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Spokane Creators

Keith Harrop

Life can be so hard for us all sometimes. I want to bring something new and magical to people. Bring back a sense of wonderment and charm.

My artwork is simply pencil on paper. (Graphite and charcoal.) It's intentionally traditional but laced with expressions that are timeless.

I draw anthropomorphized Victorians and vintage characters. This is continuing an artistic style that's around 150 years old. However, most practitioners of this style would cartoonify them. This can often be seen in vintage publications, editorials, and postcards. However, I choose to retain the original and natural expression of the animal. I think with the proper context and composition, their true personalities can shine through. So, I prefer not to exaggerate their features. Retain their dignity. My aim is to convey a deep sense of a genuine personality. Not just an animal in a suit.

Regarding my process, I often begin by thinking about what type of animal I want to draw. What the personality of that animal might be. It's social class of the time. It's (human) body type. Each of my characters is carefully selected. I give names and background stories for them all. Some have long, complicated histories.

Then, I browse old photos, trying to find inspiration and references. I typically add various props and backgrounds. Finally, I compose the images into one rough draft. Additionally, I add quick study sketches. This will be the reference for the drawing. Once finished, I often age the piece. Not always, but when I feel it needs it. (This is the nail-biting part). I bathe it in everything from tea, coffee, soy sauce, and lemon juice and then dry it with a heat gun.

The better I become, the more confident I become, too. So now, my art is often very complex. The pieces are also taking a lot longer to do. And many are taking on a narrative storyline. I'm getting better at detail, too. So, I see a progression from my earlier works to my latest.

I'm now in the process of adding names and short biographies for each character. These biographies can be found next to the images on my website. Many of my character's stories interconnect with other characters. I'm world-building. I'm also writing a coffee table book, which is a compendium. It will have the accompanying biographies of each piece included.

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