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Featured Artist of the Month

shebu

shebu is a big Tolkien fan, so already she scores big points with me. But one has only to dig a little bit to see that there's a whole lot more to her artistic skills and her layers of inspiration than can be captured in a simple one-liner. She's got a ton of facets to her personality, all of which surface in her art in one way or another, and contribute toward making her one of the most outspoken and multifaceted artists on the TLKFAA.
I
I what.
/internally screaming

Okay my heart is beating really quickly. I seriously have no idea how to even begin. I was just reading a bunch of Tolkien lore after a finishing a crapload of homework, and I didn't even notice the email. I just had a bunch of my friends tell me "congrats" and I got really confused and then Thowra kindly pointed me to the featured artists page.

Like all good AOTM speeches, I should start out with my "how i joined" story, and my thank-yous, and then the "don't stop believing" message at the end. And I am going to do just that.

About four years ago, a silly little teenage girl from a Weasley-sized family named Rachel who had just come out of a year-long depression was looking for a new life. A new adventure.... the internet. A scary place, it seemed. But while googling pictures of wolves (wolfaboo reasons), I stumbled upon the works of Kari, who had drawn several cutely-styled pictures of TLK characters as wolves. I soon fell in love with her art, as well as many other artists. And I quickly became very sick of the perpetual down- for-maintenance screens. But I joined the site, dreaming of the day when I would become a ~SUPA POPULAR~ artist. Full of ambition. Of course, no one is perfect, and I improved very slowly. But as time went by, I never stopped or gave up. I don't know why, but I just have this... drive to keep going. Part of it is because deep down, I want approval. The selfish desire to be kissed on the butt by others. But there's also something else that drives me. I'm so critical about my art that it hurts, yet I keep drawing. I literally cannot live without it. It must be some sort of love/hate relationship because it drives me crazy sometimes but I love so much it at the same time.

Also, being original will get you far in life, I promise. Though it never hurts to love on someone's art and be inspired!

There are so many people who I'd love to thank, but these are just a few out of the multitudes of people who I'd just love to kiss on the forehead right now. Blazing Black Mage, ~Suka~, Kash, Nala_91, Peculiar, bunn, all of Team Le Rawr, RUUUUUDY <3 and every single one of my freaking adorable fans. You are all my babies and I love you. I have no idea why you voted for me, or what you see in my art that's so great, but just thank you so much. It really means a lot to me. You don't even know.

I'd also like to thank the love of my life for just... existing. I love you so much, Camille <3 I wouldn't be alive without you.

Okay there's my speech. I tried and therefore no one should criticize me. :D

love you all. ;u;
In the three years shebu's been with the Archive, she's produced a quite respectable amount of art—259 pictures to date—but it's not by any means the volume of her work that impresses. It's the degree to which she's forced her skills to improve, spurred on by a personal drive toward excellence, until the simple uncertain sketches of her 2009 work gave way to a gallery full of utterly gorgeous pieces showing off her skills today.

The pieces to the left and right illustrate her level of success currently: confident digital coloring bringing life to intricate, smooth, finely crafted linework that borrows its visual inspiration from anime as well as from video games, Disney, and plenty of other sources. She wasn't always this accomplished, though: go back just a couple of years and you discover that her earliest pieces, while showing some promise, would hardly have caught the eye of as many people here who have voted her worthy of receiving this month's spotlight.

Not much time has passed since then, and the speed of her improvement has been truly remarkable—traceable, perhaps, to the moment when she got her first tablet, and was almost immediately able to free her imagination and allow it to create the kind of smoothly rendered character portraits she'd had in mind all along. From there it was only a short hop, time-wise, to the kind of absolutely jaw-dropping pieces she's producing today.

shebu spends a lot of her time on other sites, such as DeviantArt and Tumblr, honing her art skills on subject matter that would be off-topic here; but it's that willingness to cast far afield, to draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources, that ensures she'll never get bored pursuing her ever-rising standards of excellence. She's able to pull together threads from fandoms as diverse as the Zelda games and Miyazaki movies. But even if you look through her other sites, you'll find that her affinity for The Lion King is perhaps the strongest running thread in all her work.

The ability of this movie and its universe to inspire artists like shebu to these heights of greatness, so long after they were an active part of current pop culture, is one of its most admirable testaments. We can only imagine how long artists will continue to find reason to hone their creative abilities using Disney lions as a template. But one thing's for sure: when shebu and other artists like her share their work with the rest of us, giving us a peek into their ever-progressing journeys of personal improvement, we all win.

Congratulations to shebu!


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