Artist Highlight: Golden Druid!

A member of the fandom since the early 2000s, Golden Druid began selling furry artwork shortly after graduating with a degree in Illustration in 2009. What started out as a side gig, blossomed into a full time business as she fell in love with being a furry artist and jumped into a freelance career centered around the fandom.

Golden Druid’s biggest inspiration, and an artist they learned a great deal from, is Katie Hofgard aka Eski.

” I got to interact and learn from her via her live streams. Eski’s art and insight made me realize that I could improve to the point where I could make this a career.”

Good Fur News met up with Golden Druid via Telegram for a very insightful chat regarding her art, commission practices and more. You can read our conversation below!

“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities.”

– Sophia Amoruso

GFN
Hi Golden! Thank you very much for joining us here at GFN!

Golden Druid
Happy to be here in the virtual studio 🙂

GFN
Let’s start with your creative process. What are some things that you do when starting on a new project/commission?

Golden Druid
Research, research, research. I gather photos of animals, lighting and color schemes, anatomy, landscapes, architecture, etc. I study anything and everything that could help me generate believability in a piece.

GFN
You work in a wide range of mediums and materials, from hand sketched pencil work to some amazing full rendered digital works as well as paints. Do you have a favorite medium?

Golden Druid
Digital painting for sure. Before college I was primarily a traditional artist, but I never really mastered the tools and techniques. I fell in love with Photoshop 2 years into my Illustration degree and it just felt right from the start. It’s so flexible, forgiving, and I’m always finding ways to improve at it.

Golden Druid
I still love drawing and playing around with watercolor though 🙂

GFN
I mean, who doesn’t love water colors? lol

GFN
You’ve been in the fandom since the early 2000s, have you noticed any differences in artwork and artists from then til now?

Golden Druid
Fads in art come and go, talented new artists and styles pop up all the time, and some of the well known artists I watched as a kid seem to have disappeared from the face of the internet.
I like to say our fandom is experiencing a renaissance.
I know my style certainly has evolved from the time I started posting to the internet.
Please don’t go looking for my curdy old artwork XD It’s out there… but I’m not telling where, haha!

GFN
LOL Googles

Golden Druid
Le Noooo!

GFN
You have an amazing grasp of light and shadow in your works. What helped you (and may help others) to refine that?

Golden Druid
There are a few things that have helped me develop an understanding of light, shadow, and color. The first (and arguably the most important) is drawing and painting from life.
My earliest exposure to this was in middle school and high school were we would practice drawing and painting still life’s and photos. We were given a variety of textures, materials, light sources, etc. It really developed my understanding of how different objects and colors react to light.

The second is a book that I reference regularly, James Gurney’s Color and Light. After you’ve painted a bit from life, it’s easy to start applying some of the more complex lessons in his book. He covers things like luminescence and hidden light sources and things that might be harder to recreate in a still life setting.

GFN
Thank you for the recommendations!
Most everyone knows the first rule of improving your art (or any skill really) is Practice, Practice, Practice! Do you have any other quick tips for those starting out or looking to improve?

Golden Druid
Practicing by doodling and drawing from your mind is great, but to really improve quickly, you need to practice with intent. And what I mean by that is focus in on what specifically you want to improve upon. For example, if you hate the way you draw hands, spend 30 days drawing and painting nothing but hands. Fill a whole sketchbook if you have to. And I bet by the end of the month you’ll have a pretty good grasp on them. (no pun intended) 😉
Also, another good way to practice with intent is watch a tutorial every day, or read a few pages in a how-to-draw/paint book. Watching one of your favorite artist’s live stream and studying how they work is also great. All these are ways to improve faster than just drawing from your mind’s eye.

GFN
Great advice! And puns 2000% accepted 😛

“Natural born talent does not determine success. Having patience, a thirst for learning/improvement, and courage to try big things does. “

Golden Druid


GFN
Let’s talk commissions/commissioning. You have a VERY thorough commission system that can be found on your FAQ page. Speaking to those that commission art, are there any points you feel important to stress?

Golden Druid
Hmmm, I guess I would like for my commissioners to know that there is so much more that goes into their artwork outside of the hours invested in actual painting. I’m constantly researching, revising, and troubleshooting ideas to create the best illustration of their character possible.
There’s a lot of unbilled time I put into them. Every painting has it’s own set of challenges that cause me to set them aside for a time, and usually I get my “Ah-ha!” moments right before falling asleep, before waking up in the morning, or while I’m showering. I’m always on the clock so to speak, hah!

GFN
Creativity really doesn’t sleep, does it? 🙂

Golden Druid
Sometimes I wish I could shut it off and turn it back on, but then I’d might miss out on some of my greatest spontaneous ideas.

GFN
Now let’s talk about opening for commissions, and specifically, what advice would you give to artists that may be considering taking commissions or are looking to improve their current commission process?

Golden Druid
There is so much to talk about on this subject. I’m going to address the most important thing, and then for more detail, I dive into this question further on my FAQ page. http://goldendruid.com/about/

If you are taking commissions and don’t have a TOS (Terms of Service), get on the ball and make one! Your TOS is not just some boring legal document, it’s a clear guide on how you operate; what you will and won’t do. It is something you stick to with integrity. It also outlines the behavior you expect in return from your commissioners. It’s most important function is to create transparency and understanding between you and the buyer. If a potential commissioner is not on board with your TOS, then they are not the right fit for you. Not every artist is right for every client and visa versa. Because often times “nightmare” clients are just regular people who have no idea how you operate or what’s expected of them. A clear TOS makes sure both people come out of a deal happy and helps prevent misunderstandings.

My TOS was adapted from the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Feel free to copy it if you like, but always do your own research on top of that.

GFN
That makes sense to me and should be great help to those looking to start taking on commissions of their own, thank you!

GFN
Let’s get a little silly for our last question, we need to let you get back to creating!

If, for some strange reason, you were were only allowed to do art of 1 species, what would it be and why?

Golden Druid
😱😱😱

GFN
Fusky is a perfectly acceptable answer 😛

Golden Druid
Oh gosh! Why are you doing this to me?! XD Probably foxes… or cats. Cat/fox hybrids. There we go. 🙂
GFN
Beautiful! (I was almost a Cat/Fox) haha!

Golden Druid
Now I’m going to have to make a new Cat/Fox OC, haha

GFN
Thank you so much for chatting with me today, any final thoughts for the audience?

Golden Druid
Final thoughts? Hmm…

You only get to live this life once. Don’t allow yourself to be bound by arbitrary ideas, rules, or expectations of society. Think and live expansively.

GFN
Very good advice. Thank you again so much for talking with me today, it’s been very informative!

Golden Druid
Glad to have the opportunity!


Be sure to check out Golden Druid’s art and more at http://goldendruid.com/
If you’re looking to see her work in person, you can catch Golden Druid at Anthro New England coming up Feb. 21-24th.

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