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Artist of the Month

Artist of the Month: February, 2005

The Artist of the Month for February, 2005 is Kristopher Smith.

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One of the first things I notice about this artist is that the characters depicted are all very on-model, and that there's a decidely consistent style that runs through all of them. We see very few signs of stylistic development that would separate the pieces of work in discernable periods of technique advancement or differentiation. This suggests (at least to me) that they're likely the work of an already accomplished artist with some experience and an established personal style that was arrived at before joining the ranks of CDRR fanartists, though I can't confirm that since I don't personally know very much about this artist. Anyone who does know something, or can tell us where to find more of this artist's work elsewhere, your comments would be appreciated.

In terms of the subject matter and themology of Kristopher Smith's artwork, Dale figures most heavily, appearing in nearly all of Smith's images. Foxglove is also largely present, and a pro D+F theme runs through these images, which feels decidedly appropriate to the general style - the frequent use colored pencil to create a gentle feel to the coloring and shading work, in my opinion, particularly suits this body of work to portrayals of interaction between these two characters.

Resulting from this, the overall tone of the art that Smith produces definately accentuates and shows off Dale and Foxglove's lightheartedness. In this particular case, I'd say that the right subjects simply seem to have found the right artist, and the results speak for themselves. Even in a few drawings which use dark backgrounds or heavy concealing shadow, the mood they evoke is more a feeling of playful mystique rather than any sense of sinisterness.

The few exceptions to this are a series of three illustrations (to the story "The Day Dale Became Smart") with a more dramatic tone to them.
After reacquainting myself with Kris Smith's work, I found myself travelling back mentally to the early stages of my own writing. His illustrations of "The Day Dale Became Smart" were among the first illustrations done for one of my stories, and I remember the deep appreciation that someone would do such a thing voluntarily. Beyond that, the illustrations truly caught the emotions of the moment, and showed a mastery of form and placement that enhances beyond the medium.

Then I traveled past those illustrations and found the same innate sense of placement mixed with a synergistic feel for balance of light and line. Kris loves to play with light levels, creating a sense of intimacy--particularly in the "night" series of pictures. There's a whispering to them, a hushed quiet that gives one the sense that perhaps we're privy to something we shouldn't be. Yet there's an inviting flavor to it, a magnetic touch that gives one satisfaction in seeing it.

At the other end of the spectrum we have pictures of Dale lazing about, Dale and Foxy swimming or just clowning around. There's not a looseness of form, but there is a looseness of subject matter--we sense that everything's cool, and they're at ease. These pictures are refreshing in a way, emanating the "lazy summer" motif.

Overall, I would say that Kris Smith provides an aura with each picture--the drawing itself may not overly impress, but the indirect emotional whole we come away with certainly does. His pictures show the value of developing the whole scene, and not simply concentrating on form or appeal. Here we have the whole package, and whether we like the message or not (and I do like it) it's there for the taking.
Having never heard of this artist before I was very please with his work. Being a Dale fan I loved the subject matter but I also enjoyed many other aspects of his artwork.

Many of the drawings (with the exception of the Day Dale became Smart of course) make you smile. And others will even make you laugh. Knowing that Dale is going to get hit from Gadget's gun or Dale being so absorbed in his movie that he doesn't notice Foxy moving in are great moments for laughter - for me.

One can tell that Dale and Foxy are his favorites, not only from the subject matter but because they are of a higher quality than the others. In the food fight, Gadget is not as well posed & proportioned as Foxy in all her drawings, and in "Betrayed" the others just look flatter than Dale & Foxy.

It's great that he's not afraid to try out different poses and angles for the characters to be in. Shooting Dale from an up angle while relaxing outside, from the top with the skydiving, with appendages pointing towards the viewer when jumping in the pool, & flying in the air in "Kaboom" are not easy poses yet he took them on & did a good job!

I love to see the progression of the artwork. Although personally I enjoy some of the earlier, pre-shading versions for their simplicity.

Kristopher is a good artist & I really enjoyed his work. He captured Dale and Foxy's personalities really well.