Arterview: Kadew

By Bummer. Art by Kadew.
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The snow was gently falling on this cloudy Saturday afternoon. People were making their last rounds on their shopping before the stores slowly closed, trying their best not to slip on the ice that had been hidden below the fresh snow that coated the streets. I glanced over my written assignment again. Travel to Utah, interview Kadew, pack warm clothes. That last part was hardly necessary, as my home quarters had the same amount of white substance covering the land, but I appreciated the concern.

Finding a cab was nigh impossible, so I simply settled to walk to her home. After a brisk 30-minute stroll and politely declining two discussions relating to the Bible, I had arrived to the location. A boy opened the door, eyeing me carefully through the gap, and I explained the purpose of my visit. The door quickly shut and I silently wondered if I was at the wrong house, but my thoughts were interrupted as I heard someone rushing down the stairs. The door flew open, and the young woman standing in it introduced herself as Kadew and welcomed me inside. As we walked through the halls, I couldn't help but notice all of the paper drawings of various creatures scattered about, but otherwise it was a model home in every aspect. She showed me a seat, and as I set up my equipment, Kadew grabbed a chair of her own.

Let's start with the basics: Who are you, and why should we care?

Ooh, a toughie.

Kadew sat up straight.

I'm Kadew, a rather lurksome artist who mostly hangs around the more casual side of Smogon. Create-A-Pokémon, Orange Islands, that sort of deal. I am a student at university who hopes to major in animation, though computer sciences are trying to pull my attention away too.

And why should you care about me? Well, typically on IRC, if you come up with some kind of stupid joke or idea, I'll draw it right on the spot, and people seem to like that?

A most treasurable asset.

Yeah, people like stupid stuff, and I like drawing stupid stuff, so that's my niche I guess. I also happen to be a LDS.

There are plenty of places across the web that allow casual discussion about Pokémon. What made Smogon such a nice pick?

While I'm not a particularly competitive player, the competitive stuff interests me quite a bit. When I first discovered Smogon, it was because I enjoyed reading the analyses for fun. Then I discovered the forums, and I liked how, in comparison to other fan-sites, there was an expectation of intelligent in-depth discussion of things. Honestly, the only reason I'm not over in the competitive side of things is that I'm an enormous coward who fears making a fool of herself by either battling poorly or saying noobish things on the forums, so I draw off to the side while still in orbit around the competitive community.

Let's venture into the time before Smogon. How come Pokémon became one of your interests?

Going way back to childhood kindergarten years, I loved fantasy and, in particular, fantastic creatures. Dragons, monsters, scribbling a blob and turning it into whatever creature you could. So Pokémon, and its large selection of monsters, was a perfect fit for that interest. So throughout childhood I had a passing interest in Pokémon, watched the anime here and there for its first few seasons, but I never actually owned the first or second generation of games.

I gasped audibly.

I maybe played them once or twice on my cousin's Game Boy, but I didn't own a game myself. My parents knew that I liked Pokémon, though, and for my birthday in like third or fourth grade I got my first Pokémon game, Pokémon Sapphire. And by then I had basically come into ownership of what was actually technically my sister's GBA. So yeah, my great secret is that I'm a Hoenn baby, or whatever you call it.

Since then, I've played the games avidly and owned games of every generation. My second and third Pokémon games were Crystal version and then Yellow, so I kind of went backwards in that regard. As a result of my later entry into the fandom, I don't have a ton of nostalgia for the first generations. Most of my favorites are from the 3rd and 4th gen, but I still pretty much love all Pokémon. Except Mr Mime. That guy's a creep. ;-;

She wasn't alone in that regard. As I pushed away my thoughts of deranged clowns, I began with the next question.

Plenty of people doodle monsters at a young age. What made you take your art further?

I had all these monsters, creatures, ideas, and fantasies in my head, and you won't see them out in the world, so you have to make them for yourself. We're visual creatures, we like to see what we like, and what I liked wasn't there to see in the real world. Me and a friend were like the dorks in elementary school, where we would sort of roleplay that we owned a pair of dragons during recess, and then we would come inside and draw our dragons out.

Without drawing, how do we say what the imaginary looks like? That's really why I like to draw: being able to show others what is otherwise imaginary, and getting better at art allows you to express those ideas to others more clearly. Stories, designs, all that.

All great artists need a reason why, and I'm glad you've found yours. Many of them are happy with creating stationary images, but you have apparently chosen the path of an animator. Why is that?

Firstly, I'm rather crap at animating so far, so this may not be my eventual route, but it is certainly my dream job. From my previous answers, it's clear that when I draw, I like to draw for an audience. And with animation, you are spinning stories for others, making up a fantastic world and populating it with a story where the drawings come alive.

Ever since I was a kid up until present day, I love watching animated features like Disney, Pixar, Studio Ghibli, and Don Bluth films, and I think it would be so amazing to be a part of that. One day (this is totally a pipe dream), I want to take my kids to the theater and force them to sit through the credits, so that I can point out my name as it scrolls by and be like "look kids, there I am! I helped make this!" And they would be all embarrassed and crap.

An admirable life goal.

It'll be great.

Her grin made it clear that she was dead serious.

Is your interest with drawing monsters part of the reason why you're a recurring contributor to CAP designs?

Haha, probably. As a kid, I went through the stage that probably most fans go through: trying to make your own fake Pokémon. I think one of my elementary school ones was like a double-ended bulldog, so there were two heads and no rear (as an aside, I had a fear of dogs at that age). I gave up on that pretty quickly though. The designs were garbage, and I preferred "legitimate" Pokémon or something dumb.

But when I discovered Smogon in (I believe) 2008, there was this one forum I saw called "Create A Pokémon," and it wasn't like the other silly fan things I had seen. They were doing it with all this thinking and analysis in every portion, and the designs in the threads were pretty sweet. So I hung around and watched the process, thought of who I would vote for in the art threads and rooted for them, but (and this is a big but) I am a coward. A huge, enormous coward, and I watched and lurked for a good four years.

No need to be so hard on yoursel-

FOUR YEARS before I even had the courage to sign up for Smogon and post in the threads to throw my own designs in the ring. Honestly, the reason I participated in Aurumoth as my first CAP was because of my 3D graphics class (part of the animation premajor), where the assignment was to model a bug of some sort since insects are pretty conducive to simple modelling (not having hair and junk). So when the CAP at that time was a BUG-type of all things, it was a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of design.

Having followed that poll, I recalled that design, and made a note to include it later for my summary.

The 3D model turned out great and I loved it. But because I had to spend so much energy getting that done for the class, the actual final submission was crap, and thus I stumbled into my first art poll hating my sub. For the record, I renounce all connections between me and that drawing, and consider that 3D model to be my submission to CAP. >_>

Judging by your answers, it's clear that you've pondered about these things before. Any particular advice you'd like to give struggling new artists?

Don't be discouraged by seeing that other people's art is better, and don't stop drawing because of it. There will always be people better than you at art. I know I look around at other people and think "Geez, my drawings are crapgarbage; why do I even bother," and it's really easy to fall into the pit of despair, but don't. At least, if you do despair, don't stop drawing. Because the reason they are so good, and how you will get good, is by drawing, and drawing, and drawing some more.

If you are taking the path of the artist, it is because you ENJOY drawing, so don't stop doing what you enjoy. Or worse yet, forget that you enjoy it. All of this is spoken from experience. T_T

Didn't expect any less.

Forgetting that I enjoyed drawing was a dark time. ;-;

After regaining her composure, Kadew felt ready to continue.

Any particular story behind your username? My Google search reveals no answers.

Heh, the username Kadew dates back to when I played World of Warcraft a lot (also dark times). I got into the game because of my sister's husband, so the three of us played it and my sister suggested, when I made my character, to name it "Kader," a nickname she called me. Well, when I made a bunch of alts to test out all the different races and classes, they were all variations of Kader, just changing the last letter and going down the alphabet. Kader, Kades, Kadet, Kadeu, Kadev.

Eventually, Kadew (a tauren shaman), became the character I played the most as my "main." Raided, end-game, integrated into a fairly decent-sized guild, so Kadew became my general internet alias. By the time I finally registered to Smogon, I went by Kadew elsewhere on the internet, and so I was Kadew here as well.

And the rest is history.

And now for the grand final question: What's your favorite Pokémon?

Oof, the toughest of them all.

Take your time.

Kadew was silent for a moment, furrowing her forehead as she carefully weighted her words, until she was ready to speak.

I have two favorites, and I don't think I shall ever decide on one solidly: Azelf and Breloom. Breloom because it is adorable, with its fat little legs and its tiny little arms and the almondy head with beady little eyes. I enjoy drawing it, and it is dang useful either in battle or as a catcher with Spore and False Swipe. But Azelf has a story behind it.

I was awful, AWFUL at Pokémon back in third generation. So it was in the fourth gen, Diamond version, that I began really getting into the games and getting good (4th would be my patron generation, I'd say). So I went about catching the legends in the game, and with most legendaries, their capture is difficult because of their low catch rate. It takes forever, and if you don't have a False Swiper (I didn't at the time), there is a chance you'll accidentally kill them.

Azelf was not like most legendaries. He was a difficult capture because he would SWEEP. YOUR. TEAM. You would lose, not by running out of PokéBalls, but by running out of life. It was brutal for my less-than-capable team at the time with Nasty Plot + Speed + Uproar to prevent sleep. And because Azelf's defenses weren't great, you had to use a weak Pokémon to whittle it down, making it that much more the challenge. Azelf is my favorite because it EARNED my respect through that hard trial of capturing it. It's the Pokémon of willpower and it tested my willpower; perhaps even showed me that Pokémon is more fun when there is challenge. Which would lead to my interest in competitive battling? I don't know. I just know that Brelly and Azelf are my favorites, and on different days, one or the other might pull ahead. But at the end of the day, they both are. <3

Thank you for all your lovely answers, Kadew. Interviewing you has been a treat.

It's been fun.


When you look over Kadew's various images, you'll notice that no two images rarely are the same. Regardless of how much time spent into each creation, be it a quick sketch from an earlier IRC log, a carefully drawn illustration, or a 3D model, she makes sure to include enough details to drive the point across and avoids the use of stale poses. Apart from her participation in CAP, she has also participated in various contests around the site and illustrating articles for this very webzine, and has thus come quite a way since she first submitted her 3D bug model. Coupled with her good understanding of lighting and colors, she knows how to piece together images that speak volumes in both looks and content, making her a formidable artist among our ranks.

But there are always areas to improve on. Backgrounds are something that's not common in Kadew's pictures, and those that have one are usually gradient colors with few details to complement the foreground. So while they're no requirement, they're definitely something she can experiment further with. Her lineart also experiences trouble when illustrating fur or other details with more delicate edges and tips, making things appear too blunt, although that might also be a matter of time spent on the piece. With that said, Kadew certainly has the right mentality to grow as an artist and tackle new challenges, so whatever she'll create next, it'll be sure to reflect her creative mind.

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