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All Past Featured Artists

Featured Artist of the Month

Ko

Ko is one of the artists who's been with the Archive longer than almost anyone else here. Joining in 2004, when the site was in its heyday, she began as just another face in the crowd—someone with the inspiration to join this community and contribute to the flood of artistic output, but otherwise somehow slipping under a lot of people's radar. Still, over time, steadily, she has built up an art career that places her among the highest echelons of TLKFAA members, people who have established themselves as artists of extraordinary skill and unquenchable creative energy, enabling them to make a living from the artistic skills that they honed right here at the TLKFAA.
Wow! This site is so nostalgic for me, and I've really missed posting my work here. The Lion King is the reason I fell in love with art. It taught me how to draw and inspired me to write stories. Since 2004 when I joined this site, I have branched out, and I've written both TLK stories and my own original work. I've gained a degree in Illustration, published a book and written many more, and I'm constantly looking to improve with my artwork and comics.

Although I've been quite absent from this site for a while, I've been active on DA with my TLK and original stuff. My Tales from the Spirit Lands comic series (TLK) has done really well over there, and the fact that people can read it, love the characters, make their own art and stories based on it is amazing to me. I'm happy to have made something that people can enjoy that much.

Thank you for voting for me! I love art, I love stories, and I love creating and improving...and it all started because of The Lion King. It's still my favourite animated film, and I know it always will be. <3
Ko's claim to fame, as a glance at her showcase pictures makes clear, is her penchant for comics. Indeed, if you peruse her gallery, or take a look at her much more extensive DeviantArt site, you'll quickly discover that the vast bulk of her work is comic pages—installments in long-running stories featuring a broad cast of her own additional characters to the Pride Rock universe.

What's particularly interesting about her Return to Pride rock comic is not necessarily the art, though naturally it's worthy of special recognition befitting Ko's profession and reputation. It's the narrative, the dialogue, the story itself. She's taken the familiar setting of The Lion King and added to it a fresh layer of the kind of innovative "humanization" that Disney themselves did when creating the original cast; in Ko's hands, the lions transform into a militaristic society full of hierarchies and shifting loyalties reminiscent of works like Watership Down, in which the visual language of a naturalistic animal setting does double duty in portraying a fundamentally human story with exotic characteristics. It draws the reader in and envelops them with a fresh take on the worldbuilding of the Lion King universe, one that feels more vibrant and fresh than a ton of other attempts along the same lines that have appeared over the years.

Her work on comics feeds richly into the rest of her work, too. Of particular note is how her designs and conceptions for characters like Ahadi and Uru take on a very unique look and are instantly recognizable in any scene she draws; far from simply being color-swaps or reworkings of existing characters, Ko's original designs are every bit as individual as the characters themselves are. This is a side effect of being a seasoned comic artist; for a comic, you have to be able to make every character readable and recognizable right away, immediately distinct, and you have to do it over and over again, hundreds of times in a single story. In comics you can't get away with being formulaic. And Ko is one of the best at avoiding formula at all costs.

Indeed, most of her work focuses on characters, with crisp clean outlines and intricate facial expressions paramount in her presentations as befits the efficient and effective telling of a story; backgrounds and landscapes often fade in importance. But once in a while Ko will produce a fully realized and rendered tableau, full of cloud effects and stars and trees and the floating faces of the Great Kings of the Past for instance, that takes the breath away. I for one hope she doesn't give such pieces short shrift in her creative efforts in the future, since they're amazing.

Thank you, Ko, for being a part of the TLKFAA for so long! I'm endlessly glad that the site has played such a part in so many artists' creative development over the years. I can only hope there's more such to come!


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