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Featured Artist of the Month

klasher

klasher, this month's honoree, came to this site through the rather unique and unusual avenue of the crossover between hard rock and The Lion King that seems to be a distinguishing feature of this site and its community. Her earliest pieces display her fascination with lionizations of musicians like Slash, Alice Cooper, and Gene Simmons, and that inspiration kept her focused—as it did many other artists here—for a good long time. But every artist branches out eventually; and in the three years since she came her, she has honed her artistic drive to bring her in new and more rewarding directions. Her current style is a crisp and cartoony one, yet always with an edge that owes to the rough-cut path she took to get where she is today.
Wow.. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Oh my god. I am truly speechless guys. This was a huge surprise! :'D I never thought this day would come. I'm literally so excited! Thank you guys so much, you have no idea how much this means to me!

I never really expected this since I haven't been very active due to exams and life, but wow man, I feel so loved right now. This really made my day. I want to thank all the amazing people on this site, all the friends I've made and all the people who have inspired me! And a big round of appluase to Brian for creating this awesome community! If it wasn't for Brian I wouldn't be here right now and there is no way I would have ever improved my art without all the inspriation and encouragement you get from this site c:

Anyway, I've always been into art and drawing animals, especially big cats. And of coarse I have loved Disney movies from a very young age. I found this site while looking up pictures of KISS back in late 2011 (when I was a die hard KISS fan xD) and I happened to come across some of DJ88's art work which I was (and still am) really fond of, I mean, you don't come across a Gene Simmons lion every day. I thought it was really cool to see a lionized rock stars and I desperately wanted to make up my own versions being the big classic rock fan I am. I later joined the site and had a few pictures up. Most of them were pretty bad pencil sketches that I had drawn during my holiday in Ireland. I was still getting used to doing digital art with a tablet too. Then I discovered this amazing/annoying thing called sketcher! Where I met many wonderful artists and made new friends! I also saw that other people had fursona's and characters and it was a really cool idea to make your own character and being able to create a personality for them, control how they act, and even having characters representing yourself. God knows how many fursona changes I've been through xD Later on I found DA and thought it would be a good idea to join and broaden my horizons. I have also been lucky enough to go to great art classes on Saturday mornings to help me with all sorts of different things, such as humans, backgrounds, cartoon characters, facial expressions and being able to mess around with different styles!

I wouldn't be the one for wise words, but the only thing you can do to improve is PRACTICE! Study poses, anatomy and never give up! And keep your old art guys, seriously it's pretty cool seeing how far you've come even if your older drawings are a little bit embarrassing haha. No artist is born a professional. I'm no way near the level of a pro and I still need to work on loads of stuff. The guys working at Disney sure weren't born with professional skills either. They were once in your place. And who knows if you study a lot, one day, you could be just a good as them!

You have no idea how I personally want to take the time to hug each and every one of you. I've met so many amazing people, one of them being Libby987, who is my fricken best friend C: ily bbi <3

Thank you guys for a great 3 years on this site it's been awesome and let's hope for many more kick ass years to come!!
For an artist whose path to the Lion King fandom has traveled through the edgy regions of hard rock, klasher's work has developed with a very well-rounded sensibility. The more than 300 pictures in her gallery (and the many more that she posts on her DeviantArt site) span a wide variety of subject matter, usually featuring animals even if they're not strictly TLK-related, and they all display a winning and approachable visual style that bridges the gap to Disney's established atmosphere very nicely.

Characterized usually by a form of clever stylization that takes advantage of the anatomical simplifications made by the Disney artists in designing the lions for the movie, klasher's work tends to feature angular, exaggerated forms that seek to capture personality in physical proportions and body language, rather than just in facial expressions. Characters might be thin and open (like the "cute" Scar at left), or hulking and ponderous (as with the concept-art-inspired Kovu below it). In numerous other pieces in her gallery, which deserves a thorough perusal, her characters convey their personalities through posture and composition, often in a pose that emphasizes long necks or powerful forelegs and invites the viewer to look at the piece more closely to figure out how everything fits together.

It's because of this gift for body language and structure that klasher's penchant for expressive faces is all the more rewarding. Hardly a piece in her gallery is missing a wonderfully stylized and cartoonish face, with expressions that cover the entire spectrum from goofball happiness to brooding angst. Wide eyes show off their range of movement, telegraphing a character's essence with an ease that gives the viewer a complete picture of the character's mind in just a glance. Bright or moody lighting highlights her faces, casting grim and dour expressions into dramatic shadows or illustrating a simple smile with what might seem to be a distant sunrise.

One of klasher's most welcome tendencies is to retain her sketches' lines even into her finished work. Sketch art can be some of the most energetic, fulfilling stuff to see, and she seems to be well aware of it—sometimes a picture's spontaneity or "life" can be lost through the act of cleaning it up and coloring it. But klasher will happily digitally color her sketches, leaving the construction lines in place, and thereby giving viewers a clue to the vibrant centers of her imaginative character designs. New artists who are looking for an inspirational figure from whom to learn could do far worse than klasher, since in her work they'll be able to see every step of the creative process, even in the finished piece.

And just as klasher herself notes, she too was in the position of a brand-new artist not very long ago. Famously, even Andreas Deja, the illustrious chief animator who brought Scar to life, could barely draw at all before he wrote to Disney at age 11 to ask the animators for career advice. It wasn't for years after that that he was able to join the staff of his dream company and begin turning himself into a legend.

Who knows what kind of future klasher has in store? Only time will tell—time, persistence, and constant exploration. Good luck, and congratulationss!


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