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Posts Tagged ‘Art’

So one day I was lurking the front page of FA (FurAffinity) when I stumbled upon a gem of a submission.  Granted, it was just their own take on various other images that you can find everywhere but I digress.  It was a “tutorial” of sorts.  On how to make your character/fursona original.  What a wonder this work was.  And here I was thinking that even by creating something that meant something to you, you were being original.  Silly me for believing such nonsense.  It’s ludicrous to believe that giving your character unnatural colors or markings is original.  Or that creating a character of a specific species is unoriginal.  Unless you’ve completely thought up the idea yourself, you’re not being original!

 

A pink and blue kangaroo with a removable green wig and a strawberry mark on it's back...yep that's a completely unoriginal concept. Seen it a hundred times before.

Okay, okay…of course I’m being satirical now.  It’s no secret that I like sparkle animals and it shouldn’t be a secret (well…it won’t be anymore) that I believe something that is completely 100% original is hard to come by nowadays.  So when I see the concept of other people’s character getting bashed, it just makes me want to slam my head against a desk.  Granted there are many people out there who are just trying too hard to create a unique character or people who could possibly use some character design classes (myself included), but that doesn’t mean that they’re completely unoriginal or uncreative.

 

Usually this concept of original vs. unoriginal comes up during periods in the fandom when an artist creates a popular trend or species that has nearly everyone creating one on their own.  But of course there’s going to be the naysayers who believe that because you’re partaking in a particular fad that you’re being unoriginal.  You have a soda roo?  Nope, too many of those exist.  Not original.  Or a pokesona?  Nope…based off fan art.  No way you had any originality with that.  What about sparkle dogs?  God no!  Those things are too hideous to be unique or of any importance.  You have to love the types who can tell you exactly what is or isn’t original based upon…the fact that they’ve seen something similar before.  You also have to wonder if those types find anything original.  Usually you can please these types by drawing naturally colored animals.  But how many times can you repeat the same colors on naturally colored animals before you say that you’ve seen it before?  This isn’t to say that using natural colors is unoriginal (it most certainly isn’t).  It does limit you quite a bit with what you can and can’t do with your character.  If you want a naturally colored dalmatian you’re limited to a white and black or white and liver palette.  While the spot combination will change, there’s no doubt you’ll probably be thinking of Pongo and Perdita when you’re looking at the picture.

 

What some of these fads also do that many people fail to realize is that they get people to create.  They get people thinking about what colors and attributes they want to give their character.  What will their personality be?  What specific species will I be referring to?  There’s more than one type of kangaroo to base a soda roo off of.  So while they might be following a specific fad which might die in time, at least people are creating.  They’re exercising their ability to be creative.  Even memes allow for creativity (even though we might be dead tired of seeing them all the time).

 

Even fan art can have an original spin...now only if I'd sit down and finish this picture...

I realize that you’re entitled to your opinion.  And just as you may have yours, this one is mine.  Originality rarely exists anymore.  Everyone copies or is at the least influenced from someone else.  And even sitting down to draw a simple little character requires a little bit of creativity or originality (at the least creativity).  Not everything that’s created needs to be a brilliant masterpiece worthy of placement in only the finest art establishment.  No.  Sometimes creating for the sake of creation or for fun is just as good.

 

What do you guys think about creativity?  Do you think it’s hard or easy to still be completely creative and original?  Or do you think people now have to work harder at it since there’s more ideas out in the world and it’s easier to get your ideas out there?

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Well all know them.  The popular anime series that continue running for hundreds and hundreds of episodes due to the popularity of the series.  Perhaps the creators intended for such shows to be shorter but as the series grew more and more popular, they had to cater to the needs of the public.  And what the public wanted was more of the series.  Or perhaps the plan was to have an ongoing series from the beginning.
These shows tend to be guilty pleasures for a lot of us.  We all know someone who’s a large fan of Bleach, Naruto (I lump Shipudden and Shounen Hen in this group), or One Piece.  We get hooked on these series early, become invested in the characters, and put in considerable time following it that perhaps we feel that we must finish the series…or at the least follow it as long as we can until we completely tire of it.

 

My guilty pleasure series is Detective Conan, a 617+ episode series about a high school detective (Shinichi Kudo) who is poisoned while spying on two men in black.  The poison backfires however and the result is that he is turned into a child and uses the alias “Conan Edogawa” so that no one (including his friends) can figure out his real identity.  Though along the way a few people end up finding out and of course his family find out.  As this post’s purpose isn’t to review the series in full, I don’t need to write a full description.  I’m just using this particular series as an example to show the problems that can happen with a long running series.

 

Detective Conan started off on at a rather steady pace.  And for the first 50 or so episodes, you can visually see the story going somewhere.  The basic gist of the story is that “Conan” (Shinichi) continues to solve various crimes in hopes that he picks up clues about the “Black Organization” and their drug, APTX 4869.  It’s a rather straightforward plot.  But the main issue is that the series continuously veers further and further away from the plot in order to drag the show on and on.  The smartest decisions they’ve made are to strategically insert nibbles of actual plot into the series when the series begins to veer too far away from the plot.  This keeps the audience interested by reminding them that they haven’t forgotten about the main plot.  It just takes a bit of time to get there.  The other smart decision is to insert something unique and interesting such as the London Arc or the recent insertion of a new detective named Sera into the manga.  This reminds the audience that the story can still be eye catching and interesting even when the main plot seems so far away.  Not to mention the addition of Sera spiced things up quite a bit.  As she’s a sudden addition and I want to know how her character will progress in further chapters.

 

But there is a grave downside to this as well.  While inserting nibbles of actual plot into the series is a great idea, the mistake with Detective Conan is when they do insert actual plot into the series, they quickly yank it away within a few episodes.  Right when you think the show might be going somewhere, it doesn’t.  Doing it a time or two is fine.  Just so long as it actually fulfill what it sets out to do.  But after 617 episodes, nothing has still happened.  They haven’t gotten any closer to defeating the Black Organization.  They haven’t gotten very many clues on the experimental drug.  Nor are they any closer to restoring Shinichi’s body to normal.  In fact, many of times I completely forget that Conan is Shinichi.  If you can delete a good majority of the series and leave just the parts that contain details that pertain to the plot, it’s a good sign that most of the series is unneeded.  Granted that would mean cutting some fun cases, but I would rather have the show (and manga too) continue to follow a plot rather than having cases that have no purpose.

 

I’m no storyteller.  In fact, writing stories is a weak point for me.  And I understand that writing long stories is easier than writing short ones.  It might be a normal thing for storytellers to write long stories in the beginning.  But part of the story writing process is cutting and editing out unnecessary details.  Getting rid of the parts that do not help further the plot.  And somehow this editing process was forgotten.

 

The public always knows what they want.  And the media should take into consideration what the public does want.  If they don’t, then their show, comic, song, etc. won’t be a success.  But don’t forget the integrity of the story in the process.  Don’t sacrifice what’s good to appease people.  If you have a good product, you will find an audience for it.  And just because a product has a large audience doesn’t always mean the product is good.  There’s nothing wrong with having a longer series.  But if you find that the show you’re making is more “filler” than plot, perhaps you should take a better look at your scripts and see if there’s anything your show can do without.

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Whether they be dogs, cats, horses, or rodents, sparkle animals are a staple in the furry fandom.  A staple that seems to catch a lot of flack for being “unrealistic”, ludicrous, ridiculous, unoriginal, and plain old uninteresting.  They’re the butt of a lot of jokes for their bright and unnatural colors, markings, and accessories such as bracelets, bows, and piercings. 

 

Had it not been for a comment I received on Deviantart about this particular picture that I’d finished up today, I probably would not have touched this topic.  For me the issue was always a non-issue.  Sparkle animal are just as original and unique as a naturally designed character.  They’re a fun way to play around with colors and patterns.  And a good way to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously all the time.  But for those who hate (and I do mean hate with a fiery passion) unnaturally colored animals, the idea that something like this green and blue jackalope here is “unique” and “original” is foreign.

 

There isn’t a defining line of what constitutes as a “sparkle” animal though.  For some, it’s a naturally colored animal that’s offset with an unnatural color.  For others it’s the extreme of a character so outrageously colored, marked, and accessorized that it’s visually unsettling.  The latter is usually what you’ll see when people make fun of “sparkle” animals.  Because you’re stereotypical “sparkle” animal is a wolf so anorexic that it doesn’t look like a wolf anymore.  With long, thin limbs but a bushy mane and tail.  And a coat pattern of 6 or more colors and markings.  Usually some of those markings are music notes or hearts.  Accessories are typically multiple ear piercings, bracelets, and leg warmers.  And when a character is that detailed, it’s no wonder that unnaturally colored animals end up frowned upon.  However one must take in account that those who design characters to that extent are typically young teenagers and probably don’t have much experience in character design.  It is more difficult that people would like to believe.

 

I for one am a fan of these so-called “sparkle” animals.  And often attempt to design my own, usually to no avail (though that jackalope character and art above is mine, it is not a character I designed).  I love the originality in many of the designs and the usage of color.  And when a design is done well, it’s really done well.  For example…

 

This red panda.  Yet again, it’s a character and art that’s mine yet I didn’t design it.  Rather I bought the design from a wonderfully talented artist that goes by the name “Vani” or “Vanimute”.  All I did were tell her the colors that I wished for in a red panda character.  The markings and placement of the colors I left in her hands.  And this was the outcome.  She’s rather beautiful don’t you think?  There’s only so far you can get with natural colors and markings in red pandas.  And with using solely “natural” colors on animals, you can be sure to run into a person who’ll have an extremely similar character to yours.  Very rarely do fully naturally colored characters stand out in the sea of animal characters.  There’s only so much you can do when you want a naturally colored husky or red fox character (even if you do use the colors and patterns on domestic bred foxes).

 

So I’ll end this with a question:  Why is it that sparkle animals receive the hatred that they do?  And is that hatred well justified?

 

End note: My personal characters lean towards having more “natural” designs so it was a tiny bit difficult to come up with picture references that I wanted to use.  Without permission from other artists, I’d rather stray away from using their art or characters in this manner.  Both pieces and character above belong to me.  Do not use them without permission.

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I’m not ashamed to call myself a furry.  I’m not ashamed to be a part of the furry fandom.  And I won’t hide that I’m a part of it.

 

I hold a good deal of negative opinions about the furry fandom.  Many of which will eventually be ranted about here in future posts.  But my negativity should not detract from the fact that I hold this fandom very dear and I’m very happy to have found it.

 

To anyone outside the fandom, they’ll see a bunch of strange people who seem to have a fascination with dressing up in animal costumes, wearing ears and tails, and have some weird adoration of anthropomorphic animals.  For anyone who’s idiotic enough to believe everything they see in the media, they might find furries to be socially awkward or at worst, amazingly perverted.  For people with those opinions, your opinion of myself or anyone else in the fandom won’t change because you seem to be set in your ways.  My hope is you don’t use such blanketed generalizations for all groups of people.  But for the majority of people, they have no idea what the furry fandom is.  Or if they do know, they might’ve only heard about it in passing.  Or are intelligent enough to not take CSI for absolute truth.  Those people could actually get a little something out of this and see from a furry’s perspective why they love the fandom.

 

I’m relatively new to the fandom.  I’m 22 now and found out about it when I was 18.  A member on Deviantart (DA for short) linked to her new account on a website called “FurAffinity” (FA for short).  Clicking on the link, I found a site completely geared towards anthropomorphic and animal art.  It was the perfect outlet for my work.  I did draw animals mostly after all.  There was a market for it on DA, but DA’s target audience tends to be wolf and anime artists.  Unless you’re particularly amazing at what you do or cater to what happens to be popular at the moment (or cater to nostalgia), chances of your work being spotted are low.  Thinking I’d have a better shot on FA, I joined under the name “Ookami-girl”.  And thus was my first venture into the furry fandom.  I still didn’t really have an idea of what a furry was.  Not a single furry can even explain what a furry is.  So for the longest time I denied that I was a furry.  I didn’t want to use a label on myself that I didn’t have a definition for.

 

Unlike the majority of furs though, I won’t deny the adult side to the fandom.  It exists.  And we all know that it does.  It is the thing that people think of when they hear “furry” and it’s the thing that frightens people about the furry fandom.  And it doesn’t take a genius to know that being an artist that caters to the adult side of the fandom will bring in more pageviews and favorites.  In other words…it makes you popular.  And as a bit of a sucker to be popular, I did cater to that side of the fandom for a while.  So I’ve been on that side a bit.  Many furs wish to downplay this side and pretend like it doesn’t exists.  When a show about sex talks about the furry fandom, any furs that take part in these interviews tend to become outcasts in the community.  And the fight to claim that sexuality is only a small portion of the fandom grows stronger and louder.  For some furs, this might be true.  For others, the sexuality might be the only thing that ties them to the fandom.  This is lesson one about furries…every furry is a furry for different reasons.

 

But because adult art isn’t what I like to draw nor want to be known by I switched accounts (mainly to match my DA name, SombraStudio).  Non-anthropomorphic art and digital painting is my forte.  But after I aired out the fandom’s dirty laundry, how could I possibly say that I love it?  Well it’s quite simple really.  Because unlike many non-furs who look at the fandom from the outside, I see the other aspects the fandom has.

 

What does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say when they see a picture of a fursuit?  They see an object that will potentially be used for sexual roleplay and treat it as such.  Spewing comments like “Yiff in hell, furfag!” or other such variations.  On rare occasion they may praise the craftsmanship, but have to add in something along the lines of “It’s a shame what it’s going to be used for…”, hinting at the possibility that the person wearing the costume will in fact use it for adult roleplay purposes.  But I see a work of art that a person had to have worked at for years to create the quality of work that they made.  The skill they must have had to create a mask with good visibility and ventilation while still looking like the creature it’s supposed to look like.  Or the ability to create the illusion of being a four legged creature by making quadruped suits.

 

And what does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say about anthropomorphic art?  A great generalization about how all furs are zoophiles.  Even on the tamest of pictures.  And usually they don’t understand why people would choose to represent themselves with animal characters rather than human ones.  Art is all about expression and fantasy though.  The artist is free to express themselves in whatever manner they wish to.  As for fantasy, what do you expect with anthropomorphic animals?  The Redwall series by Brian Jaques is a perfect example of fantastic anthropomorphic animals.  And for examples in everyday children’s media, there’s Looney Tunes and Disney to look to.

 

Why do I love the furry fandom.  I think 2 the Ranting Gryphon put it best in one of his comedy shows.  It’s such a diverse and creative fandom.  It’s a fandom that celebrates artists of all genres and skill levels…not just the ones who’ve “made it” (in a professional arena).  Illustrators, animators, painters, sculptors, muscians, writers, comedians, singers, costume makers, etc…they all have a fair and equal voice in the fandom and all are equally celebrated for their originality, characters, character as a person, humor, or whatever else they might bring to the table.  The anime fandom exists to celebrate the characters and series that already exists.  The same goes for comic and sci-fi fans.  But furries celebrate the characters, skills, and talents that each person uses and contributes to the fandom.  And it’s a tight community of people who support each other when the going gets tough.  That closeness is something that I’ve yet to witness from any other fandom that I’m a part of.

 

It is for that sole reason that I love the furry fandom and wouldn’t leave it for anything.

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