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All Past Featured Artists

Featured Artist of the Month

Cat Hicks

Cat Hicks, this month's Featured Artist, is one of the most accomplished creators in the Lion King Fan-Art community, having successfully launched a career in professional art after building up a reputation for great work here on the Archive... and she has some honest and wise words for all the artists here.
Omgosh, Hahahaha!!

Y'all crack me up. Y'all are nuts, but I still love you.

OK well, thanks to GOD first 'cause no one thanks him ever. Thanks to my fans and everyone who voted for me. Y'all are great. You're also all insane but hey, so am I. Thanks to Brian for slaving over this site. If it wasn't for TLKFAA, I would have never been motivated or inspired enough to be where I am today. And I don't mean Artist of the Month. I mean on my way with an instant ticket to the #1 animation school in the country. Brian, you've really made my dream come true. You don't get enough credit. Thank you so much. And for anyone who didn't vote for me.. that makes two of us. Haha. o_o

I can't think of much else to say but while you're listening, this needed to be said a long time ago.

If there are any artists (old or new) out there reading this that are aching and praying to be AotM... stop. It's not worth your time. Really guys, draw for your selves. I know y'all will think I'm ungrateful for saying this but it needs to be said... and sure it's an honor but... AotM doesn't mean you're a great artist. No one should strive to be AotM. Don't EVER let anyone else decide how good or bad you are. Your art should be something you enjoy, therefore, you are your own greatest judge. Make sense? Don't dwell on getting more picture comments or gaining fans. Non of that matters, see? Don't let tough critiques hurt you feelings either. Remember that with every picture you draw, no matter what you think, you ARE getting better. Seriously guys... just be patient. If you want to take my advice, be persistent. Draw, draw, draw, draw, draw.

Draw from life. Draw from memory. Draw from imagination. Draw from the old masters. Draw from photos (but not too much.) Meet, befriend, and learn from people who are better than you. And don't be afraid to find your own style. I see so many carbon-copy artists online. For God's sakes don't be one of them. Ask questions. Think for yourself. Try new things. Never under rate yourself or your work. Just be true to yourself and to your art. And just keep drawing. There are no secrets or shortcuts when it comes to art. It just takes time and experience. Anything you can imagine is real.

OK, I think I'm done.

Peace out, yo. Thanks. -Cat

It doesn't get much better than this: a career as a professional animator, beginning with studying at a prestigious art and animation school. About the only thing that makes it better, especially for me as the administrator of this site, is to see that career having been begun in part by a long and successful stint posting Lion King fan-art here at the Archive.

Drawing on clear inspiration from various Disney movies and a passion for soccer/football, Cat Hicks's art has always been some of the most expressive, whimsical, funny, and engaging work in this whole site. Whether a joke piece or a somber, emotionally charged piece of concept art, it's always imbued with that telltale spark of life that characterizes the born animator.

Anyone interested in following Cat Hicks into the animation field would do well to study her technique, particularly the "Zebra Song" strip, which shows the kind of squash-and-stretch distortion that is so difficult to master and yet so essential to Disney-style animation expression. This is only one of the aspects of animation art that has made Cat Hicks so successful here, and earner her her place in animation school. Other characteristics include zany humanistic expressions, energetic body language, a flair for caricature of real people, and even a sense of clothing and costume design (something that Lion King fan-art doesn't normally teach much of). Animation is a comprehensive discipline, and this artist has immersed herself in all of it.

Yet it's also just as good idea to follow Cat Hicks's advice, which is to draw for your own enjoyment, and for the sake of the drawing itself: not to duplicate someone else's work and inspiration, but to develop your own style, your own signature inspiration. Successfully copying someone else's work is only ever mildly satisfying; but nothing ever beats truly creating something all your own, regardless of what anyone thinks of it or how many accolades it earns you. (Though, of course, those are nice.)

A regular poster here and at DeviantArt, Cat Hicks has built up an impressive online portfolio of genuinely impressive original work, all welling from a seemingly unquenchable spring of inspiration. Let's hope that her nascent animation career is as successful as her efforts here have been thus far!

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