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Featured Artist of the Month


Tina has always had a certain flair to her art style, ever since joining the Archive back in 2003; but in the nearly nine years since then, she's developed a wonderfully realistic, yet uniquely character-filled style for capturing big cats and other animals in art that bridges the gap beautifully between the technical demands of realism and the stylized exaggerations of Disney-style canon. The result gives us some of the most uniquely great Lion King art in the Archive, across a wide spectrum of art styles.
Well, I really don't have a clue how to write one of these things *self spwat* but I guess I should start off by thanking everyone who voted for me *gives out bananas*

I was ten years old when The Lion King came out at the cinemas in Australia (yes I'm old and no I don't have false teeth yet although they would be fun to throw at people) , and would you believe it, I almost never got to see it. By chance I ended up going with my dad, who loved it as much as I did (his favourite character was Pumbaa, mine was Mufasa :p) and even at that young age I knew that there would never be another film, animated or otherwise, that I would love as much as The Lion King. I'm 27 years old now and it's still my all-time favourite :D Everyone says it, but The Lion King really is one of those precious few stories that are so inspiring, touching and unforgettable that even almost 20 years later its getting a well-deserved re-run at the cinemas and hopefully taking a permanent place in the hearts of children who weren't even born when it first came out in 1994. When you think about it, that's really awesome bananas right there :p How many other films get that chance? Especially animated ones?

I've always loved drawing, especially wildlife, and after seeing The Lion King I was inspired to draw more and more—not just the beloved characters from the movie, but all manner of creatures. I would scribble anywhere I got the chance: school text books, printer paper, napkins, you name it, if it was blank, I would draw on it :D I wasn't very good, but drawing has always been like therapy for me, and if it makes you happy, it really doesn't matter if your horse looks more like a dinosaur and your chicken looks like a rat that's grown wings—what's important is the creative input, and then with practice comes skill and improvement.

I first came across TLKFAA around 2002, and my first tentative upload was in 2003. I started off with mostly scanned—in pictures and gradually moved towards digital artwork when I got Photoshop and started using the TLKFAA Sketcher on a regular basis. Sketcher was a wonderful medium to use because it was a means of stretching out creatively and being inspired by other artists; I moved from canon-based artwork to fantasy-type characters and non-lion animals and was able to get live feedback, critique and help from other artists with the same passion as myself. The friends I have made over the last couple of years here on TLKFAA have really been my driving force creatively-speaking. I really think that the improvement I've made has been in part due to them. I've even been lucky enough to spend some quality real-life time with some of them—namely Masked, Timba_twotail and Anguloke who I was lucky enough to meet up with in Denmark early this summer. :D Which reminds me, we still need to upload all those collabs, guys! These are all people I know I'll be friends with for life, and I hope one day to meet my other best buddies Leobutt, Booface, Reddy, Rogurt, Demy, Sikibutt, Thowthow and all the other members of Team Le Rawr (including that Storm Trooper we recruited in Denmark) with whom I've shared much laughter, hugs and glorious collabs with in Sketcher. *bananas everyone*

Some people tend to end these little monologues with parting words of advice. So here's mine: Do what makes you happy, eat bananas and maybe one day you'll achieve world domination too <:
This month's featured artist has a definite way with a tablet. What strikes the eye immediately about Tina's art is her propensity for realism—and in a way that keeps the inherent attitude of a character or scene intact, infusing even the most "naturalistic" of animal subjects with the kind of expressions in their eyes that normally can only be achieved by applying cartoon exaggeration principles. Tina has a knack for taking even a face constructed with the most attentive care for details and proportions, without any of the simplifications so commonly used in turning animals into characters with humanlike personalities, and with just a few deft details that you can hardly even detect, making them every bit as expressive as any character who might be brought to life with a celebrity voice.

A lot of this comes down to body language. Some of Tina's canon character portraits, found in her All TLK pictures folder, convey as much expression in their stances and their physical composition as in their faces; and a lot of this has to do with her deep, innate grasp of the kinds of anatomical subtleties that set one character apart from the next. Mufasa's hulking muscularity next to Simba's lighter, longer build or Nuka's scrawniness all identify the familiar characters immediately to us, without even the need for any captions to explain them. The telltale colorations of our favorite lions on realistic bodies provide a further piece of intriguing dichotomy that draws us in and endears us to the style.

This focus on realism, though, is only one of the many disciplines that Tina's art encompasses, and one of the more recent ones. A look backward in time through her gallery reveals a wide variety of styles, including a lot of Lion King art that's much more in tune with the canon Disney style (such as the Kovu at left), as well as sketchy animation-style drawings that indicate a great deal of interest in the kinds of art that underlie what makes Disney's own style so expressive on its own terms. She's clearly an avid student of all kinds of art, not just the realistic character portraits that make up the majority of her recent work, and she's masterful at so many different kinds that it boggles the mind to see all the directions she's taken it and think where she will be able to take it further in the future.

What may be most remarkable is how Tina has been able to harness the flexibility of the online Sketcher as her drawing tool of choice. It's a telltale sign that one of her pieces is a Sketcher drawing when it's a colored piece on a white background; but even though Sketcher is not the most versatile tool or the one that provides the most tools, the freedom it gives her and the community atmosphere it provides gives her the inspiration and the energy to produce some really remarkable stuff.

Congratulations to Tina, and here's to a long and fruitful career here on the TLKFAA—we hope you'll be with us for a long time to come!

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