When Cleveland-based pen-and-ink artist Derek Hess talks about his art, the conversation starts, anachronistically enough, with 1930s U.S. history. “My dad was of the World War II generation. He flew a B26 bomber, and the people he rolled with were of that generation,” he said. “When those people chose to go to art school, schooling was about fundamentals. You learned fundamentals from teachers, who’d learned from their teachers, who’d learned from theirs.” The technical precision Hess’s father, who later became the head of the industrial art department at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and his friends learned was crucial, in Hess’s opinion. During the war, sometimes it even had literal life-or-death consequences — Hess tells a story about Frank Myers, a friend of his father’s who spent three years in Germany as a prisoner of war. When the Allies’ liberation drew close, he used his drawing skills to create identifying pictures of the German officers who had fled, allowing officials to bring them to justice. “And he was just one of them,” recalled Hess, who described art-and-martini parties his father hosted when he was a child. (“Real martinis,” he added. “None of that chocolate-martini bullshit. James Bond martinis.”) “It was all about learning the discipline.” Dedication to discipline underpins all of Hess’s work, who admires the father who “could draw circles around me” even as he engineers his own repertoire of technically tight, emotionally fraught artwork. That artwork is the subject of Hess’s most recent book, “Black Line White Lie,” which was released in December. The heavy tome — it’s over 300 pages — features hundreds of black-and-white pieces, created anytime from the early 1990s to the end of 2011. The pieces are loosely categorized by subject matter; chapters include “Cherubs,” “Animals” and “Venus.” The end of the book features portraits of dozens and dozens of the tattoos the bold black line drawings have inspired. In fact, the book was also published in a spiral-bound version, to accommodate tattoo artists who wish to copy pages for body art. Hess has earned international acclaim for his art — pieces of his hang in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Louvre in Paris — but his beginnings were about as inauspicious as they come. He took advantage of the CIA tuition break for the children of faculty members and enrolled in art school, but drugs, booze and other factors threatened to end it. “I blamed Cleveland for my problems,” said Hess, who left the city to spend a few years at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies. There, he discovered a love of printmaking and returned to Cleveland to finish his education at the Institute’s strong printmaking program. The return to Cleveland also allowed Hess to return to its music scene, of which he had been a supporter since his high-school years. “I was into it, very aware of what I really liked and what sucked. And of course, my taste was better than everyone else’s,” he laughed. His watering hole of choice was the Euclid Tavern, where he drank, partied, befriended the owners and eventually got a job chopping chicken wings. The Euclid’s format of jam bands, covers and blues gave Hess the chance to insert his own opinion into the lineup. “I kept saying, ‘You should book this band and this band!’ and eventually they said, ‘You do it, if you know what you’re doing,’” he said. The art student was soon designing posters for the bands he booked, which is how he met his current manager, Marty Geramita, then living in Texas. “My flyers made it from the Euc to Texas,” said Hess. “Marty contacted me and said, ‘If I fund one and we split it, would you wanna do that?’” Since then, Hess’s work has expanded from concert posters to fine art and even a line of clothing, influenced by the technically accomplished, distinctive work of German caricaturist Heinrich Kley and comic-book artist Gil Kane. His work is also informed by the very city he sought to blame his problems on in art school. “I love Cleveland,” said Hess, who gets impassioned when he talks about the Browns and the Indians. “I wasn’t aware of the posters [in Texas] Marty was working with, so I was able to develop untouched from concert-poster influences. I developed an actual Cleveland influence. It’s all about Cleveland and its culture and circumstances.” Hess will appear at the Thirteenth Floor Gallery in Massillon on Friday, January 13 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Expect to see Hess, gallery owner Billy Ludwig and Hess’s dog Jose. (Jose has a cameo in the book as the subject of a Plexiglass drawing by Hess, which was photographed progressively by Ken Barnes.) The book will be available for purchase there, as well as on Hess’s website, www.derekhess.com.