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Featured Artist of the Month


One of the Archive's most spirited and enthusiastic members, Tandi—this month's Featured Artist—has made a name for herself with her exuberant and richly colored canon-based art... and also with her love of creation, whether of art or of the words she uses to describe her efforts over the past memorable year.

What can I say that hasn't already been said? ... Graci? Is that Italian? If only I had an angel of music who would congratulate me with a melodic "Brava, brava, bravissima!" (That's for all my fellow Phantom junkies out there—Truro and Lefika, to name a couple.) Shout-outs to four special artists who've been with me from the beginning—Kuna, Broken, Bru, and KL, I love you!

Jesus once gave out this awesome parable about talents—Matthew 25:14-30. Some of it says this: "Master, You gave me five talents. Look, I've earned five more." To which Jesus replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many. Enter your Master's joy!" I am so fiercely convinced that I've done nothing here at all but taken a talent He lent me at birth and begun to do my part by developing it. My work is mediocre on SO many levels, but I look at it with pride—pride in the magnificence of what He's done with me thus far. I'm giving it back (grins) so my treasure will be in heaven. Hee hee...

Marrying realism and fantasy, pose and expression, line-work and color to create a character produces the same feeling as breathing a soul into a handful of dirt, I'm sure. There is little in this world more magical than giving life to something lifeless, and it is that life that takes my breath away every time I have a pencil and some paper. The inspiration is always there. Just ask Timali, in whom I find so much. Sadly, I have yet to develop my own style. As I once said to my unique friend Damali, I'm only a copycat. I'm a good copycat—I am good at taking the ideas of others and recreating them—but when it comes to originality, I lack remarkably. So here's what I say to you... the first words I ever penned as a self-proclaimed hypocrite (sigh)... be an original. Be creative. Create. Just do it (thank you Nike!)!!! Accept your God-given talents and be an awesome steward of them!

It sounds so disgustingly cliché, I know, but there are few truer words spoken than "Quality over quantity." I can't stress it enough. Give it your all—if art is your passion, watch your heart bleed into it! Make sure you're more than a little content with the sketch, or the results will disappoint you. Don't underestimate color (smiles to the sensational Azerane), bright color against dark for contrast or perhaps a uniform color theme to make a point. Your backgrounds will set your characters off if you let the two interact, as Elwyn has often shown in her work. And don't ever forget about facial expressions—it's magical what can be done with a single eyebrow lift and a dimple to fashion a grin into a smirk. I tip my hat to Dante, where I've seen such fervor and success in enriching his work—lend each piece your brilliance and you'll see, if you let your most recent work be your standard, how quickly you'll progress.

Just from reading some of the comments out there—a delightful mixture of encouragement and craziness—I can feel the common bond that brought us all to this place originally. We're artists, and few understand us. Revel in it! I've never been called normal once in my life, and I found that I have sympathy for those unfortunate few who are held in that regard. I believe life without passion is senseless. What I have found in The Lion King is a grand and virtuoso composition of beauty, depth, talent, music, and intrigue. Story-telling is hard enough—creating those lasting images and cherished characters and HIGHLY unforgettable dialogue to go with it is pure genius, in my mind. What the creators have done is crafted a masterpiece, and I've understood that, and you have, and look at what we've done 'til now to keep its splendor alive! It's renewed every time we remember it on a piece of paper.

Long-windedness is endearing to me :D

With tremendous gratitude,

Tandi may believe she's only a "copycat" with nothing original to offer, but her quotation above should immediately prove otherwise: if nothing else, she has a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm devoted to her art here at the Archive. She clearly values creativity and originality above just about all other artistic virtues, and that in itself goes a long way.

And "if nothing else" isn't true at all: Tandi has over a hundred excellent pictures starring canon characters, fully realized and colored and imbued with heart and soul befitting scenes from the movie itself. There are few context-less character portraits in her gallery; rather, her efforts have been concentrated diligently on scenes that each tell a story, featuring well-known characters from the canon cast, as multifaceted in their personalities as they appeared in the movies. From the raw sketch to the carefully and painstakingly rendered final computer-colored product, each picture is a whole world unto itself, always with the feeling that if you could peel back the edges of the JPEG image there'd be more interesting stuff to see.

It's almost a shame that we can't see more of Tandi's original sketch work, because it's top-notch—as beautiful as her finished pieces are, sketches in animation-style art always seem to capture a certain amount more life and energy and three-dimensional weight than even the most expertly rendered cel. With the amount of effort that this artist puts into bringing every picture to a satisfying conclusion, we can only imagine—in all but a few isolated cases—how they all started life. Not that this is a complaint, of course; it's merely an observation that Tandi's own work and the depth of every level it reaches belies her protestations that it's unoriginal or that she's "hypocritical" for encouraging originality in others where she doesn't see it in herself. She's got it in spades.

Congratulations, Tandi, and don't let go of that energy!

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