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Featured Artist of the Month

Galactacian

A strong proponent of canon (on-topic) artwork on the TLKFAA, this month's Featured Artist—Galactacian—exemplifies the reasons why keeping to the site's theme is not just an arbitrary rule imposed through stubbornness: it's also a way to encourage all the artists here to dig deeply into their creative wells in order to discover more paydirt still deeper down into the canon world of The Lion King.
Wow, talk about starting the new year on a high note.

You know how it's cliché to talk about how you didn't at all expect this and you're flattered and stunned and nervous and tongue-tied? I'll skip that paragraph for you, but it's certainly how I feel.

I suspect that anyone who is interested enough to read my speech might be at least somewhat interested in my artistic background. To put it mildly: I don't have much of one. The necessary art classes in elementary and high school, reading a few tutorials, and my own footling around with pencils and paper and this Photoshop thing is pretty much my background in a nutshell. So, I will use this time to plug footling around, because years of doing so, coupled with analyzing the movements of watching animals in real life (even if my cat still won't talk to me) and on screen has led to my ability to, at least somewhat depict these 3-dimensional meanderings into 2-dimensional lines, which, when you think about it, is pretty good. The ability to use 2-dimensional elements to lend the feeling of depth and shape to the viewer is an amazing one, and I'm certainly glad that I do so to your approval.

As for my interest in the Lion King: it's the Lion King. What more reason do you need?

I guess the reason it's such a surprise is because I never really did anything that I thought I needed to do in order to become AotM: all I did was upload art! But now that I think about it, I actually did do something (albeit without thinking) that is actually very attractive: I uploaded canon art.

Take a look at the most popular pictures. Even a very conservative take on the first hundred sets canon art way out ahead with 77% of the pictures. People come here to watch and keep track of artists that upload Lion King fan art on a website devoted to it. The most watched artists aren't just the ones with more artistic talent in one pinky finger than in my entire body: they're the ones that upload canon and do so in a fun and interesting way.

Why? Because the Lion King universe is (dare I say it) fun. We like playing around in it, we like being little kids again and producing art of our favorite characters, we like toying with characters, prodding them and teasing them and shaking them to find out what makes them tick. A generic picture of Simba will net you some "good job!"s and a few "nice work!"s, but try posting a picture of a Simba struggling with a problem, or interacting with another character in a way that tells a "behind the scenes" story, and I guarantee that people will become more excited and verbose. The only way that our beloved characters live on is if we continue to tell stories about them, and I know I certainly want to continue doing so.

I'll use my time here to encourage as much toying and prodding and story-telling with canon characters as I can. I love original characters, but I don't come here to view them, just as I don't come here to upload pictures of them. I come here because a wonderful universe of talking and singing 2-dimensional animals with human characteristics and a Shakespearean based plotline is without a doubt one of the more cooler universes that I am aware of, and I love looking through the window of each piece of fan art at this lovely world.

I'm incredibly flattered that anyone with full control of all their senses would vote for me, so to all who chose to put me here (all three of you) I thank you very much and hope that your good karma returns to you one day when you check your email.

And thank you, Brian, for creating such a wonderful site that I unfortunately take for granted far too often due to its ease of use and how often I use it.

- Kim (Galactacian)
Many artists on this site have been very successful (and rightly so) at creating TLK-style artwork featuring their own character creations interacting with a world that's loosely based on Disney's. It's one of the unique strengths of The Lion King that its universe lends itself so readily to expansion into all kinds of directions, whether we're talking about crossovers with other completely unrelated movies or genres, forays into the human or anthropomorphic worlds, fan stories starring huge casts of myriad characters of the artists' own invention, or regions of the earth where big cats only vaguely related to lions inhabit regions far from the Africa of Disney. While much of this artwork is stunning and a credit to the Archive, it still must be said that there's one common unifying theme that underlies all the artists here and the work they do: they were drawn in the beginning to the world of The Lion King, with its original well-known cast of characters that everyone recognizes from clip-art poses on lunchboxes and DVD covers, in tableau against the familiar setting of Pride Rock.

Many artists find their creative fulfillment in the former endeavors, reaching beyond the borders of the Pride Lands for their inspiration. But Galactacian, one of a few artists who adhere to similar principles, takes pride in her focus on the canon material from the movies, exploring the artistic possibilities that can be found lurking under the surface of what Disney created directly.

With a distinctively smooth and polished digitally-colored style, Galactacian brings a somewhat edgy sensibility to the familiar forms of the TLK characters, with postures engagingly stressed and off-balance in a way that infuses her scenes with energy rather than seeming "wrong". But even more interesting, perhaps, are her pencil sketches, many of which—such as her depiction of Kiara as an adult male lion—exude the kind of anatomical confidence and balanced three-dimensional robustness that the best Disney animators' sketches display. As is so often the case, the transformation to a digitally inked and colored form tends to rob a character portrait of its immediacy and weight; it's a great favor that Galactacian does in showing her pictures in their various stages of completeness so they can each be appreciated on their merits without our having to sacrifice the merits of the others.

Galactacian has been an important fixture here at the Archive for several years now, and it's always welcome when her name appears on the front page with a new upload, more often than not giving us a new and surprising look at the characters and settings we often all but take for granted. Congratulations to her and good luck in her future projects!



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