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Ode to the FAHns: Fun & Fabulous Art

Danish Turtle rocks the house with her dynamic FAHn art creations!

I was first introduced to Danish Turtle's art through these lovely FAH hangers that she made for the lads in 2020. I saw pictures of them on her Instagram page, but I also remember seeing FAH post about them as well. To me, these hangers represent the kind of talent that Danish Turtle exhibits in all her FAHn art, a genuine interest in the people for whom she is creating. She brings care, a detailed level of perfection, and a devotional love of artistry to bear upon all her FAH projects. Peruse the pictures of what she has included for this interview and you'll see what I mean. The iPhone Apps capture FAH's sketch perfectly and bring to life what we hear in FAH's own writing. Danish Turtle's ability to help us see the visual in FAH's apps is truly delightful. Her many ReFAHrence pig drawings - one of which made its national debut at the Southwest Popular / American Culture conference (February, 2021) when I presented my paper on the women's artistic community and FAH's Patreon page - show her research and diligence in getting all FAH references correct, visually. This is no small feat and something that represents just how careful she is in her artwork. But the crowning achievement is her brilliant and incredibly impressive FAHopoly game, which takes her FAHn art to a new level of astounding brilliance! The sheer number of hours, research, and details included in this piece of FAHn art gaming is wonderful to see. Just cast your eye, dear reader, over the intricacies and level of work-woman-ship and you'll understand just how gifted Danish Turtle is as an artist and a creator. I deeply admire and respect her work and I am so grateful to her for being willing to share these gifts with others in this interview. Read on to learn all about how she creates, the techniques and tools she uses, and just how she is able to generate her unique and interesting ideas for her FAHn art.


Did you grow up around art / drawing / painting?

I have never really thought of myself as someone growing up in an artistic family, but I guess I somewhat have, when you think about it. In close family relations there has been one painting on canvas and another one painting on porcelain (both before I was born). As well as one good at woodworking, and another one being creative with their model railway.


Did you pursue art as a younger person or are you working with art now?

When I was younger, I painted on porcelain for several years. I started to do it because a close family member had done so when they were younger and I wanted to try it. I haven’t done it for a few years now, as I had to stop when I moved away for further education.


I have no academic background in art, but throughout my studies I have had elective courses with a focus on digital creations. First Communication & IT, where I learned some basic photo editing skills. Then later a degree, where I chose the elective Digital Marketing. There I learned to use the video editor, I use to create videos with, and at my most recent study, I chose a subject called Digital Design and Creativity, where I learned some more skills for digital art. I often use the skills or tools I learned in those subject when I’m doing something creative, digitally.


The job I have pursued has nothing to do with art or creativity. I am happy to have chosen subjects during my studies that had a focus on creativity in one way or another, but it has never really been my dream to be a professional artist of some sort.


What is your favorite artistic medium? And why?

I find this a difficult question to answer. I think maybe it’s something digitally. Mainly because they have an undo button. Joke aside, I love being creative and I love trying new things even if it doesn’t work out as I wanted it to. I’m very much a perfectionist, but as long as I have had fun trying something creative, it has been worth it, even if the outcome is not quite as I wanted it to be.


I mainly use either my tablet or computer to create something digitally. I would say that’s probably because of the convenience of it. I can do digital art almost anywhere at any time, whereas analog art, such as painting, generally takes more time and most often needs some planning and/or shopping for supplies beforehand, as well.


Is there a specific artistic tool that you like to use? Colors you like to work in? A computer program or anything else that you enjoy?

For analog art, I love Posca paint markers. I tried another brand first, but I thought the finished result was not good enough. I then switched to Posca markers, and used such ones to paint all the details on the personalised hangers for FAH.


For digital art, I actually use some quite simple tools - or at least, that’s what I think of them, compared to what others may use. These are the tools I most often use:

  • Photo editing: Gimp on my laptop

  • Video editing: Kinemaster on my tablet

  • Digital drawings: Tayasui Sketches Pro on my tablet

  • Miscellaneous digital stuff: Microsoft Power Point on my computer

Gimp, Sketches Pro and Kinemaster don’t have all the same tools and features as e.g., Photoshop and Premiere Pro from Adobe. But these are either free or cheap, and they work for me. I’m doing art on a hobby level, so for me the tools don’t have to be the best there are, as long as the cheaper/free option have the tools and features, I need for what I want to create.


Some might think that Power Point is a bit of an odd one, but I love creating e.g., the little drawings for my ReFAHrence pigs out of different figures in Power Point. The "If the FAH iPhone App Sketch Were Real" piece I made, used only Power Point as that was easy and simple to use for that idea.


Colours depend on what I’m making. With my line art drawings (that is what I call them), I like doing them in black and white if FAH are in stage outfits in the photo and it is used for reference. But if it’s a character, I prefer colours, as seen with the CSI Foil.


When did you first discover FAH?

I first discovered FAH at some point before September 2019. I have no recollection of the first time I saw a FAH video. I once found out I sent a friend the "Getting Past US Immigration" at the end of September 2019, because it was very appropriate for me, as a few weeks later I was going to the US for the first time. But this was not the first FAH sketch I saw. I remember that as being "The World is F**cked". I found the video funny, but then just continued scrolling on Facebook without going to FAH’s Facebook page or anything else. Over the coming months, Facebook continued to suggest to me FAH’s videos, such as "Bouncers on a Blind Date", "The Monks’ Song" and "What is America?". I always enjoyed the videos, but I never did anything other than just continue scrolling on Facebook after the videos ended.


Then 19th March 2020, FAH posted their SkiddlyWup* for everyone to watch for free due to the lockdown. The show came up as suggested within 2-3 hours of it being posted when I was scrolling on Facebook. I actually didn’t realise it was the full show right away, but as I’d seen and enjoyed the Bouncer sketch (first one in the show) before, I thought I might as well just try and watch a full show of theirs. I absolutely loved SkiddlyWup, and that was what really got me hooked, and made me I fall down the rabbit hole.


Have you seen FAH live? If so, did this effect the way you create FAH art?

Yes, I have watched them live three times in Vicar Street, twice in October [2021] and once in December, 2021. I wouldn’t say it has affected the way I create FAH art, but I haven’t really had time to do any FAH art since then, so I don’t have anything to compare with. Personally, I don’t think it has affected me.


Where do you find creative inspiration for your FAH art?

It depends on what type of idea I get. So far, most ideas for my videos have come from listening to a song, and then I just thought of clips from sketches that would fit these lyrics or that the lyrics could relate to something about FAH, e.g. the song Live Like Legends for a video celebrating FAH’s return to stage after more than 18 months of lockdown [see below to view video.]


Twice I’ve gotten ideas for rewriting some lyrics: We’re Still Watching and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Week. For those, the idea for the chorus just randomly popped into my head, and then I tried to rewrite the full song from that. In both cases I collaborated with other fahns to complete the lyrics.


For FAH art other than video and lyrics, it can be anything from a Thursday sketch or a live show to something said during a live stream. I really like the FAHnArtChallenge created by @itjes_drawings and @fah_sketched (their Instagram handles). The list of words they come up with is a great source of inspiration for FAH art.


What was your first piece of FAHn art & when did you create it?

My first piece of FAHn art was my first “ReFAHrence Pig”. The idea for it came to me when I binged watched all FAH’s live shows in one go, after they became available through Patreon in May 2020. I noticed how some of their live sketches had references to other sketches they had done, and in particular Craicling had several references, also to things that had happened earlier in the show. This gave me the idea of small drawings referencing the sketches in their shows – the first idea for a drawing was a stamp for the Bouncer's sketch. As I hadn’t seen Swines at that time, I made references to some of their YouTube videos, as they are also an important part of who FAH are, to fill out the final pieces of the pig in FAH’s logo.


Has FAH seen your art before? What was their response to your FAH artwork?

It’s always been positive responses I have gotten from FAH. I know for sure some things they have seen, but whether they have seen it all I don’t know.


When I made my first piece of FAH art, I initially didn’t want to post it, as I was unsure whether other people would like it. But at the same time, I thought I had spent too much time on it for no one to see it, so I sent it to FAH in message. I got a lovely reply from one of them and thought if they loved it, maybe other fahns would too, and that’s the story of how I got the courage to post my first piece of FAH art. From there I just continued to do FAH art.


Please speak to all the artistic mediums in which you create FAH art and why you choose them.

As mentioned earlier, I mainly create digital art on my computer or tablet. Primarily drawings, but also videos once in a while. But since I started doing FAH art, I have tried many different mediums, such as: shoes, Xmas baubles, tote bags, polymer clay and shrink plastic. I like trying out new things and sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. For me being creative is about having fun, and trying different mediums is one of the things that makes it fun.


How does creating FAH art make you feel?

It’s a way for me to relax and unwind. It makes me happy and I enjoy doing it. I love giving attention to details, or to create some maybe not-so-obvious references. I also laugh at my own ideas sometimes, if I, for example, come up with some obscure or silly idea such as drawing “Dødens pølse” (The Sausage of Death) – one of the Danish idioms from the first Foil Vaudevillain Hour on Patreon, for last year’s FAHnArtChallenge.


Why did you choose these particular artistic pieces to include in this interview?


ReFAHrence Pig

I chose this as it’s my very first piece of FAH art. It’s what started it all and it means a lot to me. Each little drawing in this pig is drawn either by hand or created digitally using Gimp or Power Point. The hand drawn drawings have then been scanned so I could colourise them digitally.


Each of these pigs generally takes two full days to make. Finding out which sketches to include in a pig, what to draw as reference for those sketches, drawing the little drawings, digitally editing all drawings and fitting them into the FAH pig can take quite some time. I really enjoy making these, and this particular pig I always find useful, for when someone asks which live show a particular live sketch is from, or when I try to decide which live show to watch. This has the answers.


So far, I’ve made 6 pigs, each with their own theme. I want to make more of them, but as I said, they do take quite a bit of time, and I just haven’t had that recently. On the FAHn Wiki, you can see which show or sketch each drawing references.


iPhone Apps

I chose to include this, as when I was looking for pieces of art to include in this interview, this one brought back happy memories. It was among the first pieces of FAH art I created, and the first piece I posted on Twitter, after being encouraged to join that [social media site] too.


I had quite a lot of fun finding the perfect quotes from different characters from FAH’s sketches. And this piece shows how I like to put little references into what I make, when possible. The date on the reviews is the date the video where the quote is from is posted. The number of reviews for each app is all a reference to something with FAH, but I’ve forgotten what they are. I can only remember that 316 were the amount of videos FAH had on their YouTube channel at that time of posting. I think 424 might be the number of Instagram posts FAH had back when I posted this.


I got lots of positive responses to this one as well, including a reply from FAH to my tweet saying: “That's ace! Brilliant, and such a throw back. It was so much fun doing that sketch in the comedy clubs. Thanks a mil!”.


T-Shirt Monsters

This is the first of the t-shirt drawings I made. I was scrolling Twitter and saw a photo of Foil wearing a t-shirt with this print, that someone had posted in a reply to something, and I just found it too cute not to draw. It ended up becoming a series with 14 drawings. Other fahns helped me finding some of the shirts or came with suggestions for a shirt to draw, which was really nice of them.


Foil liked the series of drawings, and he even helped me with getting a good photo of his shirts so I could draw them. During the second Watch Party of FAH’s Patreon live streams, someone started commenting on Foil’s shirt, which until then hadn’t been in full view in a video or a photo. Foil saw that and showed off his shirt during the stream, and I could then draw it. I asked Foil about the (in the FAHndom rather famous) Danger Mouse shirt, and he was so kind to send me a photo of it, so I could draw that one too. For a long time, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the t-shirt drawing series, so getting this response and help from Foil was very lovely, and definitely also a confidence boost.


I chose to include it, to show that FAH art doesn’t have to be big elaborate projects / drawings. It can also be little silly things, such as these t-shirt drawings. Link to the full t-shirt drawing series posted on Twitter.


Line Art: CSI Foil

I love the simplicity in these line art drawings as I call them. I’m terrible at drawing faces, and I think this style works well as it is here. As said, I generally draw characters in colours and FAH in stage outfits in black and white. This is one of my favourites in this style, as I feel the background really gives some power to it.


FAHn Vid

This is probably my favourite FAH video I have created. It’s short but emotional, dramatic and powerful, and that’s what I love about it. I posted it three weeks before FAH had their first gig back after lockdown [in October 2021]. I was going to that show myself, and it was the first time I would see FAH live.


Someone described the video very well in the comments: “ . . . it captures a feeling of excitement shared by the FAHns who get to finally see live shows (and the lads themselves of course)!”.


FAHopoly Board

Why did you decide to make the FAHopoly game?

I initially got the idea for the FAHopoly in mid-July 2020, where I started off by just putting it on my list of project ideas. A week later I had made the first draft for the board – a very simple one compared to the finished result. I then put the idea away, as I didn’t really have time to make such a big project.


In December 2020 after I had handed in my final project for my studies at the time, I needed to do something that had nothing to do with school before I started preparing for my exam, so I went back to the FAHopoly idea and started working on it again. At the end of January, it was finished and I had received the two printed versions. I sent one to FAH, who received it in the beginning of February 2021.


This is the biggest FAH art project I’ve made – and perhaps will ever make. It is definitely my pride and joy of all the FAH art I’ve made.


What inspired you?

I was chatting with some FAHn friends, when one asked if a Dublin Monopoly existed, and that gave me the idea of creating a FAH version, as they have so many sketches situated in a location that could be used as properties on such a board. I designed the game completely from scratch. I didn’t use any templates for the board or any other designs for this game. I had a Monopoly game I used to measure all the sizes / lengths I needed, count how many pieces there were of different things, and to see what the prices for the properties should be, etc.


Can you give a little insight into what FAH’s reaction was about this stunning piece of work?

They were all amazed by the level of details; the choice of properties, the game pieces etc. - and especially by the board. It was a very positive reaction and all of it was much praised.


The response I got for this one (from the fahndom) was absolutely incredible! It filled me with so much joy – and still does when I think/look back on it.


Game Pieces Sent to FAH

For the set I gave FAH, I made game pieces of polymer clay that were replicas of props used in their sketches. Those were asthma charity bucket, La Bullshat’s hat from the first La Bullshat sketch, "Anxious the Boardgame", the teapot from the "Tea Addiction" sketch and a butter biscuit sandwich from the "Getting Out of Shape for Christmas" sketch.


Artist's Own Game Pieces

This is the set I made a few months later, because I was still needing a set for my own game. They are made of shrink plastic where I drew characters from FAH's sketches on, and then made a foot for them out of polymer clay.


The Community Chest and Chance Cards [in original Monopoly] got renamed to Money Relations and Risk, and they all feature scenarios based on sketches or anecdotes from Patreon live streams. Examples of the cards are: “You’re visiting Breda Moynihan. She gives you 50 quid” based on the "When Parents Drag You Places" sketch, or “All the mugs in the office are mouldy. Pay 10 quid to buy new ones” based on stories from Patreon live streams.


FAHopoly (Money Relations & Risk):

There are 16 of each type of card. I have included a photo with 6 of my favourite card scenarios from each pile, as well as the backside design of the cards. The money the Switzerland character holds in the design on the backside of the Risk cards, is the design from the banknotes in the FAHopoly game, that I edited into the money fan.


FAHopoly Money

A photo of each type of banknote in the game. They all have the same design, but are in different colours. As the currency in countries that have a royal family often include the monarch in their design (at least the UK and Denmark have this), I chose to have the Paper Bag Hat King feature on the banknotes for the FAHopoly game.


Property Title Deeds

All properties are based on places from a FAH sketch. I didn’t know what to put instead of the railways, so I asked Foil for input on that, and he came up with the idea of the four venues they have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.


In total I spent nearly 85 hours to design all the parts for this game and create the polymer game pieces. I enjoyed every minute of making it, and I hope to one day be able to meet up with fahns and play the game.


How have others – including people in the fahndom – responded to your FAH art?

It’s always been positive responses I’ve gotten from the fahndom. Obviously, some things get more responses than others, but I do FAH art because I enjoy it - not to because I want a certain amount of likes, followers or something like that. Though with that being said, the positive and lovely response from fahns is what keeps me going, and without the lovely response I got from FAH and fahns for my first piece of FAH art, I probably wouldn’t have continued. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I enjoy creating FAH art, and it makes me happy when other people enjoy it too – that’s more important than the numbers. The fahndom is such a lovely and supportive community and I truly appreciate all the positive feedback I get from both FAH and fahns.


What advice would you give to someone interested in working in the same artistic medium as you or starting out as an artist or even creating some FAH art?

As others who have been interviewed for the Ode to FAHns series have said: Just do it!

The fahndom is lovely and supportive, and we’d love to see what you have created. Even if it’s not FAH art, if you like being creative, don’t let other people stop you from doing something you enjoy.


As for mediums, if you are into creating digital art, I’d say start out with some free or cheap programs and see how you like it. You can always upgrade it later if that’s what you wish. Same goes for analog art, start small, see how you like it. You can always buy more (or more expensive) supplies later. That’s what I do.


Please include anything else that you think is important or necessary to help readers understand your art, why you create, or your relationship with FAH.

My relationship with FAH is not only through FAH art. It is also through subtitles. I have created Danish subtitles for their YouTube videos for two years now. I’ve actually been doing it for a little longer than I’ve been doing FAH art, as I started creating Danish subtitles a few weeks before I made my first piece of FAH art. It’s kind of an art form in itself sometimes, I think. Especially when trying to translate a song or a wordplay sketch. The wordplay sketches I find to be the trickiest ones, but I always enjoy translating FAH’s videos, no matter which type of sketch it is.


It's been a real joy learning about Danish Turtle's creative process and how she makes her wonderful FAHn art. I just wanted to include one more picture of the hangers she made for FAH two years ago. It's a good note to end on here, for I think it is entirely possible to see and understand, after reading her interview, just how much she cares about her artistic process and about the people - FAH, to be exact - for whom she is creating. Whether it is something personal like the hangers or a video to celebrate FAH or a line drawing from one of their sketches, Danish Turtle infuses love, care, dedication and devotion into all of her FAHn art.


Front & Back of FAH's Hangers


Keep an eye out for more Ode to the FAHn's interviews coming up in the near future and thanks so much to everyone in our wonderful community for all of your creative endeavors concerning FAH. I know they appreciate us all and our FAHn art!


Footnote:

*Skiddlywup was posted to FAH's Facebook page on March 19, 2020, as Danish Turtle stated. It is no longer available on their Facebook page and can now only be found on their Patreon site. It is also possible to purchase a DVD of Skiddlywup or to purchase a USB with five of their live shows [excluding Swines] on their website.

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