At the Heart of the Art

GrimToothReaper, also known as Erin, is an artist whose work you've probably seen around, especially if you've been a Pirate101 fan in recent years. Today, Erin shares tips for other artists and shows off an impressive range of abilities and creations.

Meet the Artist

Howdy hey! My name is Erin, but I'm better known in the KingsIsle Twitter community as Grim (GrimToothReaper).

First off I would like to say I'm sorry, you are about to witness my incredibly lame awesome writing, and second there wasn't a point ever in my ramen-filled life I didn't love creating abominations art.

Journey Into the Spiral

I came across Wizard101 awhile back ago, when I was still in grade school, through a random ad on my web browser. Up until that point the only type of game I had ever touched was a old vintage Xbox 360 game called Jet Set Radio Future and a few web-based kiddie mini games.

Wizard101 immersed me into an exciting fantasy realm unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I was the kind of kid who got a kick out of playing with string so if you can imagine this was a whole new level of epic in my book. Around this time life got a bit darker for me, but at the end of a bad day this flourish of colored graphics gave me my smile back.

Later when Pirate101 came out I retired my magical twig for a wooden sword and an eyepatch. Throughout the years, the KI community never ceased to amaze me and I've met so many incredible individuals.

Other Interests

Can't have a party without the basic and boring cheese dip aka this topic! Aside from scallywags and magical madness I love collecting "all of the things", Star Wars, and animals/bugs.

If I stumble across something that is absolutely worthless, gritty, metallic, and perhaps hazardous it'll go right into my treasure trove of garbage gizmos and gadgets. Call it an "Ariel complex" but there's something too cool about doohickies and all their intricacies.

Star Wars. Yup. I was hugely into Star Wars around middle school It wasn’t a phase mom and it really sparked my interest in concept art styles.

If the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet was a religion, I'd be the pope. I have always found other organisms inexplicably interesting and I've always enjoyed learning about them and their relationship to their environments.

What I Do Nowadays

Currently I'm majoring in game art. While I play KingsIsle games less nowadays, the games and people left a huge impact on me. I took two years of animation, but after my experiences with MMO's/games, I decided I wanted to created and be a part of the things which made me so happy for others.

Through the games and community, I've made long-lasting friendships and grown, not only an artist, but as a person. I am truly grateful. To all the wizards and pirates: thank you and keep rocking the spirals!

Extra Tips for Artists

  • Take a step back & flip your canvas/drawings often to check proportions and composition (if it's traditional a mirror will work nicely!)
  • If you're a digital artist try and get into customizing and utilizing your key shortcuts (it might be wonky at first but this will improve your workflow)

  • Post your projects. So many of us are terrified to post our unfinished stories/comics because often times we think "I wanna wait till I git gud to start posting"... You will never start it unless you do, so go for it!
  • Don’t worry about creating everything for others. Allow yourself to leisure draw. Not everything you create needs to be for your next post or future portfolio so enjoy creating for the sake of creating.
  • References, use them. There's no shame in using a reference (plenty of industry professionals do). Think of it like cooking. A reference is like a recipe. If you’re making something you've never made before you would want to use a recipe. Eventually once you repeat it enough you'll be confident enough to make it without the recipe.

  • Draw often and draw from life! Don't me get wrong… I love drawing epic stylized magical fantasy sparkly entities but sometimes it's good to brush up on the core fundamentals every now and then
  • Always allow yourself to grow and be open to learning new techniques and (yeah… cheesy I know) don't give up

Thanks to Erin for this post!

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