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Featured Artist of the Month

Drago

Our Featured Artist this month is someone who has packed more artistic accomplishment into her life than many artists twice her age: Drago, with nearly a thousand pictures in her gallery, really is wise beyond her years when it comes to how excellence in artistic endeavors is achieved. Her insights on these matters are timely as well as to the point. We'll leave it to her to explain...
Well, I nearly screamed when I saw this, but I had to hold it in! XD I guess first, I have to thank all of my fans on here! I couldn't have done it without you. Really. All of the comments and favorites do mean something to me, and plays a huge part of why I draw in the first place. I have to thank my really close friends, and even people that have moved on and that I don't talk to anymore. :)

That includes - ~Kitten~,Dude9105, Ratha, Kerijiano, Twilightchaser, DJ88, DJ Coulz (for like teaching me how to draw everything XD), Kiba Inuzuka, LiLi(Amb21), AnnieHyena, Chee, NinjaBlackTiger, Deluge, H3LLCAT, Tamberella, Takabsessed, Dots, 'Garder, Emo-Hellion, Kichai [ECHELON], Jolt, Thrasher, Kitchiki, Little-Bird (Gemxx), Malis, Maquenda, Narafi, Rockin Doughnut, rogue_liger, Scarla, and most of all, Brian! I couldn't thank you enough for making this site, and for looking through my pending approval when I uploaded about 12 pictures at a time when I was younger XD.

One thing I have to say, and this is good advice as far as I'm concerned. I've been drawing The Lion King ever since I was 6 and a half years old. I'm now 13 (and possibly the youngest AOTM?). It's been 7 straight years of practicing. That's no lie. You get so frustrated at first, and you want to cry because everything you draw looks like a distaster. At least to me. But I never gave up. Not once. I taught myself a lot of things, and that you have to be strong to be an artist. Art will take you places NO ONE ELSE CAN!

Art is a stress reliever, it's your friend, it's there to guide you through everything. It's the thing I rely on the most.

For everyone who doesn't know this, this will wake you up a bit! XD Art programs DON'T make you draw like an expert. It's your skill and what drawing level you're at. So it doesn't matter if you have Photoshop, MS Paint (take a look at SuperNova's gellery and see for youself that Paint is an amazing program), everyone is capable of having outstanding art if you set your mind to it, and follow the 3 rules of art.

1. Don't give up, you have a long way to go, but study with books and movies and pictures. It makes it easier.

2. Experiment. You will find you can create massive amounts of artwork if you're creative and try new things.

3. HAVE FUN WITH IT! Don't be a grump and say you hate art when you haven't actually tried. It can be your best friend if you give it a chance!

I bet I could write a book with all of the different experiences I've had on this website. But it's not just a website. It's part of who I am. It has made me who I am now.

So for everyone who is reading this, who read this, and knows where I'm coming from, I really can't thank you enough. If you ever need someone to talk to and need some help or critiquing with ANYTHING, I'm here. Just go to my profile and e-mail me :)

Thanks SUPER much for voting for me guys! Happy summer, and maybe slip in some drawing time somewhere in there too! ;)

-Drago (Jasmine Hopkins)
It's certainly true that many newly inspired artists look around them and see such beautiful art being produced by so many people that it seems that there's got to be some secret tool or technique that makes it all easy. It's tempting to imagine that if you just had a tablet, or Photoshop, or some other expensive or exclusive item, then suddenly you'll be cranking out art that looks like Disney screenshots. All too often, the disappointment is felt by us all when that turns out not to be the case.

Drago has it right, though: artistic achievement is never about the tools or the technique. It's about experimentation, about seeking something new every day, about never being satisfied or "finished" with either a single piece or with your progress as a whole. Far too often I've seen artists—and not just artist in the Lion King community, but outside it as well—submerge themselves concentrating on making their technique perfect, their execution flawless, their rendering of fur or fabric or grass so exquisitely detailed that no critique can be possible. And yet this level of engrossment with detail all too often makes these artists miss the big picture: character, expression, humor, balance, composition... spontaneity. Focusing too hard on technique and tools will get you none of these things. Constantly creating one new and different drawing after another, however, will.

Drago understands this, which is why she's a perfect example to so many newcomer artists as well as one truly worthy of the spotlight this month. You'll find all kinds of diverse stuff in her gallery, from crisp line-art to beautifully rendered backgrounds with great color palettes, on-model canon character pieces to Sketcher doodles and well-executed tutorials relaying the tricks she's discovered (of course there is something to be said for technique, and there are obviously some tricks and shortcuts that make certain things look good with minimal effort). She tackles all aspects of Lion King fan-art with gusto and good humor, always driven by the need to move on to the next challenge rather than getting stuck in one particular sub-discipline that refuses to reward.

The result is a body of work that's truly impressive to behold. Especially looking over the brief four years' worth of improvement in Drago's career, it's inpiring in and of itself just to see how far she's come in so little time. As she's so astutely noted, that's what comes from simply being determined—not stubborn, but driven is a better word. Inspired by the thought of excellence, and beckoned on by the mirage of perfection that's always right over the horizon. Nobody ever quite catches it, it's true. But an artist who follows it enthusiastically enough, and revels in the thrill of the chase rather than the thought of capturing the prize, is sure to find herself one of the most celebrated members of her community—just as Drago has this month.

Congratulations!


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