Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artist Profile: Katie Shanahan

Katie Shanahan is a 25 year old graduate from Sheridan College, with a diploma in Classical Animation. Hailing from Toronto she moved to Ottawa after school where she worked as an animator (both in Flash and traditionally) before moving back home to Toronto where she's been happily employed as a designer and storyboard revisionist. On the web she's known by some as Kt Shy and is best know for her work on the comic Shrub Monkeys. What’s captivating about Katie’s work is the sense of emotion she’s able to convey whether it is one of her hilarious comics or a full blown illustration.

How long have you been drawing?

Since I was really little, I used to start illustrated books that would never get finished because I’d always loose interest in one idea and move on to another. I was also planning on making an animated musical feature film about my dog when I was 9…which was long before I discovered how damn complicated the whole animation process is.

How did you get interested in art?

It probably had something to do with all the cartoons I watched as a kid, alongside my dad's influence. My parents ran a business creating mascots for sport teams so I'd watch my dad sketching concept designs at his drafting table. He also kept a huge variety of art books and comics around the house that I pored over constantly. Drawing was the only thing I never had to be coerced into doing (like piano, gymnastics, or Irish dancing) so my parents really encouraged me to keep it up, and I owe a lot of what I am to them!

Who are your influences?

Aaaugh, there are so many I can’t begin to list them all! I’m still learning, so every artist I come across -and love- ends up becoming an influence on some level (whether or not it shows in my work). I started off influenced by Disney, Archie and anime, but that exploded in so many different directions during college. At the moment my biggest sources if inspirations are Katie Rice, Kate Beaton, Emmy Cicierega, Brianne Drouhard, Kei Acedera... mostly a variety of incredibly creative women around my own age!

How would you describe your style?

Lately a few people have been commenting that I have a "John K" style which makes me incredibly nervous as John (creator of Ren and Stimpy) is a brilliant and very disciplined cartoonist and a big stickler for solid construction (which is definitely lacking in my own ‘floaty’ work). It makes me nervous in that I worry someone will show him my stuff someday and he'll tear it to pieces, haha... though actually that wouldn't be a bad thing! I'd definitely learn a lot from the critique...

My earlier drawings have been described as having a Disney-Anime hybrid style, only because anime fans called what I did “Disney like” and fans of western animation would say, “Oh, you do that anime stuff, do you?”

Personally I don't want to classify myself into a style just yet, as I think it's dangerous for a young artist to get set on "style" before fully understanding all the important drawing fundamentals, and exploring all the possible variations in design. I like to think that maybe a few years down the road my drawings will look totally different from the things I do today. In a good way though!

How do you get ideas for your drawings/paintings?

If I'm lucky images will pop into my head right away, but I find listening to music also helps me get into the flow of things, feeling out a specific pose or movement. It also helps me get into the head of whatever character I'm drawing; their moods, thoughts and feeling. Other than that I get a lot of ideas from observing people, which is why I carry a sketchbook with me everywhere I go.

Can you describe your general approach to creating a picture?

I just start doodling and see where it takes me, though sometimes I'll have a fully formed idea of what I want pop into mind, and then it’s a matter of fighting my hands to get it onto the page. I really should do more exploration when it comes to drawing, but I'm more interested in telling a story as quickly and clearly as I can than in finessing over fully rendered details. I wish I had more patience for that kind of thing, as I absolutely adore artists who put that kind of love and effort into their illustrations.

What's your work environment like?

I work for Cookie Jar Entertainment right now, and I've got a super sweet set up with a big powerful G5 computer and a Cintiq (I looove Cintiqs *drool*). I'm the youngest artist in the studio but I love it as my co-workers are super nice and funny and have so many crazy stories from working in the animation industry as long as they have. Very inspiring!

My home studio is set up in the attic. It’s pretty awesome and spacious with an animation desk (which I use for comic-ing not animating), computer, bookshelves loaded with comics and art books, and a comfy couch to lounge on when I'm out of ideas... or need a nap.

Could you tell us more about your online comic, Shrub Monkeys?

Shrub Monkeys is a comic I started just for the fun of it, capturing random moments, in-jokes and observations made by my two younger siblings and myself. Mostly as an exercise to keep my drawing hand active, with the bonus of getting a snicker or two out of said siblings. When I moved to Ottawa I missed my family terribly and worked at a job as a flash animator in which NO drawing was required, so Shrub Monkeys became my artistic outlet and life-line.

Around that time my only web-notoriety was for my Harry Potter fancomics "Simply Potterific” and when I started loosing interest in those, and had no idea what else to post online, I took a chance and started posting my small collection of Shrub Monkeys, fearing they'd be too personal for anyone to relate too. Amazingly, many people were able to identify with the comic's scenarios and viewpoints, which fascinate me to no end! Lisa Jonte, (editor at the time) of the female-friendly comic community asked if I was interested in joining their site and from there Shrub Monkeys turned into a weekly updated comic.

As simple as it is I think Shrub Monkeys is one of the most gratifying projects I've ever worked on. It's one of those things that make me appreciate how much people can have in common regardless of where we come from, and how ridiculous and random we can be.

Do you have any other projects in the works?

I've been recently invited to join the lineup for the Flight anthologies for which I'm incredibly excited and terrified. I've also got a few projects of my own on the back-burner as well as a comic series I'll be ramping up on shortly but can't really talk about just yet. A VERY busy year!

What are your thoughts on the comic and animation industry?

I can’t comment on the comic industry, but the animation industry’s been pretty good to me. The job market’s a little slow these days with the way the economy is, but people love entertainment so it's an industry that'll be around for a long time, so I'm not worried. What I wish is that studios would start taking a chance on making more exciting and adventurous stories, as everywhere I look it's either sitcoms for pre-teens or educational shows for kids. I'd love to see studios open up short-film departments where they could experiment with style and storytelling, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Keep in mind I'm only speaking from a Toronto viewpoint!

What are your future aspirations?

They’re unclear at the moment. I feel like I'm torn between animation and comics and while it'd be great to do both I worry that I'll have to choose between them sooner or later. Ultimately I'd be happiest working on my own comic stories, but I'd be content to be a storyboard artist as well... on an awesome feature film or an amazing television series!

What programs do you primarily use for your artwork?

I work primarily with Photoshop, though I’d love to learn how to use Painter or Illustrator. Lately when I can't stand looking at a computer monitor any longer I crack out the old crusty watercolours and play around with those.

Anytime you feel like you're in a funk, what gets you motivated to start drawing again?

I was in a huge rut a couple years back, and was feeling pretty desperate thinking I'd never get out of it. Looking at all the amazing artists on DA and in the industry helped inspire me a little bit (when it didn't utterly depress me) but ultimately just knuckling down and drawing even though I didn't feel like it helped get me back in shape. Getting a cheap crappy sketchbook also helped make drawing a lot less intimidating. It's hard for me to just have fun and draw when I'm staring down at the blank page of a $30 moleskin.

Any advice for any other aspiring artists?

Don’t try and settle down on one style, keep learning and experimenting especially while you’re young and open to new ideas. Carry a sketchbook with you everywhere because you never know when an idea will hit or you’ll see something interesting you want to capture on paper.

What's your favorite live action movie? What's your favorite cartoon movie?

Oooh man, I have lots of favourites. If I had to draw up the short list I’d say Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the Back to the Future trilogy, just because they're fun movies I can watch again and again. My favourite animated movies would probably be Kiki's Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke. No matter how many times I watch it, I start blubbering at the part where the little kodamas start falling out of the trees. That and it’s a visually gorgeous movie.

Any other comments or things you'd like to address?

Um…nothing in particular. Thanks for the interview! :)

For more of Katie’s work, you can visit the following sites:
Shrub Monkeys Webcomic

You can also contact Katie at

Click Here to Read Full Article...

Trailer: Where the Wild Things Are

Trailer for the movie Where the Wild Things Are, an adaption of the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak.

Click Here to Read Full Article...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kraak & Smaak - 'Squeeze Me'

For anyone who hasn't already seen this funky video. Directed by Andre Maat & Superelectric.

Click Here to Read Full Article...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Artists on Tegaki E pt. 4

Here’s another list of artists on TegakiE that you guys should check out:


Feel free to email us with any of your recommendations!

Artists on Tegaki E pt. 1
Artists on Tegaki E pt. 2
Artists on Tegaki E pt. 3

Image © Marlow

Click Here to Read Full Article...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Santogold - 'Lights Out'

A video filled with bold prints and patterns which are characteristic of Santogold's unique style. Directed by Kim Gehrig of Academy Films.

Click Here to Read Full Article...