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Featured Artist of the Month


Eleven years. That's got to be some kind of record. But as a member of the TLKFAA since 2001, Timitu is one of those artists you just can't believe hasn't had her turn in the Artist of the Month spotlight yet. It's high time we rectify this situation and recognize one of the most steadfast and prolific artists on the Archive, whose continued presence and contributions give the site its real sense of life and continuity.
WOW! Talk about a shock. I got the e-mail while waiting for the bus. A super huge smile is a sure way to get people to leave you alone and make you think you're crazy.

I have been a fan of The Lion King since I was a little kid at Disney World, watching the Animators work on the new movie that would be coming out. I joined this archive back in 2001 as Taka99 and my first character was Timitu. With the basic description I had when designing him was, "The colours of Simba, but with a black mane and blue eyes". He has hardly changed since that day. It was also within my first year that I decided to also take on a project that has become quite a big part in people's lives in here: The Secret Santa. I have run it since then, having one time as many as 130 artists participate in it. This is one of my favourite things to do with all of you.

As far as 'Thank You's go, I have a lot. After 11 years, I have met a lot of amazing people. I can't name everyone, so I will just name a few that REALLY stick out as to who were great friends, or just people to look up to: Epona, Protv Scar, AirGuiTaR, BeeKay84, Sun Rei, Rai-che, QuachirMayah, and the late FireLemming and Kazamidori. But to everyone who has been a fan, left a comment, did any sort of art trade, request or surprise picture for me, YOU are all why I am here writing this right now. I also want to do a big thank you to Brian for starting such a wonderful community of artists. This has been a great learning experience for me and I hope I will continue to grow with such awesome people for years to come.

My advice to everyone is: practice, practice, practice. I learned most of my stuff from art trades. Not only did it push me outside my comfort zone sometimes to try something new, but seeing the pictures I got in return taught me a lot. Do not learn from one artist; if you try to be just like one artist, you will never stand out. Instead, learn from several and in the end, it will develop into your own style. People won't love you for being just like someone else. They will love you for being unique.

Anyway, in typical Timitu fashion, I have rambled on. But thank you once again to everyone who voted for me. You have really made my month.

It's heartwarming and encouraging to see the trajectory of the life of someone whose artistic career got its start here on the TLKFAA—especially when that trajectory takes a person into a career working for Disney as part of the Disney International Programs that place up-and-coming, driven individuals into the company's park system to share their love of Disney with the guests at the parks. Timitu's experience in this program should be an inspiration to lots of our artists who aspire to one day turn their love of art and animation into a career.

She's definitely a role model to the Lion King fan-art community in a lot of ways, not least of which—naturally—is her art. Eleven years will certainly produce a lot of it, and with over 1,800 pictures in her account, Timitu is one of the most productive artists the Archive has ever had. It's to the point where it's hard to imagine the Archive without her.

Over that lengthy time period, also naturally, her skills have sharpened and progressed by leaps and bounds. One of the best things about having an artist on the site for such a long time is that her fans get to see what a progression in art style and skill over a decade or more looks like—which is especially important because that's the kind of time frame it really takes to get properly good at something like drawing. When seasoned artists tell newcomers that it takes a lot of patience and hard work to get good, sometimes that's what it means: having the persistence and the drive to stick with it for what really amounts to your whole life. Even seasoned professional animators like Andreas Deja and Mark Henn will tell you this: nobody is ever "done" improving. Even when you've reached your goals, there are new, higher goals to set, and someone who earns their way to a job in the animation studios of Disney will still be able to look back on their portfolio, years later, and shake his head at how much he's improved since then.

That's why it's great to see everything Timitu has created from her first days with the Archive to just this month. Her early digitally drawn and traditional pictures were ambitious but clearly had a long way to go. But now look at the things she produces, here on display at left and right: colorful, expressive, creative, and crisply executed in a firm, confident line style that is, if anything, her trademark. It takes a long time to develop this kind of mastery, but once you've attained it and are able to produce this kind of art to realize what your mind visualizes, it's all worth every hour spent fighting with anatomy and techniques that just aren't working. Not to mention that without that pain, the satisfaction of having mastered it wouldn't be anywhere near as sweet.

Timitu has deserved this recognition for years now, and it's high time we give her the applause she deserves. And by all means, contact her to learn more about her Disney World work experience—it's an excellent way to get an entry into the company whose work has and continues to bring us all together!

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