|The Tortoise and the Hare | Katmomma.com
^Katmomma has always been an artist willing and eager to help and educate the community about what she loves and adores to share. I first met ^Katmomma in #AnthroCommunitys chat room several years back and I am glad that I ventured forward to take a visit there. After a very humbling conversation about all things Anthro, I then began to follow her work and I become increasingly inspired!
Kat is always willing to step up and be an encouraging voice to the community of Anthro. She offers whatever advice and helpful tips/tricks to get you started. She has always been a great source of motivation and her work demonstrates just that.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What first perked your interest in the Anthro community and Anthro art itself? What was your previous involvement with the Anthro community on DeviantART?
My name is Marilyn Cole and I am a 22 year old American freelance Artist and Art Educator. I've been showcasing my artwork online for about 6 years now. I've been drawing from a very young age and I've always wanted to take my art into a career. I'm passionate about using what I know to teach others too. This May, I will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Art Education and become a certified public school k-12 Art Teacher.
I didn't realize it until later but I had acquired a liking for drawing talking animals way before I discovered the magic of art communities on the internet. I was inspired by cartoons and animated films in my childhood and I always approached this uncanny subject matter as cartoon and comic material. I had no clue that it was called "anthropomorphism" and that there was millions of other people around the world who like and appreciate it too.
When I was 16, my friend, =shikokumaji told me about this website called deviantART and how there were thousands of artists who drew things like I did. She encouraged me to start posting my artwork here and six years ago, I began my dive into the anthro community. I spent much of my time here pretty much being a community addict. It was rewarding to help others so much on this website that I eventually became a Gallery Moderator (now called a CV) and continued developing the community for two straight years.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
Clay and steel is, believe it or not, my favorite mediums to work in. I've done pretty much everything. But out of everything I've done, my three dimensional medias are so much more fun because they can be in the round and not flat.
As for 2D work though, I like oil paint and digital......completely opposite on the scale of mess making but I have the best results with both.
You have a couple of children books published! The Tortoise and the Hare. Tell us a little bit about the book(s)? Who's your favorite character? What was your inspiration for creating these children books?
I have only one book so far published and it is a 62 page adaptation of the classic Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. I wanted to make a "little kids book" for big kids and that's exactly what I did with this unique publication. The book features a novella-length short story that is appropriate for ages 8 and up. It features over 36 illustrations throughout so it's rewarding to read the text as well as enjoy the visuals.
Hmm... it's hard to pick a favorite character because all of the characters have their own fun quirks. I like Bernadette Hare a lot-- she is so loyal and supportive of her husband no matter what trouble he gets himself into and I think she's a lot like myself in some respects.
I've always wanted to get into book illustration. The inspiration for the atmosphere of this book came from me listening to a lot of dixieland jazz music. This led to a series of illustrations I did regarding a very upside down and whacky re-telling of The Tortoise and the Hare. Thanks to being able to share my work with people on deviantART, I got a lot of wonderful feedback for this story and so I continued to develop the concept art and eventually it led to writing a story to go with it.
It is truly amazing how valuable feedback from the people who follow your art is. Never take that for granted- always thank your supporters!
I have plans for another book and a graphic novel in the next 4-5 years.
Did you find any challenges while you where working / creating your children book(s)?
Meeting personal deadlines was tough between the obligations I had for college and marketing my book was very tough because of it being so unique. The publisher kicked the price up on it because of the color pages and so the book became not as marketable as I had liked it to be.
What is your favorite type of Anthro genre? Any reason why? (ie: Hares, Feline, Canine, etc)
Species? Hmm... I don't think I have a particular favorite. I kinda get in moods to draw certain types of cross referenced material throughout the year. I suppose I could say my current interest is in German Shepherd dogs. I blame my boyfriend for that. XD
Anthropomorphism, as an art form, can be a little challenging because it involves human anatomy. What would you suggest to other artists, both beginner and advanced, on how to over come this daunting obstacle?
Do life drawing. A LOT OF IT. This means, sit down, pull out your favorite medium and draw what you see- NOT what you THINK you see. Use real life references or photos (preferably real life because photos are flat and they distort your perspective.)
The better you understand both human and animal anatomy separately, the better you'll understand how to appropriately and effectively combine them. Study and draw the animals you want to work with. Study and draw people around you.
I can't teach you how to draw because you'd have to be in my classroom for that-- but what I said above should get you on the right track.
If you get a case of artist block, what do you usually do to over come that? Is there any artists or artwork you like to browse for inspiration? If so, who and what?
Portraiture almost always pulls me out of an art block. I absolutely love expressive portraiture and drawing people that I know. I'll often take a moment to draw doodles of my friends just to loosen up or to get in some practice. Friends make great guinea pigs
I am a very musical person and in every piece I do, the composition is inspired by the music I'm listening to at the time. I find that my art blocks seem to happen when I'm find myself getting bored with a music genre. Switching things up or listening to something new and refreshing leads me to great inspiration. Taking the music and doing interpretation pieces usually get me out of an artistic rutt pretty easily. My sketchbooks which I don't have scanned have a lot of these musical interpretation pieces.
As for Artists, inspiration can come from any genre / style / context for me. Too many to list here! I have to say, my biggest inspirations specifically in regard to digital technique come from *tracyjb and ~TastesLikeAnya
What is currently your favorite piece from your gallery? Why?
Favorite has to be my Knifeypines. These particular pieces are my most favorite things I've ever created with my hands. The process of making them is the most appealing thing to me because I used a lot of heavy duty tools and it took a lot of problem solving for me. My 2D work doesn't come close to the challenges I overcame for this project.....let alone the dangers of catching myself on fire.
Let's face it....getting to use a MIG welder, plasma cutter & forge is a heck of a lot more fun than sitting at a tablet and drawing into a computer. I welded 150 some butter knives together, plasma cut and forged the steel sheets for the faces and chopped up the knives with bolt cutters. In addition, I also made a 4 foot tall cheese house out of cement, steel and masonry lathe for the Kutztown University Sculpture Studio Exhibition last spring.
I guess you could say my favorite works aren't always the ones with the best final result- joy for me comes from the process.
As a past Gallery Moderator ( now known as a Community Volunteer ) for the Anthro Community, what are some of the Anthro community highlights you experienced being in that position?
I held contests, I staffed for AnthroChallenge, I moderated #IamAnthro, I started Anthro Educate (bringing my Art Education knowledge to dA) and I worked closely beside `cooley to keep the community running after a few slow downs. During my two years as GM, I worked with several community members to adapt the gallery to the big changes to deviantART. #AnthroCommunity was founded to continue to promote the fun events and important news we as a community put together daily.
Being a GM was very rewarding for me because it gave me a chance to exercise my art criticism and art education practice. Having been a Gallery Moderator was an incredible experience and I have a great respect for those who dedicate themselves to it. Today, with my real life being so crazy, I haven't been able to live up to that standard again. But I've never left and I've always been around to ensure the future of #AnthroCommunity.
Is there any advice you would offer to new or old Anthro Artists?
New folks: Get out there and talk to people. Be friendly, be resourceful, and know what you want. Use your peers to help you brainstorm for two heads can be better than just one.
Don't limit yourself. If you close yourself off from learning, you won't advance.
READ. Please read and research. Chances are, if you google it/ read it/ look it up/ you will find your answer!
Old folks: Set a good example. Show younger/new people how the community interacts by being polite and respectful yourself. Reach out and help someone with a question instead of dismissing them as being ignorant right away. Show them how to find the answers to questions.
"Dumb questions are more easily handled than dumb mistakes"
TRUE FACTS OF LIFE
For everyone: If you find some fantastic artwork, be sure to share it! We are all in this together- we are a community and we rely on each other for support.
Thank you for the interview! I hope my insight can be helpful