Maybe this is just one of the things I should be taking in stride, but I am finding difficulty in it. Maybe because it plays up something that a lot of artists worry about, maybe it's because I can never really find a satisfactory reasoning for it (certainly from the people I'm trying to talk to about it), but as of late, something has been really grinding my gears.
Some days ago, I drew this:
It's a bit of fanart, for a video game. I had worked very hard to draw it, and I liked the result when it was done, but thus far, most of the interest that it has attracted have been people pointing out that the character on the right, the villain from the game, is supposed to have long hair. Not anything about the drawing, of course (besides the equally insubstantial and annoying "It's awesome!"), but that I should not have drawn the character on the right with short hair.
...See, when I draw something, I like to have a lot of reference on hand. Here are the references I have found for that character on the right:[link] [link] [link] [link]
Looking at these, you may be inclined to think that this character never removes her pirate's cap, and that her hair is rather short-cropped.
Ah, but you would be remiss. You see, this character first appeared in a Game Boy game, which came out nine years ago. I was vigorously interested in the game at the time, but I sadly couldn't play it, because the Game Boy was on its way out, and copies of the game were scarce in my native Canada. Even if I could
find it, I wouldn't have been able to buy it, since I was 13 at the time.
I played it, and more importantly, had I played it all the way to the end, I would have seen this character remove her hat, and a headful of waist-length hair would have cascaded across her shoulders. Let me reiterate that I would have had to beaten the game
to know this, as there were no screenshots of this event, no official game artwork depicting this, and looking at those reference images, she has short
hair! Cartoon logic states that she could probably tuck it away in that small hat, but people are fully capable of letting their hair down while wearing a hat, even in cartoons. Stuffing it in your hat when you dont have to seems inconvenient and unnecessary, especially if by the same cartoon logic that keeps all that hair up there, you wouldnt have to worry about it tangling or snagging on anything if you let it down.
When I raised objection to this, some of them said "There, there. You wouldn't have known this if you hadn't beaten the game, like I did," which is slightly facetious since, while I was 13 when it came out, they would have been, like, 5. If they did play the game, it was probably years later, on a ROM, when they didn't have to pay for it. Or, failing that, they saw a Let's Play on YouTube. Im not above such conveniences, of course, but I dont need to be patronized because I did not want to rip off this game, and thus did not know this detail.
Even if I did
know in advance, I still wanted to draw her hair short. Originally, in the description, I said that I imagine, since Ive never seen her hat off, she must have a bad case of hat hair. This is technically a true statement, since I hadnt
seen her hat off, even though it did happen at one point. Later, I changed it to the spell vapourized her hair, because I still think that costume is more embarrassing if you also had short, spiky, messed-up hair to go with it. None of this matters, of course; whether I did or didnt know this character had long hair, I still wanted to draw it that way, and people still felt the urge to correct me.
One person argued that its human nature to correct glaring inaccuracies in a drawing, also making it seem like they dont take any responsibility for their opinions, only willing to point out the things that bolster them (like that they beat a video game that I didnt beat) and pass off anything else to an external influence. Oh, I dont actually think that, its just human nature!
Look, drawing Sonic the Hedgehog in a colour other than blue is an inaccuracy. Making Mario thin is an inaccuracy. Giving a character a haircut isnt
an inaccuracy. She still looks like the character she looks like, and when I looked at her, I
saw a character with short hair. Im sorry I didnt play through her entire game because I thought there would be an important nugget of detail waiting for me at the end.
The entire idea
behind fanart is that you want to take a character you like and do something with them. In that example, I wanted them to switch costumes in a humourous fashion. Examples range from drawing a character in a different costume to drawing them in a different gender
, if youre into that kind of thing, and this approach is usually
celebrated. Apparently with me, though, my fanarts are held to a higher level of scrutiny. Doesnt matter how good the drawing actually is, I get one thing
wrong, by God Im going to hear about it. You may try to apologize later by saying the drawing is awesome anyway. Im a believer in honest criticism, and think if something is wrong with a work of art, it should be pointed out, but pointing out that a character has incorrect hair, this isn't criticism. There is a difference between a criticism and a pedantic nitpick, and there is also a difference between criticism and empty praise (like calling it awesome and then not saying anything else).
Other artists are apparently allowed to run free and do whatever they want with characters they like, but I
have to stick to a model sheet. Is this because I professed ignorance of the character because I had never seen her with her hat off? I didnt say She never takes her hat off, I said I have never seen
her take her hat off. That is technically a true statement, and even though I corrected it, people are still telling me that her hair is wrong. Even if it is, how is that ANYONES
business? Did my artistic license expire, and everyone else is reminding me to get it renewed?
My point is, I work hard on my art. I spend a lot of time on it, and I like to post it on DeviantArt, hoping people would be interested in it. When you make a drawing youre particularly happy with, and most of the comments are just people telling you that you did something wrong, and its not even something important
(at least one person told me that her hand was backwards and recommended I fix it; this is a habit I occasionally fall into, and am actively trying to correct), how would you react? And then when you point out what a fucking pedantic detail this is, and they say Oh, dont be like that, this drawing is awesome anyway, so you go from meaningless correction to even more meaningless adulation designed to distract you, this doesnt help too well. And when someone tells you this is just something people do, and yet the first example of it are comments on YOUR
drawing, then what? Honestly
Ill be fair, only one or two people have pointed out this detail, and the drawing is getting a lot of favourites, so this criticism might have run its course. But since only, like, three or four people ever comment on my works, that is still a pretty significant number to get worked up about this. It may sound selfish, but I like it when people think I did good, and no one on DeviantArt says it that often. Im trying very hard to get better, and when most of the opinions on my latest drawing boil down to I knew something obscure and you didnt, its disheartening.
On a slight diversion, theres the phenomenon of a fanbase being so exasperating, that whatever theyre fans of seems worse because of it. I lost interest in Invader Zim (Jhonen Vasquezs whole body of work, actually) because its fans still act like screeching preteen Goths, even though now most of them are in their 20s. Its been said that Joss Whedons fans are the worst things about Joss Whedons works, and I lost interest in Seth MacFarlanes shows when I discovered that his fans would (and did) follow him off a proverbial cliff, if it struck his fancy, and frankly, Im so creeped out by the recent fervour behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
amongst grown men, Im finding it hard to get into the show myself, no matter how much these same manchildren bang on about how well-written and well-animated it is (granted, it is
, but still).
Hopefully this will pass, but some of the Shantae
fandom has proven themselves such a pack of pedantic nerds, that Im now slightly repulsed just by looking at her. A lot of the fandoms close to me, I like to think they can withstand the idiocy that surrounds them, but in this one, Im not certain. The things I like about it are things like the fun character designs, the amusing story, the colourful setting, the engaging gameplay, and most significant, the notion that its an original, honest production by a small group of dudes that had an idea, and wanted to do something with it (sort of like what I like about Cave Story
). All this is threatened by the notion that, when Im playing it, theres someone else out there playing it, scrutinizing every wee detail about it like its bloody Star Trek
. The people that like it cant just enjoy it, they have to make sure its universally respected. Since I hadnt been able to play any of the games, and didnt want to download a ROM of it because I feel bad ripping off a company staffed by about six guys as opposed to a cocky mega-corporation that certainly doesnt need my $40 as much as I do, Im being punished for it. Maybe Ill keep
not playing the games, as much as I might like to, because I want to appreciate it, not index it. It could just be one or two bad apples, every fandom has them, but them finding my
drawing, in internet terms is like two bits of space dust that happen to collide with one other bit of space dust. Given how unlikely it is that the very few twerps this fandom has attracted have happened across my
drawing, and I'm not yet popular enough for massive amounts of people to see it, Occam's razor suggests that this fandom has a lot of people like this, and a couple of them came across my work.
The fandoms that I either fell out of or could never form an interest in, its fans were larger than the thing they were appreciating. I liked Family Guy
when it first came out, then Seth MacFarlane got to remake the show three different times, with one premise stretched thinly across all of them because its imbecile fans would watch all of them, so screw that. I cant formulate an authentic interest in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
, because its fans seem to think its mankinds greatest recent achievement, when to me, its a pretty typical childrens show (far, far
better than its 80s version, and with more effort invested in it than seemed necessary, but lowered expectations doth not a great show make). I may still be able to appreciate Shantae
as a cult phenomenon, because of its authentic spirit, but if a bunch of people are going to come out of the woodwork and say Im not liking it enough
by their pedantic standard, then Im not sure itll hold up. Well have to see.Cliffs notes:
I worked hard on something, the people commenting on it mostly said one irrelevant thing about it, its gotten to me, why do people act like this, and why does it only seem like it happens to me? And again, nothings changed, but it was at least good to blow off some steam. If you actually read all this, and gave it some thought, thanks so much! I appreciate it!
Oh, and remember,
Click here for more info: [link]