My name is Mooncalf, I'm a thirty-year-old fangirl from Ohio, and this is my weblog. Right now you're either somewhere in the archives or reading comments or something like that. To return to the main page, click here.

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09/28/2001 Entry: "And The Matching Fanart Rant O' Doom!"

Nobody was really asking for it, but...

I hate a good ninety percent of fanart, too.

I hate fanart that's been made by putting a piece of paper over an official art and tracing it. I hate fanart that's been made by propping up a picture in front of you and carefully copying it, freehand. I hate fanart that's actually a scanned-in manga panel that you've colored. I hate fanart that's a copy of a copy of someone else's fanart. I loathe fanart that's actually, literally someone else's fanart, stolen and claimed as your own.
I hate fanart with the pose obviously stolen from some other source, like a different official art or a magazine ad. I hate fanart with no pose reference at all, so that the character is defying the laws of physics just by standing there with his ankles apparently broken.
I hate fanart that's just a slavish copying of the official artist's style. I hate fanart that's so incredibly personalized and stylized that you can't tell who the character is any more. I hate fanart that's some character drawn in some other artist's style. I don't want to see Zidane as a Toriyama character.
I hate fanart drawn and scanned on lined notebook paper! I hate fanart pages that contain nothing but uncleaned scans of pencil doodles! I hate fanart that's been colored with nothing but the paint bucket! I hate colored fanart that hasn't had its linework darkened! Grey linework is ugly!
I hate ultra-realistic fanart of anime-styled characters. I hate anime-styled fanart of realistic characters, but not as much. I hate clumsy SDs. I hate spindly-limbed stick characters. I hate 'modern dress' fanart, unless the artist is really, really good.
I hate fanart that's just the character standing there staring at you. I hate fanart that's so full of inept movement and contortion that you can't tell whose limbs belong to who. I hate fanart that contains no efforts at facial expression, I hate fanart with mitten hands, I hate fanart with log-shaped feet! I hate fanartists that never draw anything beyond head-and-shoulders shots! I hate fanartists who insist on drawing the entire body every time, at the expense of detail!
I hate fanart where the weaponry is drawn without benefit of a fifty-cent ruler! I hate fanart where the hair is just a big clump on the head! I hate fanart that doesn't realize that there's a skull behind the face, so there's no forehead and less cranium! I hate clumsy backgrounds that were obviously an afterthought! I hate pictures that are crammed with Photoshop-added text that obscures details! I hate lens flare!
Tangentially, I hate ninety percent of thumbnails, since they don't give you any information about the contents of the picture! I hate fanartists who name all their pictures things like '9.jpg', so that I can't tell who's in the picture! I hate fanart sites that contain three pictures! I hate fanart sites that contain three thousand pictures! I hate pictures that are over 200k in size!
I hate all fanart of Sailor Moon, Dragonball, and Pokemon. I'm tempted to add all fanart of Digimon and Gundam Wing to that mix.

I hate hentai fanart. I especially hate amateurish hentai fanart. I hate seeing those naked little girls with the wide, empty eyes and the green hair. I hate hentai fanart that puts stupid couples together just because it's 'pretty'. I hate hentai fanart that couples a human with an animal, a Pokemon, or a Digimon. I loathe seeing a normally strong character transformed into a submissive sex slave for one or more other characters. I despise hentai fanart that inflates a character's breasts to American comic book standards. I abhor hentai fanart drawn by people with no grasp of anatomy!
I hate most yaoi fanart. Especially the amateurish/anatomy-free kind. I hate the coy giggling shit that a lot of female 'yaoi fanartists' hide behind. I hate 'yaoi' fanart that's just two male characters almost touching. I hate yaoi fanart that's too damn explicit. I hate yaoi fanart that's got too much 'fluid' in it. I hate stupid couplings, I hate extreme sadism, I hate ugly yaoi. I loathe mosaic, no matter how important it might be. I hate yaoi that defies the laws of physics!

And you know what? I've done a good two-thirds of the above, at one point or another. Grey linework, mitten hands, log-shaped feet? Yeah. Colored with nothing but the paint bucket? Yup. Clumsy SDs? Uh huh. Lack of a grasp of anatomy? Oh hell yes.
That kind of thing is something you just have to work through. You do something, you learn from it, you move on, you get better. You read tutorials, you look at other people's art, you ask questions, you get better. It's completely excuseable; hell, it's expected! But if you take art seriously, you have to make an effort to get better!
Actually, you don't even have to do that! If you're happy doing what you do, then do it. Once again, I actively hope that you don't give a shit what I think. I hope that you do what makes you happy.

I can't hate people for being amateurs, although I can certainly dislike their output. But I realize that those people are trying, which is a lot more than most people do. I realize that, if they keep trying, they'll most likely get better, and I love them for that.
At the same time, if they never get any feedback, they might not know how to improve. Maybe this list will help with that, maybe not. How should I know? It's just a blog entry.

Replies: add your comment: currently 13 comments

Yay; first to respond!!

Ouch....a lot of people would hate you for this one, Moon. But no one who loyally hangs out here! ^_'
I agree with most of your points again. And I do know that many things you do have to work through. Like anatomy for example. God knows I need to work on that...
Mine isn't that great, I admit. But you know, a lot of anime/manga styles do NOT have great anatomy styles. Sure, some okay ones, but not great. I can think of some exceptions, like Crying Freeman;
WONDERFUL overal realism!! I think some people think that if some anatomy were not realistic, it would not be manga/anime.
I read a recent rant by Erik Larsen about things like this in art in comics. He feels that it should not always look that realistic, because it's art, and anything can literally happen and take shape!! Sure, realistic art can be VERY pretty and wonderful to look at but it does not always have to be that way. Especially since many of us cannot do it!!
Sorry, I do not want to single out anatomy alone. Just a point.
Anyway, I seriously TRY not to criticize the artwork of others TOO much, because I look at mine and realize it ain;t always that purty itself. But Moon, I agree with you on several points about fan art, like TRACING, or COPYING.
Or yes, "stealing" or maybe "assimilating" the style of someone else and incorporating that int ofan art of something unrelated. Toriyama is a great example. I am sorry, but Toriyama is not God, and like you, I don't WANT everyone to look like Toriyama drew them!! Especially since "Toriyamaists" sometimes don't do that good of a job, and you can easily distinguish between the two.
I take pride in that I at least developed my OWN style. GREAT pride. Did I START by imitation? Yes, of course, a little....But I was not good at that even!! I did that freehand, not by tracing, and it didn't work. Tracing teaches you nothing anyway except basically how to steal. And don't we all know how to do that by now? Sure. So yes, I BEGAN humbly by looking at others' work and imitating to get a FEEL for how and what I wanted to do, not to overall steal it. Which is what many people do. And gradually, I (VERY) slowly developed my own style that came from ME; and my heart. Because it's all I know and all I have.
I would LOVE to be able to draw like Masamune Shirow (especially if I need to draw robots and machines). I ADORE his art. I would LOVE to be able to create the black and white "effects" of Frank Miller (do not try to copy him; you can't even begin to try!!). I would LOVE to be able to create "organic" characters like Joe Madureira. But I cannot, and I will not even TRY.
I look up to these people and many more, I don't want to STEAL from them! I feel I'd be desicrating them almost if I tried to copy them. And suppose they saw some of your work; I am not sure all of them would be necessarily happy if you could draw EXACTLY lke them. Sure, it could be flattering that you may look up to them, but if you do it too much to the point that you are stealing, that's no good. And if everyone could draw like everyone else, the world would be so boring.
I STRESS originality. Sure, it's okay to try and imitate someone you admire, but you NEED to also develop your own style that comes from YOU, respect who YOU respect and make your work special. Or you are cheating yourself, and those you honor. Or TRY to honor with cheating. Which those who do are not.
I do ge ttired of everyone trying to draw the same, and not trying to get your own style. Yes, I think fan art is just fine, but I would like to see more people using THEIR style t odraw charaters! You want to draw DBZ fighters? Go ahead, but do it your way, not like Toriyama. I can read the comics for that. I enjoy seeing ORIGINAL interpretations for fan art, not imitations. Like Joe Mad, who sometimes does OPM covers! HE draws game characters with HIS style!! You say your style is not that great, well then like me, practice more and improve yourself. Or, just plain stop stealing.
I agree Moon, and tell people to keep trying, because you can't blame everyone for trying to be original. I hope people will keep trying for originality. And stop stealing.

Posted by Wolf @ 09/28/2001 10:13 PM EST

I think I know who gets the award for the longest comment ever.

It was like a weblog post in itself...

Posted by Dragonfly @ 09/28/2001 11:04 PM EST

Fanart...what can I say about that? I like it, and then I don't. I see too much of it out there that looks like a 3rd grader drew it while eating ice-cream. @.@

I actually haven't gotten myself to draw a real honest-to-goodness fanart in a long time...I've been working on original pieces for the past 7 months or so.

Posted by Mina @ 09/29/2001 01:05 AM EST

You know, I hate how, to many people, "fanart" is DEFINED as copies of existing works. We have no right to bash people who copy what they like, and do not claim their copy to be original (hopefully they'll credit, but if they don't because they didn't know omitting credits is bad, oh well -_-). But often I'm scared at chances of people assuming that my fanarts are what they call fanarts - copies. It's happened before too, and I handled situations without getting too annoyed when people asked me if I copy.

But all that's not going to change the sad truth about lack of conscience of the general public regarding copied works. -_-; I'm deeply saddened at how ROTTEN it is. Some people don't value originality at all (I was very surprised to find out... >_<), as in... as long as the copy was well done without tracing, it's all good! *vomits blood and dies*

Skill counts. You need skills to do good copies of existing works. But originality counts just as big as skills to me. But who cares about lone little Keiiii puking blood and dying in her little corner where originality counts big?

Posted by Keiiii @ 09/29/2001 03:13 AM EST

It reminds me of all the "Good artists" at my school. Copying makes you a "good artist". Honest.

Posted by Shinji @ 09/29/2001 08:38 PM EST

*looks over art and site*

Nope. Well, when I was learning. Only for fun. Again, while learning. Never! Magazine ads = reference. Learning! Not..really...
Uh, if you can give my early crap a 'style'. Nope. What's wrong with that; the best art comes when you're listening to a teacher ramble! Nope. Ick, no. Nope. Nope. Nope. All my SD's are clumsy. Nope. Huh? Hey, some us us aren't inspired to do anything else. And limbs such to draw at the best of times! Learning, learning, learning. I'm versatile. There, too. I don't, however draw weaponry. Learning! Say it with me, learning! Backgrounds, what are those? Text, what's that? Me too!
Would you rather have every detail of the pic squashed into 20x20 pixel square? No comment. Not anymore! Not yet! Uh, before I realized they clogged up the computer...

Hmm. I seem to be in general agreement.

Posted by Moonshine @ 09/30/2001 12:11 AM EST

I hate people who slap their copyright info right on top of an otherwise perfectly good face.

Posted by Ed @ 09/30/2001 11:07 AM EST

I like how Ed always points out the same exact stuff I hate too.... For crying out loud, if you really don't want people to steal your crap, either java script it, watermark it, or break it up into little itty-bitty pieces and slap it in a table, so it's a pain in the ass to download. Seriously, I think people that put all that information on horrible places in their art are actually just looking for attention.

But what do I know? I don't have a fanbase :3

Posted by lea @ 09/30/2001 01:06 PM EST

Lea> I have your fanbase in my pants :3

Posted by Dragonfly @ 10/01/2001 01:27 AM EST

Ehhh, I draw mitten hands and mostly face/shoulder shots and I copy off of Kaori Yuki's style (though this is art for my own characters and not fanart)--but I'm trying to break away. I think it will be a long time before I stop with the mitten hands though. -__-; I'm horribly bad at hands unless it's a big scary closeup and even then it's still pretty bad.

Posted by lyn @ 10/01/2001 09:30 PM EST

I feel obligated to state the obvious, which is that drawing mitten hands is a really good way to remain eternally sucky at drawing hands. The only way to get good at drawing hands is in fact to draw hands.

I was a fanartist once. And I sucked at THAT TOO! WOO!

Posted by Ed @ 10/02/2001 06:14 PM EST

I totally agree with most of the stuff in that list! I'm a bit guilty of drawing only head and shoulder shots. ^_^* Actually I do draw bodies but most of them are so crappy they never leave my sketch book. I think there should be a monthly post your crappy stuff that will never leave you sketch book day or something. That way I can stop being embarrassed over it! Hehe.

Anyway, the only art sites I find myself going back to over and over are the ones with very original styles. The art doesn't even have to be that great but I love originality! (I'm totally linking your log form mine btw.)

Posted by Celes @ 10/02/2001 06:58 PM EST

Dude, I discovered the motherload! HIDE THE HANDS! HIDE THE HANDS! Use poses that hide the hands!

Actually, that's a suckass method, too. But I use it anyway.

Posted by lea @ 10/03/2001 01:28 AM EST

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