30 Characters Challenger: Amanda Ohsiek

| October 30, 2010 | 2 Comments
Mahewa and Me

Me with my internet visage, Mahewa

So. Hi.

I guess the best place to start is to talk about myself a little, eh? First, I’m a 19-year-old undergrad majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics, but alongside my academic interests have always lain creative ones. I’ve been both drawing and writing since I was very young. I’ve taken a couple of odd art classes during my youth, but for the most part I’m a self-taught artist. I’ve always loved animals, both real and make-believe; in the past few years I’ve drawn mostly anthropomorphic art so that I could practice human anatomy while still keeping my characters “wild” and unique. I’ve still got one tentative foot in the furry fandom, leftover from my affinity for anthros in the past few years. (In fact, you may know my lioness persona, Mahewa J. Huntress, from elsewhere.) In recent months, though, I’ve finally started practicing human faces and thus introducing many more human characters into my work.

My favorite genres of fiction are fantasy and sci-fi, preferably with a dash of romance. As such, the characters you’ll be seeing from me in the next month are probably going to fall into one of two different fictional canons that I have created: Teyra, a fantasy world governed by the four classic elements, and Race, our own world in a time far in the future when the galaxy’s sentient races have finally approached each other. I’ve constantly been changing and refining Teyra since I first dreamt up a story for it in 9th grade, while the world of Race was built quite recently out of some sketches from this summer and an abandoned short story from 10th grade. I’ve been vaguely considering making one of these two canons into a webcomic of my own. I may also create the occasional character that does not fit either mold, though these will be rare.

Why am I taking on the 30 Character Challenge? Because I want to push myself to draw more. Since I’ve never officially enrolled in any sort of art regime, my sketches are rarely more than doodles in my lecture notes. With this project, I will be pushed to refine my ideas and learn more about the vast library of digital art techniques out there.

Thank you kindly for your time in reading this. I very much look forward to the events of this coming month!


Category: About, Participants

About the Author ()

Hi there! I'm a sophomore in college, and though I've only taken the occasional art class back in high school, I like to think of myself as a decent self-taught visual artist with some writing skill as well. I love fantasy, particularly when it comes to the fun creatures, so my characters may very well be something other than human. Nice meeting you, and thanks for stopping by!

Comments (2)

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  1. Adam J. Smithee says:

    Your profile post looked lonely since a bunch of the others had at least one comment, so I figured I’d ‘spruce it up’ by stopping in to say hello.


    I’m curious… how do you feel your experience drawing of anthros has translated to your drawing of humans? Your self portrait(s) above look really neat and have a very unique visual style, especially in the face, which I suspect is related to the shifting from one genre to the other.

    I’m facing similar issues currently, but from the other end of the spectrum… I myself am not a furry, but have recently started drawing them (or trying, anyway) as part of my webcomic and have been having some issues with the human-to-animal extrapolation. Then again, my art is much more sylized (to the point of being nearly chibified all the time) so it’s complicated to furrify characters while still keeping with the less-is-more doctrine.

    • Hey, thanks a ton for saying hi! It means a lot to me.

      I like to say that I started drawing “seriously” in late middle school, by copying drawings of horses out of books. From there I moved to horselike fantasy creatures and dragons. About halfway through 10th grade I was reintroduced to the coolest movie ever The Lion King, and for the next year or so I was rabidly drawing fanart for it. I think that this obsession was actually one of the most important factors in the improvement of my art, since I studied one particular style and did my best to replicate its fluidity.

      It wasn’t until I was well into this phase that I learned what “furry” was. Now, I’d drawn a few humans before and I wanted to get better at their anatomy, but I was always discouraged by the ugly faces I kept coming up with. After learning of the furry fandom, I shifted gears and started cranking out anthro work, because I could stay in my comfort zone with the cartoony animal faces but still get the anatomy down. Eventually I did some human-face practice independently, and with my confidence boosted, I’ve been drawing many more full humans recently.

      If you’re trying to improve your translations of stylized human expressions to animal faces, I think a lot could be learned from animated movies such as those of Disney. You could also do a little research into the various head structures of animals, not too much, and then just think about what “human” facial muscles would be translated where. In a simple style like chibi, you can usually get away with keeping the animals’ muzzles small and simple, or even not drawing them at all save for the nose tip. I’d highly recommending looking into Tom Fischbach’s TwoKinds for examples of this manga-like simplicity. In summary, research is good, but remember that this stuff is simpler than you may think.

      I wish you the best of luck! See ya ’round.


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