Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Confessions of a Complete Nerd: Please no.

I read an article recently (fairly recently--by the time this publishes it will probably be long old) which detailed some things you should never say to an artist. And I thought I should give my opinion on some, as a not really artist but kind of but often caught with sketchbook open. And, yes. Many of these things have been said to me (that's probably why I remember them). So, in no particular order: Things never to ask an artist and why.

"What are you drawing?" **proceeds to lean closer and peer over your shoulder**
*especially annoying if they're leaning over your dominant hand. I NEED THAT ARM, DAMMIT!

I don't know about all artists, but for me at least, this is particularly annoying because I'm a perfectionist. Now, I have been known to take breaks while painting a particularly intricate piece, not going to lie, but those breaks usually occur after SOMETHING is done--i.e., basically one entire part of the piece is done. Also, at that point, I've probably already done a thumbnail, then a small sketch, and maybe then even a larger sketch to get every detail just right, so most of what's already drawn can be referenced and I can just point and say--that thing. But, while in the process of actually drawing and/or sketching--I HATE when people   do this. Sure, glance over my shoulder out of the corner of your eye. I expect that. I don't care. BUT LEANING OVER MY SHOULDER IS TOO FAR, SIR. And, often, even I don't know what I'm drawing yet. It may be an elf. It may be a concept drawing. It may turn into a failed sketch. Who the hell knows?

"Where do you get your ideas from?"

I don't know, where did you get that stupid question from? Oh, it just came from your brain? Well there's your answer.

To be honest, a lot of my stuff (pretty much all of it) is inspired or derived from someone else--but that's life. There's literally no way to be totally original anymore; all you've got to be is somewhat kind-of different than everyone else's derivative piece. But that isn't for you to judge. Which leads to our next one....

"That kind of reminds me of...." [Insert reference that could be spot on or not, who really knows, here]

This has happened to me both as an artist and a writer, and I can't stand it. Thank you, I already knew my work was derivative. But I didn't need you to tell me. Jesus.

This can be very detrimental to the life of a piece, too. If you say this too early in the process, it can really put someone off finishing, because if it already exists, why bother? But that's the point in time it's most important for the artist or writer to focus on conveying what they want to say--not on what other people have done. So when's the best time to say this? To be honest, if you're not handed a draft of the story or asked to critique the piece, never. You never know what point the artist or writer is at, so if you're not intimately involved in the process, JUST. KEEP. YOUR. MOUTH. SHUT.

"Can you draw me?"

Yes. I can. With devil horn's and a tail, precisely, because I hate you now. I feel like this one shouldn't have to be explained, but I get it so often that I will. Yes, I could probably draw you. But, no, most of the time I don't want to. First of all, you don't know what being a live model is like. You can't move. You won't like it. Second of all, if I wanted to draw you, I would probably go and get a picture from Facebook or something. Third of all, if I wanted to draw you, I would've asked. Safe assumption is, I don't. There are various reasons why, but I don't feel like explaining them. But if you still need more help understanding, here's what I hear when you ask if I can draw you: "Can you use some of your really expensive materials and try to draw me when you want to draw something else and then I'll probably unhappy and criticize the product?" WHO WOULD SAY YES TO THAT?

And finally...
"Is that anime?"

Now, I understand. Not everyone knows what anime really is (obviously you don't if you're asking this question....), but they've probably heard about it on the internet or seen maybe an episode or two of an "anime". Plus, it's an easy word to remember and kind of rolls off the tongue. It's also when you have a sort-of realistic style, but not really (I tend to edge more towards animation and cartoonist style, sometimes a little bit of graphic novel, and yes, draw influences from anime) and can't be put into most people's category of "cartoon". But, please. That does not make what I draw "anime." There are several reasons behind this:

1) "Anime" refers, pretty specifically, to animation (see where the word comes from?)--basically the stuff you see on T.V. Also, in most cases, though not all, it refers to Japanese animation, such as Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Sailor Moon, or anything from Studio Ghibli (Japan's and anime's version of Disney). BY NO MEANS DOES THIS REFER TO DOODLES IN A SKETCHPAD. Unless these doodles are inspired by specific anime characters--even then, the term I would use is always fanart. Fanart. Because it's not animated. 

2) Sometimes this happens while the looking over your shoulder thing happens. In that case, refer to the above paragraph.

3) I don't fault you because you don't know the proper parameters of "anime", but I do fault you for trying to put my drawing style into a box. WITH ME STANDING RIGHT HERE. Trying to describe drawing styles of different artists too people is very difficult, so normally I'll only do it with other art enthusiasts or artists, since they probably will be able to understand half the things that come out of my mouth. But I don't specifically name the boxes I'm using if I'm speaking directly with them--I feel like it's kind of a no-no. Because you wouldn't say to a person, "Wow. You're totally trendy and derivative of that one really famous thing I in reality know nothing about, aren't you?" No. You wouldn't. So don't say that to an artist, cause that's what we hear. Or that's what I hear. Unless the artist owns up to it (see above where I said I was influenced by anime--but, again, big difference between influenced by and actually being anime.), don't tell them what they're style is. It's kind of insulting.

**sidenote: to a fledgling artist, this might be either a really huge compliment or a really huge insult, depending on what they're going for. Basically, the same rules apply: DON'T SAY IT.

To get off the negative, here's what you should say instead, because we're pretty sure that's what you meant:
"I really like your art style!"

So that about sums it up! I've been trying to get on the travel blog updates, but really busy. It's a miracle I got this up. Travel blogs take longer because I have to go through and upload pictures.

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