Volume 37, Issue 2, 2018

Bats Illustrated

Artist Amanda Kadatz discusses her bat art


Amanda Kadatz

Hi there! My name is Amanda Kadatz, and I have been drawing my whole life. For the past six years I have worked as a professional digital illustrator and concept artist.

My interest in bats began when I was in elementary school and my grandfather took me to a visiting bat exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. That day, I bought a plush bat, and I still have it today!

Your art is incredibly expressive! How did you choose the personalities for each of the species?

I have always found bats to be very cool. Now that I am older, I can articulate their “coolness” a bit better. It is their visual features and the sheer variety of bat species that I love the most. They have so many different ear shapes, nose shapes, colors, sizes—I can browse through bat species for hours and never stop being amazed. Plus, they are such important animals for the ecosystems in which they live.

How did you choose the species to illustrate?

Some of the species I chose were long-standing favorites of mine, like the pallid bat and the spectral bat. But for other illustrations, I would search through encyclopedia resources until I came across a species that jumped out at me. Then I would sketch a light drawing in pencil before getting to work with the ink.

This October, Amanda combined her two loves–bats and art– to participate in "Inktober",
an online challenge to produce artwork each day of the month. Courtesy of Amanda Kadatz

Cartoons and comics are a staple in much of the art that I create, so adding personality to each bat came as second nature to me. I tried to capture my first impression from reference images—for example, the Egyptian fruit bat appears really excited with its open mouth and wide eyes, or the bulldog bat has a droopier face, which lends itself better to a dopey expression. It is a bit of bat physiognomy!

(Physiognomy: facial features or expression thought to reveal qualities of mind or character.)

Do you have a favorite illustration?

Of all 31 illustrations, my favorite is definitely the fringe-lipped bat. I love the shape of its head, and it was fun drawing all the bumps around its mouth.

What is your favorite species of bat?

My favorite species of bat overall? Such a hard question because I love them all, but I would say the spotted bat or the pallid bat are at the top of my list.

Do you have any tips for budding artists?

For any young or up-and-coming artists out there, I echo my peers when I say practice your fundamentals, first and foremost! Keep practicing life-drawing, perspective, light studies, etc., because these fundamentals will be the cornerstone of your career as an artist. But always stay true to your interests and create work around subject matter you are passionate about, regardless of how frivolous it might seem to someone else. When you are creating art that you enjoy, people you share it with will enjoy it even more.

 

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