I came across =GoldenDruid's work when I was browsing the Anthro community gallery here on DeviantART. I was immediately struck by the soft color palette, attention to detail and the general warm and cozy feeling I got from most of her pieces.
Every piece is unique and they all bring out their own characteristics. From a sweet tea party with your beloved grandfather to the small mouse exploring a huge world. It's an honor to bring to you the world of =GoldenDruid to the Anthro Community and community in general. Thank you =GoldenDruid for allowing me to feature and interview you!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What first perked your interest in the Anthro community and Anthro art itself?
My name is Hannah Mericle and I was born with creative juice pumping in my veins. My art is the product of 24 years of dreaming and drawing, curiosity and cursing, passion and practice. Life has been good to me and I live it happily with my husband in the sunny state of Florida. I've been drawing Anthros long before I knew what an Anthro was. Putting my finger on exactly why I have this undeniable gravitation towards animal people in art and media has always left me guessing. All I know is I find this genre captivating and often find myself relating to it with deeper feeling than other art. I can at least blame my early interest on my love for animals, and popular 90's entertainment that utilized anthropomorphized characters.
When I started discovering art online, I quickly skipped the anime and went straight to artists like Goldenwolf, Darknatasha, Nimrais, and Shadow-wolf just to name a few.
What is your favorite medium to work with? Any reason why you like this type of medium better then others?
My favorite mediums are Photoshop, graphite, pen/ink, colored pencil, watercolor, and acrylic. Most of my best work is done digitally, and when it comes specifically to Anthro art, digital suites all my needs. I love lots of crisp color, light, and detail. And, wow, do I love that "undo" button! I use an Intuos3 tablet and Photoshop CS5 for most everything. Textures are a big part of my work and I love browsing all the free samples out there on the web. I feel that my interest in graphic design also pushes me towards the digital realm. I find myself in a balancing act really. I'm constantly finding new ways to blend styles and ideas. I'm all about experimenting to finding that perfect balance in an artwork, and digital tools give me that flexibility.
What is your favorite piece from your gallery? Why?
I have a tendency to favor my latest artwork the best until I've finished another painting, and then that one becomes my favorite. Very flighty, I know. When it comes to judging my artwork I'm blinded by my recent memories creating a piece. I see every detail in high def and fawn over it like I'm counting it's perfect little fingers and toes. I suppose I see each artwork like the next gleaming stepping stone on my path to artistic progress; each one seems more beautiful an shiner than the one before. And it doesn't help that as time passes flaws in my art seem to jump out at me first past the good parts. I enjoy looking at all my past work; it's just so much easier to pick favorites when there's a new and pretty painting among all the others.
Your work is so unique and colorful! It brings to light some great talent and skill. We are sucked into your passion of art and you really bring us in. How would you compare how DeviantART has helped you in your artistic avenues?
By far, DeviantART has contributed to my artistic development the most by providing me with an involved audience. I'm thrilled that people enjoy my art and are "brought in" by it. For me, art is a shared experience and I thrive on the involvement of the community here on DeviantART. I appreciate people that care to critique and comment. Hearing their words of encouragement makes me strive to do better and gives me fresh ideas for what to try next. Individuals that watch, fav, and feature my work are paying me a great compliment by sharing my art with a larger audience. And a big thank you to those who commission me and purchase my prints. You make my dreams a reality, and keep this artist from starving.
Without websites like DeviantARt I would have a hard time finding a suitable platform to display my Anthro and Fantasy art. I've been a member of DevArt for 7+ years and still find it to be a fantastic resource in multiple ways.
Where does most of your inspiration come from for your artwork?
I enjoy everyday inspirations. Most of the time I find my best ideas come from the environment around me. I take something simple like my love for demitasse teacups and expound upon the idea until it becomes a visual story like, "Using Grandma's Good China"
I love a good challenge too. Projects with guidelines and restrictions impose a parameter that, to some, seems limited. But instead of feeling trapped, I seize the opportunity and explore my given territory to its fullest extent. I often find some of my most interesting ideas come about from limited resources. Other inspirations include: Dreams, nature, art, literature, music, culture/politics, myths/lore, and media/entertainment. There's more, but these seem to be the biggest influences.
Being an artist we always find ourselves improving and growing from our old works. What is your least favorite piece in your gallery? Have you learned a lot sense this piece artistic wise?
Interestingly enough, my least favorite picture is another "tea time" painting called "Oh, Another Guest"
It was one of my featured pieces I did last year. I still feel like the idea behind it is solid, but the execution is shaky and I rushed it. I wanted a cut paper and watercolor look. I just don't think I thought this one through fully. I was reminded a lot of basic lessons with this piece: Composition, balance, color, refinement, light source, consistency of technique, etc. It's a piece I plan on redoing in the future.
What do you find most challenging about Anthro art or your art in general?
Every illustration I create is a story, and I'm always asking myself what's the best way to tell this story; even if it's a simple one. How can I capture the mood, the message, and the thought behind it? How can I deliver everything all in one image that stands still and has only one chance to say something? Most of the time it just takes some thinking, and research. But every now and then, there is a big idea that stumps me. I have ideas that I haven't yet attempted because I have no idea how to express them yet. I usually like to let these inspirations simmer for a time. Yet I find it frustrating to sit on a powerful idea or feeling when it's buzzing in my brain. The relief and the reward is when the visualization of what I want to say is made clear. Most of the time it comes from something personal like a dream or real life interaction. The challenge is I don't want to wait too long on an idea and let it fade away.
How long have you had a passion for Anthro art? Was there someone who inspired you? A group of people?
I've had a love for Anthro art long before I could string together coherent sentences. As a two year old my favorite movie was Bambie and my favorite book was Animalia. I was basically (and unintentionally) bred from birth to be an Anthro fan. I'm not even sure when or how it came about, but some time during junior high I stumbled upon the art of Amber Panyko aka MissMab. She was the first Anthro artist I wanted to emulate. She created a bright and fantastic world through her art, and I loved her web comic, DMFA. A lot of my early art reflects her influence, and I think I was most inspired by how her fantasy world and characters seemed to be of an indefinable genre all their own. I wanted to create art with just as much freedom.
Is there anything that you are working on, project wise / art wise, that you want to share with the community?
I just started work on a new project called "Zoroscopes" What's a Zoroscope?
Take your Chinese Zodiac and combine it with your Monthly Horoscope, and voila'! Your Zoroscope. I've been taking commissions for anyone who is interested in having theirs as a sketch or painting. I wanted to do a commission project that pretty much anyone could relate to. It's not only for Anthro and Fantasy fans, but really for anyone who has an interest in their Zodiac/Horoscope. I've been excited to start this project because of the history of the subject matter, the challenge of interesting combinations, and it falls within my favorite genre, Anthro!
On an none-anthro-related note: For those of you who are movie goers, keep an eye out for the feature film "Renee" in theaters this summer or fall. It's a gripping true story about Renee Yohe and the movement TWLOHA. It incorporates art, music, and emotion in a beautiful way and I had the exciting job of drawing the storyboard and concept art for the film. I really enjoyed working on this movie and I hope you guys enjoy watching it.
Do you have any advice to offer future / current / aspiring Anthro artists?
Don't be afraid to try new techniques and styles. You never know what you might find. Also, don't be shy about completely branching out past the Anthro genre itself. Explore new ground that's entirely unfamiliar once in a while. Experiment with an abstract oil painting, mess around with typography and design, create some lines for a pen & ink comic strip. The possibilities are endless so don't limit yourself to "your style". Even if you're not sure how something so unrelated to Anthro art could ever be helpful, try it. You'll open new windows of opportunity and most likely learn a trick or two you can bring back to your Anthro artwork. Plus you might find you're really good at metal sculpture or web design. Give yourself a powerful artistic arsenal!