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All Past Featured Artists

Featured Artist of the Month

Balaa

There's a richness and depth to Balaa's work-- a sense of story and character, frozen at a moment in time with a sort of snapshot camera that can capture a character's thoughts and emotions, that brings her work into the realm of the truly magical. If The Lion King ever had a hand in making an artist out of people like her and the other gifted artists who post their work here, it truly did change the world for the better.
It has been a true honor to have joined this archive. I have met countless friends, and have felt welcomed by all that I encountered. Although my stay here has been short, I believe this archive has forced me to renew my love for artwork, Africa, and especially The Lion King. Before joining I had not drawn for nearly a year, nothing, but afterwards everything changed. I once more found the needed inspiration to continue with my artwork.

I must say I have grown not only as an artist, but as a person. Brian has indeed brought together a sea of people from around the world, all having many differences in culture and different life experiences, and made them into a tightly knit community. I have found my stay here profound and pleasant, it was rather surprising to find out that people would steal my artwork, but even more surprising that others would care enough about me and my artwork to tell me and help me mend the situation.

For those that wonder a little about myself. I am originally from Russia (well Baltic Europe, Estonia to be exact) and I have been drawing since I was about 4 years old. Africa has been my passion ever since I could first speak and it will remain my passion until I can no longer speak. The artwork that I have created has been inspired by all the warm and wonderful comments that were left to me. I could not have done them without your words.

My sincerest Thanks to all at the archive, to all those that voted for me and to Brian for giving artists a place to share their artwork with the world!!!!

Anastasia Korochansckaja

Balaa's images seldom lack for a richly detailed background-- and in the cases that do, they seldom lack for a lavishly textured context, conveyed in the character's face and body language and the composition and color of the scene. Each piece is not simply a piece of eye-candy; rather, it's a story, or a dozen stories rolled into a single square frame. They say "a picture is worth a thousand words"; that saying is seldom more true than in Balaa's fan artwork.

The love that Balaa has for her work comes through loud and clear in the art itself; rather than approaching it as a chore or an obligation, she gives the impression that the art she does is for the sake of the joy of creating, that it's what she does genuinely for fun. That's what makes for the best art, after all; artwork that's more "work" than "art" often feels tedious or forced. This is never the case with Balaa's, which is as often as not done for the purpose of helping the artist relax or try out some new technique or pose. Each picture shows the joy of discovery, that elusive spark that makes the best art so special to find.

Whether doing character portraits for friends, story illustrations, or simple warning signs to ward off art thieves, Balaa's pictures each have something new or unusual to distinguish them. Most pictures are colored with a smooth computer technique that matches the color palette and visual style of the Disney art quite faithfully; but there are always extra touches: creative uses of shadows and gradients, or cleverly blurred or stylized backgrounds, or surprising twists on familiar character themes. This is the essence of "fan-art": new creations, with their own value and inspiration, which use a piece of existing popular culture as their foundation. The best fan-art doesn't just mirror the story it came from; it expands on it, it builds it to a new level. And that's what Balaa has shown herself to be excellent at doing.

Keep experimenting with those new artistic techniques, Balaa, and we'll keep waiting eagerly to see what you do next!


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