How Life to Legend (LtL) came to be

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Life to Legend is an initiative, especially for artists. The focus is around creature design, but it really doesn't stop there. It's a website built to create a community throughout a forum, the Facebook counterpart (Wildlife and creature design) and basically, anyone that enjoys coming here, now, and in the future. For illustrators, painters, sculptors, people in the gaming- and film industry, and even writers. People that love wildlife and creature design, but also people are just into art. So, how did this website come to be? Let us continue!

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, art director, and creative project manager. I love to share my passion for this craft, nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

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How Life to Legend (LtL) came to be

It was February 2020, shortly before the shit hit the fan and the world was turned upside down, thanks to Covid. I had been thinking of starting a Facebook group for a while. But as I kept bouncing around like a ping pong ball that found steep stairs, rather than the opponent’s bat, I remained really indecisive regarding the subject, and if I was ready for an endeavor like that.

I only had been taking drawing seriously for a little over two years, so I was slowly getting out of my ‘beginner’ phase. So who was I to start a group like that? Sure, I could give feedback to people, but what is this feedback worth, if I can’t even draw it myself?
Turns out that that doesn’t matter, as long as your advice is solid. And of course, you’re never really ready for something new. After all, it’s new, and you don’t know what you can expect or what you have to prepare for. On the 15th of February 2020, I had this epiphany and decided: Enough with the uncertainty, I want this, and I’m gonna do this! By this time I also knew what the subject was gonna be: My life-time passion for nature, fantasy, and creatures.

The startup of the Wildlife and Creature design group

In my two years of doing art, I managed to make some good friends. They were keen to join and were quick to invite their friends to the WaCD Facebook group. Jade Jez from Steam Power Studios became a moderator and the group slowly became a tight community of artistic people. After help from Walid Feghali, who was so kind to share the group in his Evenant Design Facebook group people quickly picked up on the WaCD group, and so did Facebook for a while. Landing it on 1500 members after a year. Which is not bad for a niche.

As we all know, Covid came to visit us all shortly after the 15th of February. Working for my parents in the family restaurant, Covid was, and still is devastating. Over the past 12 months, the restaurant has only been in business for four. But for me this meant, up till now, 8 months of developing my art skills and work on WaCD fulltime. Up till the 31st of March 2021 people didn’t see much of it as the website was still in development, But despite everything, I can say I’m one of the few lucky people that could benefit from the crisis. And not only that: I consider myself extremely lucky for the help of everyone that helped build up not only WaCD, but also the website counterpart LtL.

Wildlife and Creature design banner.
Art by: Tessa Geniets

From Wildlife and Creature Design to Life to Legend

So, when the second lockdown hit here in the Netherlands, I decided to take on a new project, an extension of WaCD. I missed a solid community, one with like-minded people. Yes, there was WaCD, but I wanted to offer the people in there something more, especially in these troubling times. And hopefully grow the community even further. A start has been made. There are some amazing ideas and future plans with some amazing people upcoming. The idea box is actually overflowing, which is a very good sign. And I can’t wait for things to take their natural course, and have this community grow. LtL is right where it needs to be and when it needs to be.

So, moving from WaCD to LtL sounds a bit more significant than it really is. They’re one and the same. The big issue was that WaCD or Wildlifeandcreatures and creaturesandwildlife were actually already taken on the www. But no harm has been done. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that this website needed to be broader than just wildlife and creatures. There are wonderful character designs which border with creature designs. Landscapes are insanely important to the design of a creature. It’s all connected together. And for that reason, Life to Legend seems to be way more fitting. And that’s how LtL came to be!

Life to Legend in the future

Part of the Life to Legend banner.
Art by: Tessa Geniets

I can’t say too much about this yet, as much is still uncertain. First and foremost, Life to Legend needs to be sustainable, both as a community and financially. But I don’t worry much about that really, it will work, but how it will work: Time will tell. But as this is a community: Expect it to function as one. Articles will be illustrated by members that want the little extra attention. Guest writers will be part of this initiative, and I, or actually ‘we’ are looking into the possibilities of a podcast. Directly related to LtL, or maybe as a sister-project. Alongside this there are way more plans and ideas, but these are the most solid ones. If you have any ideas: Feel free to drop them :p.

Thank you!

I obviously couldn’t have done this all alone. I may have built the website myself, and written all the content myself, throwing in the occasional artwork. But there are many other things I can’t do, like being a community, or coding. And as there is only a limited amount of time in a day, I can’t illustrate everything either.

  • So I thank you all, for being a wonderful and supportive community!
  • Thank you, Jade Jez and AJ Ramos for contributing art.
  • Thank you Jade Jez for always being supportive, helping me moderate the group, giving feedback on the website, review my articles, and helping me to come up with subjects.
  • Thank you Ryan Holt for creating the creature designer from absolute scratch, while I didn’t even know you a day before.
  • Thank you Dan Peck for making a donation so I could buy premium features for the website and the forum, and graciously offering your help!
  • Thank you Walid Feghali for sharing my group with yours, so it could get the much-needed boost in the very beginning.

A special thanks to my friends Erik-Jan and the RainbowPhilosopher, just for being supportive friends in daily life, while I was struggling to work on this website and my art.
Also a special thanks to my parents and little sister, who, despite their troubling situation, were supportive all along.

I love you all! You have no idea how much help you all have been in this challenging time. I really couldn’t have done this without you. And I know myself to be a very lucky person to have met so many wonderful people in such a short time-span and to have family and friends who support me no matter what.

Thank you!

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