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Featured Artist of the Month


Stepping into the spotlight this month is Nadra, an artist from Finland who in her three years here at the site has produced an impressive gallery full of canon and directly canon-linked art, using a variety of digital techniques that with every picture become more complex and ambitious. Specializing in multi-character scenes portraying often complex interactions, the viewer gets the feeling that we've only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Nadra's art. She says as much herself:

What..? I wasn't expecting this to happen yet... What so great have I done to deserve this? I haven't got very unique drawing style, I haven't finished my comic, I haven't told those stories I have in my mind... What you have seen is just a little piece of all that I'm planning to do in following years. I really wasn't prepared to write this "speech" yet. What should I say now..?

The least I can do is to thank you people who voted for me. I want to thank my fans and all the artists in this page. I want to thank Brian, because I don't know what I would do with all these of sketches without him and this page — thank you, thank you, thank you.

As a kid, I was thought to be weird because I loved The Lion King so much. "You're so childish", the other kids said. Well, I want to share with you this piece of advice I got from an artist years ago: "Never lose the child inside you. There's no more beautiful way to see the world than through the eyes of an innocent child." -- And what's so weird about me loving The Lion King? It's a great movie! I wonder if any other Disney movie has given so many people an inspiration to draw...

Speaking of drawing, I don't know where I got my skills from. I've been drawing my whole life. I've also been pleased with my drawings, which I think is pretty unusual. Hopefully I'll be able to continue this way. I don't ever want to stop drawing and leave TLKFAA!

I can't help saying this again: Thank you!

~ Nadra
Perhaps what sets Nadra's work apart from that of so many other popular and well-regarded artists is her focus on canon. Rather than putting her effort into only tangentially Lion King-related material such as self-created characters and species inhabiting a world we can only recognize as TLK's if we squint, she has spent her time here dwelling on the subtleties of the characters we already know, and only inserting her own characters to the extent that they mesh well with the existing well-known cast. As a result we get detailed, contemplative portraits of characters such as Mufasa, Sarabi, and Uru, exploring facets of their personalities only hinted at in canon material, thus adhering very closely to the traditional meaning of "fan art".

This delving into the backgrounds of the characters we all know so well has produced a stream of fascinating views into the earlier years of the canon cast, particularly Scar (Taka) and the lionesses of his and Mufasa's generation. Nadra's envisioning of these characters in their youth is highly plausible, adapting the tried and true models of such characters in their adult stages and transforming them with a dash of original personality coming from the artist's own insights. You really get the feeling that Disney had fleshed out these characters themselves, based on how easily recognizable and effortlessly familiar, yet excitingly fresh and reimagined, each of them is in her art. The same, naturally, goes for the other end of the time spectrum—Simba in his old age, for example. It really brings out the depth of the TLK universe to see it extended in this way.

Nadra has embarked on an acknowledged campaign to improve her work and stretch her creative capacities, by a number of methods such as comics, which are (as she says above) still only in their early stages. Still, you can find plenty of great examples of what these projects will look like by poking through her gallery, where the first parts of her "Missing Mysteries" comic have been posted, giving readers a tantalizing look at things to come. With the level of detail and ambition evident in these comic pages, where she cuts few corners and fills panels with lavish backgrounds and crowd scenes where other artists might seek to avoid the hassle, Nadra clearly conveys how important to her her artistic standards are: she knows the importance of those details, in landscapes and background framing as well as in composition and page flow, to creating an immersive world. It's obvious that this project will be a very rewarding and auspicious one, if these first few pages are any indication.

Nadra joined the TLKFAA nearly three years ago, and in that time has risen to be one of the most well-respected artists on the site. Yet if her own words are any indication—and her impressive body of work is proof that they are—there's a whole lot more great stuff in store for us from her in coming years. As she hones her skills to the point where she can produce Lion King art at Disney's level and beyond, those of us following her progress will be richly rewarded.


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