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Mar. 2nd, 2007

I've read a few journals, over the past few days, of many artists becoming dissatisfied with DA, thinking of leaving, etc.
All their thoughts and comments have been very interesting to read, which made me think.
 
These folks are very talented, serious artists. Some joined in the days that DA was smaller, and probably had a much bigger proportions of artists from their level with whom to exchange. I can see how that changed as the site grew. I can see how that has gone 180 degrees from their expectation of a serious art site.
 
When I joined DA not that long ago, I never looked at it as anything "serious". Perhaps not the best of first impressions, you might say. I was glad to find the galleries of many artists I admired, or grew to admire. But I didn't understand what type of community it was. I wasn't expecting anything particular when I joined: wasn't thinking of selling prints. It was a much easier way to post drawing online, and have a decent looking gallery without having to update a website regularly (yeah, I am lazy and not that good at web designs). I wasn't thinking in terms of popularity either: sure, sounded like a good place to show my work, make a few contacts, but never expected more than that.
 
I am guilty of adding to the high proportions of fanart on DA, something that was pointed out as being annoying by many other artists. Understandable too- it is always so much better to see original creations.
At the same time, it never was purely fanart- everything I posted was in a way work related (well, except for the Potter stuff). But everything else had something to do with comics that were printed, art done during a project production.

Yes, even the Avatar stuff.
For this is the story of how I started watching the show- heard that Nick was looking for freelance illustrators for some of their production (magazine and promotion related). Didn't know Avatar, but looked like a fun style. I passed a test , which was accepted, but I never got contacted afterwards. But there, bang, I was hooked on the show, and kept practicing the characters, just in case work would come up. In which case, I'd be ready.
Well, work did come up, but it was not for the magazines.

Ok, that starts to sound like I'm making excuses for all the Avatar related junk I'm dumping in my DA gallery. The kind of fanart, not serious stuff that is possibly discouraging, and make many many talented artists want to leave DA.
I feel like I should apologise. But just little me is not going to change the whole way DA is managed. Perhaps if they made changes, like putting the popular category hidden behind a tab like the today section, and leave more room to the original creation...I don't know.  I'm not really helping in any case.

I do wish the best to all these great creators, to find a place on the web that fit their expectations (and hopefully stays that way).

In the meantime, I'll keep posting the silly stuff on DA, try and give comments and tips to the other people that asks for it (though I am not ready to do whole drawing tutorials...why can't these people make a bit of effort to look in a bloody art book sometimes). 

Sorry for rambling.
(but what else is journal for if not a spot of rambling once in a while)

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
alexds1
Mar. 3rd, 2007 07:39 am (UTC)
I think its best not to take DA too seriously. I know that my art would probably be much less advanced if I didn't have the motivation of people other than my immediate friends looking at it at some point (that probably doesn't relate to you at all since the point of your work is for it to be seen by people XD)

But as for fanart popularity, this version of DA mercifully allows you to turn off certain things that appear on your front page, like popular deviations and such, if you choose. I'm glad you're going to continue posting on DA, I get a real kick out of seeing your work in my inbox.
rufftoon
Mar. 3rd, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I gotta admit, DA has also been very good for motivation for drawing. And also saving scraps drawings. Who knows how many would just have ended their existence in the recycling bin.
uniformgrey
Mar. 3rd, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
The bottom line is that there will be a good majority more people that favourite and comment on fan art and watch the different people on DA for said fan art because it something the viewer is already a fan-of. It's sought after because its something that people are already familiar with and has a strong following.

I think sometimes people forget that.

While yes, there are people who will cater to others tastes just for the accolade, there are others [like you] who draw and post fanart for the pleasure of it.

Some people are just one trick ponies, while others can offer more.

This goes for all walks of art.

When it comes to DA there's a lot to compete with for attention - people who post things for the attention [be it fanart or what-have-you], there are industry professional, artists who have comics, sculpture etc. - that's a LOT of attention to compete with along with people just starting out who may have never draw before now.

Personally I left because I didn't like the way the site was being run and how they handled issues that arose in the community, the site itself being hypocritical etc. I've been there since 2003 [the last time I posted anything was 2005 when I chose to stop uploading there and have my last image as a place-holder] and now use it for commenting, keeping up with artists I watch that still post there and their journals and faving the odd piece.

It all depends on what you want to use the site for, and I can see how it can get frustrating to those who want to use the site more seriously than others or taken more seriously for that matter.

Some see it as a serious site for networking, selling prints and other merch of their artwork and getting their name out there, while others see it as another place to post random blurry webcam shots and ms paint stick figures of burp and fart jokes. There is no set parameter to DA other than you must be over the age of 13 to post.

It's like going grocery shopping for a serious banquet and getting upset because there are people there only for the free samples of cheese and junk food - different tastes.

In the end I don't think you should have to appologize for drawing and posting something you love.
rufftoon
Mar. 3rd, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Many thanks for your reply- I do agree 100% with what you are saying, and you are saying it way clearer than me (I was never good with prose work and setting all my thoughts down clearly- hrmph!)
I sometimes wonder..if there are many people on DA whose sole goal is to get their pieces on the front page, in the popular section. I mean, there must be a few. You know, the competitive kind. Gah, never was competitive myself, I'd just back away.
merofi
Mar. 3rd, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
I totally agree with uniform_grey. you shouldn't feel bad for posting fan art at all, it's a way to show you appreciate and enjoy a certain story or art. I see nothing wrong with this, as long as the love is genuine. And I haven't seen you do a single piece of fan art that isn't out of genuine love for the material! It's what makes you so awesome!

What I don't like is selfish attitudes, and while I understand wanting to leave DA, complaining about fan art and anime-style stuff dominating isn't going to make you look any more classy than the people making the anime-stuff and fan art for the sake of popularity. Don't let it get you down, Johane!

That said, I never really understood what DA was like before. It always seemed kinda the same to me so I can't really tell how it changed over time. If you look at their agreement contract for signing up and posting artwork it's pretty shady looking (that's why I have no RM stuff in my gallery). That stuff bugs me way more than the anime and fandom communities. I use DA to keep in touch with artists that are on there (it's the only way to keep up with the work of my buddy Jen), and that's about it. The site design and everything is pretty ugly to me, but I like getting updated when someone posts some artwork and being able to comment on it. I'm pretty sure when I go back to doing RM though, I'll be migrating back to my website and lj exclusively.
rufftoon
Mar. 3rd, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
Hmf, I know what you mean about that DA contract thing. I think you'd have a pretty good legal basis if you'd post Reman material AFTER it gets published on paper, and sold around. But then again, Reman is your baby and I totally understans you wanting to keep it extra safe.

And I guess that's why I mostly post fanart too- let them try and claim any ownership on that! Ha! I don't even own the rights to these guys either.
intergal
Mar. 3rd, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
I think everyone else has already said it better than me, but don't feel guilty for posting fan art you've done for kicks. You can't take the entire blame for the way dA is going, because by the sounds of things it's been headed there for a while.

Admittedly, I only joined in 2005 and the much deplored sub-standard anime art seems to be the one thing I consistenly produce, but I like using it to keep up with artists whose professional work I've seen used, and with some friends. I know that I've still got lots of work ahead me to improve, but I'll take it at my own pace.

dA is pretty much what you make of it - some get involved in this popularity contest, others use it for professional means. One of the artists on my watch list has gotten a job offer through his dA site from a video game company, something he was very happy about. It's sad that these artists have reached a point where they feel the only recourse is to leave dA, but the only thing that is actually going to change dA is if the mods actually get organised and all the MySpace influence vanishes.

Please keep posting on dA, because your artwork is excellent and it does deserve the hits its getting!
rufftoon
Mar. 3rd, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
Heck, everyone else has been saying things better than me (guess I express myself better in silly comics).

I really wonder what DA was trying to achieve when it first started. I wonder how much influence and pressure it is getting from people to make it more..."MySpace" like. Admittedly, I don't use myspace and can't compare.

As Alexds mentionned, DA can be useful in being a good motivation to keep drawing. Personally, I love seeing artists get better and better as they draw and practice.
shapestrong
Mar. 3rd, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
There are alot of artists who get unhappy, but as long as there is art... people will be unhappy. Not everyone may be at a high level, and lord knows I get sick of staring at "artistic nudes" on the front page. I would rather see well done fan art, than poorly done nipple shots.

I think that da is what you make of it, I'm not a huge artistic nude fan... so I don't watch those people. I am however a huge fan of some fandoms art, avatar being one of them. I don't have time to surf the net all day looking for the site that caters only to the art I want to see in each area.

thats why I feel that DA is so great, you can see so many things, you can adjust your watchlist, or use the search feature to narrow down the style of art, or artists. I admit my watch list isn't half the size of those that watch me. But I'm always finding new artists I would have NEVER found before.

Hee!
rufftoon
Mar. 3rd, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
I have nothing against artistic nudes...but as you said, some of these shots feel more like "look, boobies!" Shock value more than artistic. But my eye still needs training- where's that french Photo magazine when you need it. Plenty of artistic nude shots there.

Gotta agree with you about DA being a perfect place to find fanart, if you're the kind that likes that...and I really like fanart in general.
And as you say, one can at least customize the watch list. Always nice to go and see who else your favourite artists are watching- find some beautiful pieces that way.
flyawayohglory
Mar. 6th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
I was doing some maintenance on sokkas_crew and found your name listed under the watchers. Well, my eyes got big, and I think I made a noise that in some parts of the world might be construed as a squeal. >.< You did read my pimp for the community! *jumps up and down* (Ok, I admit I've become a shameless pimp for my community, so you'll have to excuse me.) Still, that the amazing Rufftoon dropped by, and is even watching our humble community is amazing. ( I don't care about Hollywood actors or the like, but I do end up gushing at my favorite artists, like a total fangirl) 8D

Ok, so I don't feel like I posted unnecessarily, I can see both sides of the argument on DA. There is an overabundance of fanart and anime inspired art there. It does make for a handy tool for finding such art. On the other hand, original art seems to get the shaft from viewers/visitors. Unless you really like the artist, you probably aren't going to be a regular poster to their DA page. My one question is how do you really police this at this point? If you go and tell people they can't post anything up but original art, how strict of a line do you draw in the sand so to speak? Obviously, there are some works that completely resemble someone else's work. (anime, manga, comics, etc) Others are a little harder to figure out, such as someone putting Katara in a a new outfit, especially if the drawn art doesn't really match what Katara looks like. Of course, you have to be familiar with the various fandoms out there, to be able to spot this. (Virtually impossible to implement in real life.)

Maybe, there should be more service played up for original art. Beyond the front page and the little recommendations in the side bar. On one website, ficpress, a website for publishing original written works, people can advertise their work if they "buy" the space. Maybe the same could be applied at DA. Original art previews could be displayed on the top of the screen like the advertisements, they run. That way, the people there only for the fanart, would at least be exposed to some of the original art.
*Yeah I know, I live in a lollipop and gumdrop world sometimes.*

I still don't think that people should be penalized for posting fanarts though. Heck, even the bests artists sometimes take a crack at a little homage to their interests. I know what little art I have done as an adult, has been more fanart than original. I just don't post anything there because I know I have serious issues with the quality of my stuff right now, and don't want to embarrass myself. (Or subject the masses to making their eyes bleed..hehe)

The one thing I do find lacking is constructive critisism of art on DA. I thought the point of posting there was to get feedback on various issues from other artists. Obviously, people don't need to hack away at someone's work, but the almost glorification of some people on DA is sometimes over the top. Granted, if you're good, and your work is excellent enough that it conveys the artists intent, then bring on the praise. However, if someone's work is wrong anatomically, wouldn't it be better to help them by kindly pointing it out, so that person can become a better artist? Instead, people put up words of "excellent", "good job" and the like, never really telling them the truth. Urg, I guess I'm just to set on telling the truth, even if it is not always socially acceptable.

Ok, I think I've written a novel again, so I better scoot. Thanks for dropping by our community though. Maybe we'll see some kind words from you around there, when you can get the time.

PS. I'd love to know how you landed the job at Nick, as you are the fandom's super awesome fan turned I got a job on said fandom's show success story. *breathe* (Yeah, I know I sound like a teenager sometimes, but I'm 28--who would go around advertising their old age in this fandom--so I can actually carry on an intelligent conversation, if I have to.) ;)
rufftoon
Mar. 7th, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
Hey, you know I'm still a big avatar fangirl at heart- of course I'm gonna watch some Avatar related journals-communities and the like (heck, I even started looking at those fanvids! Some are really really fun!).

Some good thoughts about DA. As you said, it would be hard to police everything...and anyway, you can never ever please everyone.
As for leaving constructive criticism, I can understand that being daunting sometimes: you don't necessarily know how old the artist who posted is, if they really want advanced crits. Some also badly take constructive comments. Or, sometimes it is very hard to explain what is wrong with just words. One would almost need to draw over the drawing to better explain.

As for the story of the job, it may be told one day. :)
flyawayohglory
Mar. 7th, 2007 08:40 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I didn't think you'd abandon the fan community. Heck you give us such tasty treats all the time, in your DA account. (Some of those entries for your coloring contest are awesome!) Do you suffer from some form of AWS (Avatar Withdraw Symptom)? <--not my word, but I hear it a lot. The rest of the fandom is dying here apparently, waiting for the new season. I'm still fairly new to all this, so I'm not really ready for it to end yet. I'll live in suspense a bit longer. :D

Haha, man you missed the height of the fanvids on Youtube, that is, before they took them down. Do you like Dane Cook? If so, try these: http://www.livevideo.com/silentxfilmxstar
I'd pimp them in the community, if I didn't think that someone would rat them out, and the vids would be gone again. They were on Youtube, but they, and some other Dane Cook ones disappeared. I only found these because someone told me where to look.

Yeah, about the constructive criticism, I wouldn't go around doing that to any random person. I'd at least get to know the person first. I have more tact then that. Of course, criticism is different for every person. Two people had very different reactions to the same piece of work of mine. (The birthday gift that will never be finished, at the rate I'm going.) :) Both were helpful, but I was confused by the almost complete opposite ends of the spectrum, reaction I got.

*snaps fingers* Gosh darnit! Oh well, maybe you'll tell the story about the job when your contract ends, and you're not under the microscope.

Your cat icon amuses me so. It reminds me of Bumi, with the odd eyes. I'm assuming that that is from one of your previous original works, as I think I've seen it before. Somewhere in my vast memory of useless stuff, it's pinging my brain.

How you manage to respond to all those pages of people drooling over your art, I'll never be able to comprehend. I'm just surprised you found the time to reply to this! (Especially, that you didn't immediately go, Oh my gawd, stalker!) Now if I could figure out how to set up email alerts for my DA account instead of having to go randomly check on those artists I like, I'd be set. sokkas_crew has taken over my life, so I don't see myself, being able to do that much. *sigh* You probably didn't need to know half of this. My journal isn't named "A Study of Random Babbling" for nothing. ^_^
rufftoon
Mar. 11th, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
Haha, I do suffer from some sort of AWS. Probably a lot milder than many. Best way to beat it is keep busy, and do Avatar doodles while we wait.

Thanks for the links for the vids! Really fun, enjoyed them a lot.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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