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All Past Featured Artists

Featured Artist of the Month


Some artists are able to create images that whisk us directly back to the world that Disney created, with the same kinds of lush, rich backgrounds and the same living, detailed characters that inhabited the movies. Katikut, this month's winner of the Featured Artist recognition, is one of these artists with that elusive gift, whose every creation seems to have come straight out of the pens of the masters.
Hi everybody!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has left me nice comments, and have encouraged me to continue!

I was a fan of The Lion King ever since it first appeared. I drew "Lil' Lion Kings," (as we called them,) for my friends when I was 8. My room was full of posters, drawings, clocks and a lot of other TLK items. To me, The Lion King movie is and always will be the best animation movie. It touched me strongly and I think that today, my greatest dream would be to join a team of artists, and work on this kind of movie. (Why not Disney?! Stop dreaming Katikut!) Right now, I am in a multi-media school, but I actually learn computer graphics on my own.

I generally use Photoshop CS for my finished drawings, even if Painter seems more appropriate with sketches sometimes. I've tried a lot of different styles, my purpose being to have, or not to have a Disney style.

A bit of council and advice for all the young artists and to anyone who may be interested: Observe your family, your surroundings, the shadows and light effects, and in TLKFAA's case, study each and every detail of Disney's work! Aside from the Lion King, other elements of my inspiration would be Brother Bear and Spirit for their landscapes. You can also learn from the wonderful jungle in Tarzan, The Jungle Book, and Road to Eldorado. (Ok there's Dreamworks stuff... mea culpa!) Plus, never forget that Disney movies, old or new, are all wonderful!

- Katikut
From the very first pictures that Katikut uploaded, it's clear that she's had that rare kind of ability that so many artists yearn for. Aspects of even her earliest work indicated that she was going to go far: depth-of-field focus on background and foreground elements, rich and detailed computer coloring, and—especially in her case—background art that's every bit as lavish as the characters themselves. In fact, going back to the pictures from early 2004, the thing that strikes the viewer most immediately is Katikut's attention to the detail and the composition of the backgrounds. Even a grass field created using well-known Photoshop techniques gains from her understanding of layout and photographic realism, with soft focus following the contours of the image's depth and drawing attention with the skill of a cinematographer to the character at the focal point. Her newer pictures display this technique even more spectacularly: just as The Lion King itself blazed new trails in feature animation by exploring directorial cues that previously had only been seen in live-action films, Katikut's work brings a rare spark of insight to the fan-art genre, transcending the limitations so often taken for granted and refusing to be hindered by them.

While her backgrounds are extraordinary indeed, they still do (as is appropriate) take a back seat to the characters, the stars of Katikut's work. Preferring to stay within the canon universe for the scenes she creates, Katikut harnesses her understanding of each character to create new and unique situations that are completely in-character for the personalities we all know so well from the movies and other official materials. Whether it's by illustrating scenes from the movie's timeline, or expanding on the speculative material seen in sources like A Tale of Two Brothers by depicting the lives of characters like the young Mufasa and Taka, or even by delving into the yet-unseen future lives of the characters we know, Katikut makes it all believable with on-model character constructions and deft color work that follows the same rules as the Disney animators followed. This results in pictures that evoke the same reactions in us that new genuine Disney material, revisiting the characters and stories we love, would inspire.

Katikut's archive is relatively new, and her style is continuing to evolve and grow. We can only imagine where it'll take us next!

Note: Because of my vacation in August, this article was posted 20 days late; it will be displayed for ten additional days in September, to ensure that Katikut gets her fair share of time in the spotlight.

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