3/9/22: Fan Artistry

It’s interesting to me, how and when I discover blind spots in my drawing abilities.

I mentioned how I wanted to do just some silly, self-indulgent art.  I stand by that.  I’m having fun experimenting with that.  But I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d have to “experiment” so much.

The character in question, at the moment – because, hoo boy, when I get stressed I go into Fandom Mode, so there are a lot of things I want to get out on paper – is Damien LaVey, from the visual novel Monster Prom (and its sequels).  It’s a fairly simple design – and I love it, I love its aesthetic, I love that it’s clean and expressive and fun – but it’s not unnecessarily complex.  It should be, you would think, a design relatively easy to imitate or adapt to one’s own style.

Yeah, well, you’re not me, I guess.

Dammit, I love this demonic little bitch.

This is not a brand new problem – I went through something similar when I was thinking about doing fanart of Worthikid’s work (something I am still interested in doing, by the way) – thinking about how important to the essence of his work his particular style is, how hard it is to imitate, and how hard it is for me to adapt or even hybridize the style with my own and still make it distinctively “Worthikid’s fanart,” and not just, hey look, Jess decided to draw a weird, Clown-themed food truck (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, by the way, please don’t deprive yourself of Bigtop Burger for any longer than you already have).

I’m not one hundred percent sure how to draw these characters in their styles without fully copying from an existing piece, or how to adapt them into my style while still maintaining their integrity, their identifying features, their…them-ness, I guess.

I think, when I really dig down, I don’t quite understand style.  You know?  I know my art looks like my art.  I could probably even name a few qualities that define it – a certain line weight, black lineart, detailed hair, overlapping shadows, lots of stark-ish highlights.  But when I think about these highly stylized characters from other creators – I don’t know, I see fanart where a character was definitely drawn in the fan artist’s own style, and they are still clearly recognizable as who they are, and it’s like, a marvel.

I have also seen the opposite, where the character is drawn in the fan artist’s own style and they just look… generic.  Not even necessarily bad, since a lot of the art is technically good, just… generic.  Like any Basic White Male (insert race or gender that applies), you know?

Is my art style generic? No, I mean, is my art style Generic, you know?

I don’t dislike what my style is developing into.  I’m actually, generally, usually pretty happy with my work.  So this isn’t me fishing for compliments or reassurances.  I guess I’m just wondering, if I’m overall satisfied with my progress, but do sometimes have these urges to branch out and explore other styles, is it actually worth doing?  Will it impact my overall progress in developing my style, or will my experimentation and my “standard” style eventually coalesce into something greater, into something (at least) coherent?

Or maybe I should just stop trying to thirst-draw two-dimensional  demon boys?

A co-worker tried to greet a student three times this morning – “Happy Friday.  No, wait.  Happy Thursday.  No.  Happy Wednesday.  You get a sense of how my week has been.”

Big mood.

I hope you all are taking care of yourselves, and each other.  Cheers.

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