Artist Guest of Honor - Tani DaReal

Tani was born Munich, Germany, and like many of us she feels that she has always been a furry but didn't really know what to call it.

From a young age she drew herself as some kind of animal and had always been attracted to animals and animal collectibles such as plushies and figurines, however in 1998 she saw the movie "The Lion King II" which got her totally hooked. In 1999 she started training as a media designer and finally got Internet access for the first time, opening a whole new world for her and helping her realize that she was not alone.

Originally, due to the influence from "The Lion King II", she had chosen a grey lioness, but as her connection to the fandom and her own spirituality grew her character became the Schnolf. A Snow leopardess with wolfish markings. This form allows her to combine both her inner soul (wolf) and the snow leopard physical appearance. With her attachment to the color grey, this became only a natural addition to her character's appearance.

Tani was picked by the RainFurrest staff not only for the quality of her artwork but the variety that she can produce. She is a artist, a fursuit maker, and a designer. In her professional life she is a media designer, meaning that she designs and creates websites, flyers, logos, brochures and exhibition booths. She very much enjoys that her hobbies and her job overlap.

You can find out more about our interview with Tani in this year's convention souvenir book.

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Writing Guest of Honor - Alan Dean Foster

From Wikipedia

Alan Dean Foster is best known for his science fiction novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar ethical/political union of species including humankind and the insectoid Thranx. Many of these novels feature Philip Lynx ("Flinx"), an empathic young man who has found himself involved in something which threatens the survival of the Galaxy. Flinx's constant companion since childhood is a minidrag named Pip, a flying, empathic snake capable of spitting a highly corrosive and violently neurotoxic venom.

One of Foster's best-known fantasy work is the Spellsinger series, in which a young musician is summoned into a world populated by talking creatures where his music allows him to do real magic whose effects depends on the lyrics of the popular songs he sings (although with somewhat unpredictable results).

Many of Foster's works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist. Often the villains in his stories experience their downfall because of a lack of respect for other alien species or seemingly innocuous bits of their surroundings. This can be seen in such works as Midworld, about a semi-sentient planet that is essentially one large rainforest, and Cachalot, set on an ocean world populated by sentient cetaceans. Foster usually devotes a large part of his novels to descriptions of the strange environments of alien worlds and the coexistence of their flora and fauna. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Sentenced to Prism, in which the protagonist finds himself trapped on a world where life is based on silicon rather than carbon, as on Earth.

It has long been known that Foster wrote the original novel of Star Wars which had been credited solely to George Lucas. When asked if it was difficult for him to see Lucas get all the credit for Star Wars, Foster said "Not at all. It was George's story idea. I was merely expanding upon it. Not having my name on the cover didn't bother me in the least. It would be akin to a contractor demanding to have his name on a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Lucas brought to Foster the skeleton screen play, and since they had known each other from UCLA, and Lucas was not a writer, Foster wrote the entire history of the time, place, planets, races, history and technology that exists in the entire Star Wars canon. Foster also wrote 'Splinter Of The Mind's Eye', which became Lucas' basis of The Empire Strikes Back."

Crossing one of the great boundaries in science fiction, Foster has the story credit for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (though he wrote neither the screenplay nor the novelization). He also penned 10 books based on episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the first six books each consisting of three linked novella-length episode adaptations, and the last four being full-length novelizations of single episodes. He later co-wrote the screenplay and wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years.

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Fursuit Guest of Honor - Beetlecat

Beetle discovered the furry community in 2005 after stumbling upon the magic keyword 'fursuit' while searching the internet on how to make a gryphon costume for Halloween. She never finished that particular costume but eventually entered the furry community by unveiling her first full costume - 'Springer the Klipspringer' in the summer of 2006..

Over the next year, she began adding fursuit commissions to her existing art business of 'Beetlecat Originals' (the name of which was based on her cat and business mascot, 'Beetle'); dropping other art projects to the side until, by the beginning of 2007, she was making fursuits exclusively under the furry moniker, 'Beetlecat'.

Her fursona (Beetle) came about as a business mascot, but has since evolved and adapted to become much more than just a logo. It can be confusing having Beetlecat (the artist), Beetle (the cat), Beetle (the character), and Beetlecat Originals (the business) all under one roof, but somehow they make it work.

Beetle can be considered to have a strong semi-realistic style of fursuit building. She patterns her costumes after real animals; reinterpreting realism in order to create clean, expressive fursuits. Her years of costume experience and innovative practices make her fursuits distinctive and recognizable.

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Artist Special Guest - Astolpho

Astolpho is the creator of the webcomic The Dawn Chapel, which launched in fall of 2009 and has since gained a modest following. He enjoys painting with watercolors, and is especially fond of brightly colored children's illustration, and is a huge Twitter fiend. Astolpho lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, Starveling.

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