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Featured Artist of the Month

V-V-Ditchum

V-V-Ditchum is forever experimenting, and with over a thousand pictures in her gallery there's hardly a corner of her creative spirit she hasn't explored through her art here. But perhaps more remarkable is the degree to which those thousand pictures have chronicled her own growth as an artist and as a person, and which V-V-Ditchum has carefully organized by year to provide us all with a visual record of all the ups and downs of her time here on the TLKFAA. It's that reason, as much as love of The Lion King that has kept this site running for so long. It's an honor to host galleries like this one that do far more than just showcase a person's creativity, but also open a window into her mind and soul.
I... don't know what to say. I am so stunned by this, it all seems so surreal.

Thank you. Thank you for showing this diehard pessimist that she was wrong. That this insecure perfectionist can just let go and be who she is. That it's not about the destination, but the journey to it. In my time here I felt like AotM was the destination. That it was the thing to strive for and now that I'm here, I see that I'm wrong. If anything, I feel like I need to do more, a lot more. To be honest, I don't know why it surprises me. The older I get the more I've noticed that for me, the art isn't about the outcome. It's about the creation, the growing, the learning. Just the fact that it's incredibly hard for me to sit here and tell you why I draw probably says a lot.

What I do know is why this site is so important to me. It's been a little over 6 and a half years since I joined here and in that time I've learned more about myself than I ever would have in twice that time without it. This place has always been there for me. Through the good times in my life and more importantly, through the bad. No matter how many times I left or for how long, it was always here, ready for me to come back. It was a place of stability in times of great turbulence and for that I will always be grateful.

So before I write you a novel let me part with what I have always said and believed in: Be you. Draw for you. Love who you are and what you can do because no one else in the world can create quite like you can and that is what makes your art perfect. If you feel like you need to improve, please make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Don't believe for an instant that you need to achieve some arbitrary ideal. Don't ever try to be like someone else. And please, please don't ever give up!

Remember, it is impossible to fail if you never stop trying.

From the deepest, most sincere part of my heart, thank you <3
Since 2007, V-V-Ditchum has been producing mouse-drawn and digitally colored art, as well as hand-pencilled and colored pieces, spanning the breadth of her personal leonine universe and all of her friends' characters. Of course in the more than 1,000 pictures she's uploaded there's also plenty of canon art too—but you immediately get the impression from browsing her gallery that art, for V-V-Ditchum, is a personal journey more than a tribute to a particular copyrighted property.

There's a simplicity and an innocence to her work, a purity of purpose that you don't see with a lot of the more ambitious artists here. V-V-Ditchum seems to be driven to contribute to the lives of her friends and to the richness of her own imagination above all, which is why such a majority of her work is centered around the original characters that she and her friends have created. It's also a prime reason why she has earned the votes to be this month's honoree.

What V-V-Ditchum's art represents is the community that exists here at the TLKFAA. Month after month, this site continues to serve the creative needs of the fans of this nearly twenty-year-old movie. Members of that community come and go as they grow into, and then out of, the fascination with drawing Disney lions. But some people find a fulfillment in that creative outlet that allows them to stay here, comforable, for years and years, no matter how accomplished they grow in their artistic endeavors.

In V-V-Ditchum we can see someone who has found satisfaction and fulfillment not just in the subject matter we all love here, but the sense of camaraderie that the artists here at the Archive feel, all sharing in the common artistic language established by the movie but endlessly reimagined and recreated by the hundreds of artists who continue to upload art. They're not doing it because they see untapped creative potential in The Lion King... or at least not entirely. They're doing it because that's what everyone comes here to do, and to see their friends doing: to cheer one another on and to exchange artistic expressions of friendship. That in itself is the essence of a self-sustaining creative community, and the lifeblood of the TLKFAA.

Her artistic development has followed a roller-coaster track of success and frustration, elation and depression—a history that her own art folders lay out for all to see. We can track her progress through those times when everything seemed to be going well, and when it slowed to a crawl during her difficult times a year ago. But she's produced hundreds of new pieces of art in 2013 alone, ranging from art trades of OCs to portraits of canon characters, digital pixel art to real media—and all of it speaks of a renewed energy and an exuberance in the rediscovery of that creative spark that, once lost, we'd all do anything to find once again.

The styles that V-V-Ditchum uses cover a wide gamut, from simple line drawings to rich but soft pencil sketches, and some of her pieces—like the ones at left—delve into artistic territory seldom explored by even the imaginative artists we've featured in this space throughout the site's existence. She's still learning how to express her visions into reality, as she readily admits... but as she has learned and embraces, that's not a failing, but rather the very definition of being an artist.

Congratulations to V-V-Ditchum for a well-earned accolade, and may this only be the beginning of an artistic career without limit!


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