Tatii’s dragon designs are some of the most impressive in the game, and she has papers to back it up!
Well, kind of. Though she studied marine biology and not a draconian one, Canadian-based Tatii Lange excels at drawing detailed creature anatomy that makes her artworks feel even more alive. In this week’s On The Spot, Tatii tells us more about her inspirations and creative process, and how it all started with a long neck dinosaur.
Where do you live and what does your studio look like?
I live in Downtown Vancouver, in a one room little apartment. I moved a couple of years ago and love it here, however with the current rent prices, my studio is a very very cramped desk that takes up half of my living room! Nothing very interesting to see, haha.
Your focus is on the fantasy genre. What draws you to this subject?
My mother would read to me every night as a kid, and one of my first memories that relates to drawing was about me coming out of kindergarten with a drawing of a long neck dinosaur that my mom had read about to me the day prior.
I think it’s the idea of visualizing something that can’t be seen in real life and trying to bring all those crazy ideas floating in my mind to life. I’m still very much a bookworm – fantasy books in particular have been a big part throughout my life and a big source of inspiration.
What kind of work do you most enjoy doing?
I think almost every drawing has a stage where I hate what I’m doing, be it the sketch not coming out as I want it to or being tired of rendering something I’ve been staring at for months.
But in general, anything that has dragons and cool creatures in it! And the struggle is always worth it, you just have to push through it. It’s like running a marathon, once you overcome the first urge to give up it becomes easier, and the reward is great, because you did it, no matter what time you made or how pretty the final drawing is.
You studied marine biology. Does your scientific background influence your art in any way?
This is a good one! The most obvious answer is that it helps me with creature designs, anatomy and such, though that could have still been true without properly studying marine biology. The truth is, I think it gave me a deeper challenge that wasn’t only visual and artistic, and that rounded me up as a person more than studying something art related.
It influences the way I interpret things around me, like the news, which is always full of very misrepresented studies or charts. Knowing how to read those things correctly and how they are done has helped me navigate this overwhelming world of information we now live in. So in the long run, I think it has influenced my art in a more roundabout way, helping me see the nuances and complexities of so many things.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I don’t really have an answer for this one. I always find it really heartwarming to see the support of people online and other fellow artists, but I don’t think I remember a particularly memorable one.
What does your creative process look like and what tools do you use?
I’m not a very spontaneous artist that doodles anything that comes to mind and can go with it. I actually spend quite a bit of time looking at inspiration and references for what I want to do before I start sketching. Most of the time that helps me break the initial paralysis of the white canvas, and from that point I’m able to loosen up and explore more.
I work entirely digitally, on a Cintiq 22HD and a Mac Studio. Sometimes I sketch from the iPad on Procreate, but for me nothing really replaces Photoshop and a Cintiq specially for big detailed illustrations.
What are your biggest inspirations?
Animals most definitely. I always liked drawing creatures, real and fantastic. Animal documentaries always leave me wanting to draw.
Are there any artists you look up to?
I think I could list hundreds of artists here. But I think the ones I go to the most in search of inspiration and look at their art regularly would be Ilse Gort (Caraid), RJ Palmer and Anna Podedworna (Akreon).
I know most artists mention old painting masters, but for me, the Internet has completely formed my art vision and so my favorite artists are digital art contemporaries.
What are your passions other than creating art?
Biology for sure! I’m a big nerd for anything related to it, even medicine. I’m also very much into history. I love listening to videos or podcasts about all kinds of topics, it keeps my mind entertained and focused while I draw. So my mind is full of random knowledge from marine invertebrate factoids, to flying planes and cryptid lore.
I also really like dog training, horse riding and videogames.