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All Past Featured Artists

Featured Artist of the Month

Firestar

This month the honor goes to Firestar, an artist who's got a definite flair for canon creations that capture that sense of life and solidity that's such an unmistakable hallmark of real Disney animation art. Her fully-colored, crisply rendered tableaux of Lion King scenes and characters skew more toward the authentic than the fan-created, and it can even be a little jarring how much it reveals those standards have diverged.
Wow! I really don't know what to say. I honestly wasn't expecting to get AotM any time soon. Even after all the "You should be AotM!" comments filling my inbox. I never thought I'd ever be good enough to deserve an award quite like this. I guess you've proven me wrong! <33

First off, I have to thank Brian for making this awesome place and somehow keeping all us kids under control. I know it's gotta be hard at times. XD Next, I want to give a huge thank you to all the friends I've made here over the past 2 ½ years (You know who you are! <3). You guys have really helped me realize that all the hard work I put into my pics is actually worth something. Without all of your awesome...sometimes random comments, who knows where I would have been now. Really, I can't thank you enough!

I can't remember the first time I watched TLK, but growing up, it's always been special to me. I was fascinated by how much life and personality Disney managed to put into such simple characters. By the time Simba's Pride came out, I knew I really wanted to learn how to recreated that "Disney magic" in my own characters and that's when I started drawing lions. x3 I've always loved drawing though, well before I got inspired by TLK.

I stumbled onto TLKFAA for the first time searching google for pictures of Kovu. C: I remember being amazed at many of the talented artists here. At the time, I was going through a really tough artist's block, so I constantly came back here again and again to get inspired. Finally, in January 2007, I decide that my art was good enough for me to make my own account and...well...the rest is history. x3

Hmm...tips. All I can really say is practice....lots and lots. Draw from life, from pictures, from dreams, or books. It doesn't matter what it takes to keep you inspired, just keep your pencil moving. :D Don't think everything you draw has to be perfect either, because no matter how hard you try, it never will be. Everyone knows my art certainly isn't and I see mistakes in my stuff all the time. D: The more you practice, the better you'll become. ;3

Lol! I never thought writing something like this would be so hard! xDD It took me nearly 2 hours to write all this. Again, I really can't say thank all of you enough! To Brian, to all my friends, fans, anyone who's commented or faved a picture of mine, and to everyone who's just clicked on my gallery. You guys are all amazing. Never let that change!

<3 Fire
Sometimes we get caught up in the artistic conventions of fan-created work, and we don't even notice that we're adhering to a different standard of excellence than what we'd be using if we were working from real animation art. But watching The Lion King again quickly shows us that there's a lot more to animation than simply drawing on-model.

There's all the in-between poses and expressions, positions that are halfway between one keyframe and another, awkward and unbalanced postures that remain solid because they're on the way to being something else (and thus retain some energy and tension in their unbalanced nature), and unusual or custom expressions tailored to fit a particular mood or line of dialogue. Fan-art seldom encompasses these intricate disciplines that are only of real interest to those who want to pursue a career in character animation.

But Firestar seems to have a real knack for exactly these expressions and poses. Her characters on occasion have a gangly, angular, bony look to them that suggests a real ingrained feel for the necessary anatomical know-how; but above and beyond that, there's a tendency in many of her pictures to showcase a complex, custom expression, one that can only come about through genuine acting of a specific emotion or line, rather than a stock face from a model sheet.

The solid realism of her art is made all the clearer through her skillful execution, her crisp linework and confident coloring. As can be seen in the pictures at left and right, she's experimented with a number of techniques, some looking more cartoony and others more screenshot-like, and still others resembling a high-quality print lithograph, as with the scene at right with Simba and Zazu; but it's the rich coloring and confident lines that really bring out the "presence" of her most successful pieces, the ones that showcase a scene or a conversation without needing any captions or titles, their composition alone giving the feeling of being a suitable front cover for a collection of similar art.

Firestar is definitely still learning the craft, and has a long way to go in order to really master all the subtle intricacies of animation art. (Just look at her "progress" picture in her 2007 folder to see how far she's come in such little time on the site.) But just looking at her recent pictures, it's obvious that she has a natural feel for some of the most subtle and difficult concepts for any budding animator to master, and any further progress she makes will be simply refining the techniques that so many other artists struggle for a lifetime to achieve. If she has art in mind for a long-term career, Firestar is likely to have a huge head-start already.

Congratulations!


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