My name is Tanner Staheli, I am a 23-year-old goofball from Utah, USA, with a small attention span and a FAT imagination. My love for drawing concepts and illustrations began with me finding ways to pass the time during high school classes, this went on long enough for me to realize my true potential in creating art and fictional settings using numerous inspirations that surrounded me at the time. I am now currently a student at Utah Valley University majoring in illustration, and as well as a part-time janitor.
I grew up surrounded by a very ambitious and loving family of 2 sisters, 1 brother, and my mom and dad; who both have supported me since the beginning, and I would not have even come to close to completing this universe if it weren't for them. I also have a pet ball python named Oliver :)
I also love video games, movies, etc that feature out-of-this-world settings, mainly because of how much they inspire me to work on art. My favorite games are Sekiro; Shadows Die Twice, League of Legends (Skarner main btw), Hollow Knight, Minecraft, and Terraria. My taste in movies consist of Pulp Fiction, Kung Fu Panda 2, Seven Samurai, Into the Spiderverse, and just like everyone else, I am a huge fan of the MCU saga (Age of Ultron being my favorite fight me).
Being a concept artist, I love to create things from imagination, and what's better than using that passion to create my own world around it all? The earliest creations of Immortalize has to be imagining Haruma in summer 2016, An edgy, dark clothed, hooded character with shadow powers and badass gauntlets that uses an ammunition system to power them up. From then on I've realized how much fun it is to create characters, and now I am here. I may not be the best writer but building Kudao is one of the main things that drive motivation for me :)
Q: Are you a weeb?:
Q: Are you sure?
A: Ok I'm a big fan of Jojo, Samurai Champloo, and Cowboy Bebop but that's it lol. (As of now)
Q: What inspires you?
A: Character design as a whole was inspired when I played a ton of League of Legends and Overwatch. I would draw fanart constantly and I thought to myself "What if I did my OWN stuff?" and boom here I am. Honorable mention is Dreamworks, Kung Fu Panda, without those movies I would never have been introduced to the true beauty of Chinese culture. I know it's a silly kids trilogy, but the art direction and score by Han Zimmer was done so exponentially well that it was inspiring enough to create this universe. Also, Mongolia is a VERY underrated and interesting culture to learn about. The Mongolian Metal band; The Hu, does an incredible job at sharing the culture with the rest of the world, I listen to their stuff every time I draw a Monkhu-related piece.
Also, notable mentions: League of Legend's Warring Kingdoms and Blood Moon skin-line, as well as their expertly crafted universe of Runeterra, other videos games like Sekiro; Shadows Die Twice, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, and countless other videogames/movies/shows made by seriously talented artist and writers.
ALSO NOTABLE MENTION: Ghost of Tsushima! Wow-what an incredible game! I mainly bought the game expecting another Sekiro and while the combat isn't as fluid as Sekiro, the story is absolutely fantastic. I will definitely be taking notes from this masterpiece when working on my samurai storylines.
Q: What do you plan to do with your universe?
I get asked this often, and for good reasons because it's not even something I am completely sure about. When creating characters for Immortalize back in high school, I was heavily influenced by video games like League of Legends and Overwatch at the time so what I had my mind focused on was an online multiplayer competitive game. It's why I have the "stat bar" in character pages, however, I keep them because I think they're neat. Over time I realized the drawbacks of it since the art/lore/music for League of Legends is very overshadowed by its toxic community and frustrating/addicting gameplay. So when most people hear "League of Legends" they instantly react with a sour taste, which is a shame because as I said the worldbuilding for LOL is incredible. I would just hate to have people feel hesitant when seeing my work due to toxic connections. So no MOBA/FPS/Fighting games sorry! :(
I think the absolute best thing Immortalize can become is either an animated tv series or even a series of movies like the MCU. Obviously, this is kind of pushing it due to the lack of resources I have to exceed my expectations. So I'm planning on starting small, something more realistic like a webcomic or manga series. BUT HEY, If I had a gajillion dollars, I would DEFINITELY cook up something cool.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
A: This is a very hard question. All of my characters are like my children to me, so it's really hard to choose. I'd probably go with either Haruma or Lao. Haruma is the first character I've created so I'm pretty attached to him, and I just love Lao's design, who is also one of the earliest creations. Mao Rang and Mazoku were really fun to create as well!
Q: What are some fun trivia facts about your world?
Mio and Anhai were Christmas gifts to my little brother and sister, whom I also based off of.
I created everything in this project myself, however, they are some exceptions. For example, The Seigun Samurai used to be called the Shinimasu Samurai until it was criticized by Redditor /u/confanity for its lack of effort in Japanese translation. Another Redditor; /u/VACN suggested the much better name; Seidogunjin, or Seigun for short, literally meaning "precise soldiers" or "soldiers of precision"
Lao is short for Láobùkěpò (牢不可破) which means unbreakable in Chinese
Fubai (腐败) means 'corruption' in Chinese.
Mazoku once ate 12 orphans because he thought it was funny
The Seigun’s final battle is based on the real-life Battle of Shiroyama.
Kasamatsu was named after my sister’s friend, I overheard it and thought it sounded cool.
Uwabami, the giant white and black snake in Midora is based on numerous different elements. One being the actual Uwabami yokai; who were giant serpents in Japanese Mythology. The Great Serpent from FromSoftware's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, an amazing game that introduced and informed me a lot more about Japanese history. And last but not least, Uwabami is modeled after my pet snake Oliver, who is a ball python.
I spent a few months writing the history of Tekkan, referencing actual Japanese history to stay true to the narrative, then I realized I literally just made Star Wars, but a lot blander. So I had to make a ton of changes that shifted it more to the Sengoku-Edo era than sci-fi.
Q: What are your strengths?
A: I am VERY perfectionist, I work hard day and night on my projects and I redo my work even with the slightest mistakes, I care about my pieces as if they're my children lol. I can also work very long hours because art is one of the most enjoyable passions I've pursued, As long as my fingers don't get sore and my patience keeps in place.
Q: What are your weaknesses?
A: Well like one of the things that make me unique, I am very addicted to traditional pen and ink that I haven't gotten much experience with the most common art mediums like digital Photoshop "The things I SHOULD be learning to be a concept artist". I have a Microsoft Pro tablet, I just haven't gotten used to it yet nor have been motivated to try enough, but I'm still young and learning just FYI. Also, I'm kinda too reliant on music and references, so if I were stuck on a desert island with just a pen and paper I wouldn't make as good work. And at the end of each piece, I tend to get a tad impatient than when I started on my drawing because I'm so eager to finish the entire thing, I am working on that. :)
Q: Do you have any advice?
A: I know this sounds really cheesy, but it's true; Never give up. Almost everyone I talk to about drawing I always hear the words "Man I wish I was good at art, haha, but I suck" The truth is the only thing that's preventing them from becoming artists is those very words. No one "magically" becomes good artists all of a sudden, there's no genetics involved or anything, you just have to practice, every day. It gets better, but you really have to do it, every day. It takes a while but in the end, it will all be worth it, that's what it takes to be a good artist, or good at most professions really. Just like the famous stereotypical quote: "The expert in anything was once a beginner"
Also some other legit advice (Probably legit, I never really took lessons to get where I am, it's just what I did, but if your an actual art pro and disagree with this I'm sorry). But I used to copy from other artists to get better (no tracing tho), sorry it doesn't sound good but hear me out. I did it for learning purposes and NOT for copying purposes. I would learn the very basics before-hand, find a really cool picture I liked, and I would try really hard to draw it. And when I did it, it educated me on how the pros do it which drastically improved me. It's more of a study if anything, don't submit the drawing your own work. Unless of course, you admit you referenced it from said picture or did it in a different medium. I hope that makes sense.
That's all folks! Feel free to check out my other social media platforms!