Denise Kristin (DeniseThePleb)
|Favorite Animal||Arctic Wolf|
With a multitude of talents, Denise Kristin is a 22-year-old graphic designer, independent traditional artist, and variety streamer from Singapore. Harboring a strong interest in wildlife and nature, Denise specializes in creating symmetrical achromatic illustrations of animals filled with intricate patterns and details. Mostly utilizing pencil for her works, she creates stunning masterpieces from one of the most simple drawing tools.
Broadcasting frequently on Twitch, Denise shares her passions with her audience. As a variety caster, Denise livestreams a multitude of her talents and interests including gaming, singing, playing the guitar, and of course, art. Mostly live-streaming in Twitch Creative, Denise has created a community dubbed “The Pleb Life” in which viewers can watch creative content. With a chill and friendly vibe, Denise focuses on having a good time and ensures that everyone feels welcome in her corner of the Internet. “I love interacting with my viewers,” she exclaims. “I am committed to providing the best experience to each and every supporter.”
In September 2017, Denise offered her creative and streaming abilities to partake in the FaunaFocus Charity Host Train. This 24-hour event hosted 11 different artists and broadcasters in order to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund’s endeavor to help the endangered tiger species by doubling the diminishing population by the year 2020. During this event, Denise illustrated a close-up portrait of a tiger in her signature tribal style.
Denise has always been interested in drawing since a young age, but didn’t begin fully pursuing the arts until her college years. Now with a degree in Media Production and Design, she has been creating works professionally for the past year and a half, both digitally and traditionally. When working digitally, Denise prefers tools from the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. She utilizes the software’s pen tool to create flat vector-based designs. Sometimes, sketches are drawn on paper, scanned, and then imported into the software for further illustrating.
Though her degree may be based in digital production, Denise seemingly specializes in traditional media. Mostly using graphite and mechanical pencils on fine grain, heavyweight paper from Daler Rowney, Denise first sketches traditionally before scanning in her completed artworks and touching them up digitally. She mainly works in a symmetrical fashion, utilizing an achromatic color palette that is completely devoid of color. This consistency gives her portfolio a unified feel and highlights other elements within her work, such as the tribal themes she chooses to focus on. By removing an essential element of art, others, such as her use of varying lines and pattern, are allowed to shine.
Denise’s prominent series, “Tribal Art Series,” showcases her prominent style, perfectly. This collection showcases several sketches that blend semi-realistic and tribal elements while focusing on symmetry, patterns, nature, and wildlife. Within each illustration, an animal is represented head-on, completely filling the composition in an imposing manner and forcing the viewer to stare within the creature’s detailed eyes. “The main focus of the Tribal Art Sketch Series is to use traditional spirit animals and interpreting them using a tribal art style,” Denise explains. “Each focus on a specific mood set by the eyes and included detailed line work.” These headshots are created with an expansive array of lines and shapes, each with varying characteristics and filled with distinct patterns. Everywhere the eye looks, it’s met with interesting collections of dots, stripes, dashes, and squiggles. These geometric elements combine to create organic motifs that represent natural features, such as branches, fur, and flowers.
The Tribal Art Sketch Series features several totem animals including a wolf, bear, owl, panther, fox, and panda. Each animal was chosen to represent specific characteristics. The wolf symbolizes a strong connection with instincts or intuition, high intelligence, loyalty, communication, and a deep desire for freedom. The bear was chosen to depict strength, confidence, and the ability to stand against adversity, take action, and lead. This ursine also shows the need to take the time for healing one’s self and others and emphasizes the importance of solitude, quiet time, and rest. Lastly, the owl personifies intuition, wisdom, and the ability to see what others cannot, such as to see beyond deceit and obscurities. The owl is also traditionally seen as the announcer of death, most likely symbolic of a life transition or change.
Wildlife has always been a major source of inspiration for Denise. Most of her pieces encompass a spirit animal embodied with elements of nature, such as flowers and leaves. “Nature has always been my escape for my brain as I find it the most relaxing to create,” she confides. “I like to imagine them in different patterns and find it fascinating how each animal fits so well with patterns from nature.” Recreating wild animals within a semi-realistic style, Denise focuses on depicting these interesting creatures whilst learning more about them. She especially enjoys working with animals she’s not familiar with as it allows her to research and discover new information. “I learn so much more about different animals and nature, in general!” she elates.
With a strong passion in totem animals, Denise’s favorite creation has been one that depicts her own spirit animal, the owl. “It is the one I relate to the most, mainly for symbolizing to remain true to ourselves, our voice, and our vision,” she confesses. One of the few pieces she’s created that’s not symmetrical, this artwork stands out within her portfolio and displays new talents. “This made it different from my other creations and made me think outside of the box,” she remarks. Instead of the owl being centered within the composition, it’s positioned more to the side with the entire left side of the bird’s face being obscured by the artwork’s boundaries. This, combined with the owl’s left plumicorn extending past the work’s frame, help to extend the image and make the viewer wonder what else may be hidden beyond the small window displayed before him. The stark void of darkness within the composition’s background helps to push the avian, depicted mainly in lighter values, forward. This creates a clear sense of depth and dimension. Rounding out the foreground, rest a layer of dark coniferous trees, as well as a well-rendered clock. “The clock tributes to the American Indian folklore of owls signifying approaching death, and, is thus, counting down our time on Earth,” Denise justifies. “The treeline gives a better sense of nature and the owl’s natural habitat.” As one of her favorite animals, Denise wanted to represent the great horned owl as a regal beast. With this intention, she manipulated the bird’s crest feathers to more closely resemble that of a crown, making them larger and more prominent than in life. “Though the patterns are not closely following the actual feathers on a great horned owl, its differences in size and designs give the illusion of different textures similar to those on owls themselves.” Finally, the main focal point of this piece rests in the immensely deep and detailed eyes of the creature. The only eye visible within the piece is made up of a large amount of dark values that contrast against the sea of lighter values beneath it. This allows the orb to capture the viewer’s gaze and keep it as he ponders of the owl’s thoughts. “My main focus was to ensure that the eyes captured the intense emotions and mystery of such a magnificent creature,” Denise finalizes. With so many elements working together in this piece, the artist was tasked with carefully constructing such as well-balanced and complicated composition. Denise, no doubt, succeeded in creating a successful piece to idolize her spirit animal, the owl.
Although it may seem as if Denise was gifted her abilities, she’s worked tirelessly over long periods of time to perfect her craft and stabilize her personal take on the world. With such a concise and recognizable style, she encourages others to attain their own, unique perspective. “I advise people to find a style that they like and to keep practicing,” she states. “Keep experimenting and learn different techniques.” Just as Denise works traditionally and digitally, don’t be afraid to explore other media, as well. An artist will only improve by practicing and experimenting, whether it be for short amounts of time or long hours each day. No matter how much time you put it, as long as you put in some time, you will see improvement in your work.