakland County and attended Country Day High School in Birmingham, Michigan. The Greenspans still have family in Michigan and return on occasion.

“My dad grew-up in Michigan and we go back there every once in awhile,” said Joel Greenspan. “Whenever the Red Wings come to town, either to play the Devils or the Rangers, we would go to the arena to watch them play. … The Wings are the only team that I’ve liked.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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