We may be able to report the latest gaming news at Insert Gamer, but let’s face it — for every breaking announcement, for every hot trailer, for every controversial piece of juicy gaming gossip, there are about 10,000 sites who are also reporting on it. But there is one thing that we can report on that nobody else can — amazing creative content from our wonderful community of followers.
That’s why, starting today, we’re launching Featured Artist, a recurring panel to show off the incredible art that’s being created by countless creators day after day. We’re constantly blown away by the creative works that come from the gaming community, and we couldn’t be more proud to show them off to the world. Whether you’re an artist, cosplayer, crafter, or any other kind of creative, we’d love to see your stuff! Contact us today with your content, or send us a message on Facebook!
Today’s Artist: Commander Kiwi
For our first Featured Artist ever, we’ll be showing off the wonderful work of Katie Chekay, known more often online as Commander Kiwi. Kiwi submitted her art in one of Insert Gamer’s “Show Me Your Moves” Facebook posts, and we immediately took a liking to her work. If it wasn’t already apparent from her artwork, Kiwi is a huge Destiny fan, and most (though not all) of her work is based around the iconic Bungie franchise.
Kiwi enjoys drawing established characters, but she also loves taking a stab at original characters. She has drawn her own Destiny character on multiple occasions, and has also taken commissions for other people’s Guardians. Some of her choice pieces are displayed in the gallery below; please check them out and leave a friendly comment if you like what you see! And, of course, we encourage you to follow Commander Kiwi on Tumblr or Twitter (listed above) if you’re a fan of her work.
Want to learn a little more about Kiwi? Keep scrolling after the gallery to read our one-on-one interview!
Meet the Artist
How long have you been drawing?
Kiwi: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Around 1996-97, possibly? It started off when I was very young, trying to do more than stick figures and being super into art classes in elementary school. Eventually after I have gotten obsessed with both anime (Yu-Gi-Oh! is a big example) and owning a Playstation 2 back in 2000, that’s when I started realizing myself that I had a lot more potential, becoming my prime hobby.
Most of your pieces are related to Destiny – what inspired you to start drawing characters from this game in particular?
Kiwi: I usually hyper-focus on fandoms. Anime, Team Fortress 2, Resident Evil, Mass Effect, until I burn myself out. Destiny has been my latest one that has extended over the years, and was well known in the Destiny roleplaying community on Tumblr when it was at its peak a few years back.
I have this ever so slight lack of creativity when it comes to creating characters on the spot. If I can’t think of anything at that exact moment, I will usually default to one of my more well-known characters I’ve used over the years. I do it in most custom character games, and I did it on Destiny, too! She was my first Hunter back before House of Wolves was released.
Eventually I got bored of seeing her. Vaulted everything, deleted her, and sat on the creative screen for a good hour, coming up with a new Hunter. I was not too fond of her at first until I decided to draw her as a doodle practice, eventually she stuck. I’m not sure how it happened in the end. One day, it’s a doodle; the next day, it’s about 15+ art pieces of her, and over 200 screenshots in-game for reference. It allowed me to challenge myself to new things I was not used to drawing: armor and guns. Sketched my Guardians, eventually sketching others as gifts, to doing commissions.
I see you take commissions — what is your favorite aspect of bringing someone else’s original character to life?
Kiwi: Two aspects: the “breath of fresh air” appeal when drawing a character that is not your vision, and the reaction of the creator afterwards. Comparing artwork of game canon characters vs. the original characters of someone else’s ideas, there are little to no days where your character will be drawn. When you receive, commission or gift, it’s so positivity overwhelming. Even for me, when I see the keyboard smash happen and the never-ending thanks from friends and buyers, it motivates me to do more. One more smile in the world, right?
What medium and/or software do you use to create your art?
Kiwi: For traditional, I use whatever is available. Standardly: .05 Mechanical Pencils, Microns, Faber Castell pens, Prismacolors, Golden Acrylics, Charcoal (my favorite traditional medium.)
For digital artwork: Photoshop CS6 and sometimes Paint Tool Sai, if it ever behaves! Tablet wise, I own a Cintiq Companion Hybrid tablet. It’s the one where it allows me to use it as either an Android tablet, or a dual-monitor when hooked up to the desktop.
Do you have any advice, tips, or messages for aspiring artists?
Kiwi: Reference EVERYTHING! Even if it is something you know you can draw, still reference it! And remember: there is absolutely nothing wrong with tracing or drawing it side-by-side if you are aiming to improve. Whatever helps you, do it, but own up it. Do these techniques to improve yourself, not for shortcuts, no matter how tempting it is.
And lastly, this is for everyone: “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” Anyone can do art, make great things; whether or not you have the patience is the hurdle you need to vault over.
I’ve self-taught myself since 1996, and I’m still learning every day on improving and new techniques. Skill is not learned overnight.
What are your aspirations for your own artwork?
Kiwi: The one thing I am not happy with in my situation with my own artwork is the inconsistency. There are times where I have belt out a bunch of sketches, commissions, doodles, in a small span. Then, there were times that I have put down my art pen for a solid year when the dark times rolled in.
My one main wish is to have the strength to do my artwork on a near-daily basis. Eventually, sell stickers, prints, tshirts.
Are you taking commissions? If so, how would one go about making an order?
Kiwi: Currently, I am not taking public commissions, due to getting a brand new job a few weeks ago! However, if I ever do open commissions, I will announce it usually on my Tumblr or Twitter. I have a price list on my Tumblr with instructions, very straight-forward. Most people either contact me there or through email, what ever works best for them.
Finally, what are you playing right now, and what upcoming release are you most excited for?
Kiwi: Currently, I am on a mixed binge between Apex Legends (Wattson main, here!) and Red Dead Redemption 2. Had to start that all over due to a corrupted save, but that does not bother me in the slightest.
One game that I am looking forward to playing when I get my hands on it will be Borderlands 3. It’s out, yes, but I’ll be all over it when it hits Steam.
Also: Animal Crossing on the Switch, who doesn’t love Animal Crossing!?
Get Featured on Insert Gamer
And that’s a wrap for Commander Kiwi! Like we mentioned above, follow her on social media if you like her work. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in being our Featured Artist, be sure to contact us using our online form, or send us a friendly message on Facebook. Be sure to include a link to some of your work and a way for us to get back to you!