Feb. 18th, 2013

linking to a discussion

[personal profile] mashimero is brainstorming about what it would take to make a fanfic&fanart/media challenge truly collaborative and is looking for ideas/experiences/opinions from a wider circle.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/511902.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Feb. 11th, 2013

things fandom is missing

As I'm still pondering whether or not to sign up for the upcoming [livejournal.com profile] xmenreversebang, that made me once again been wonder why there isn't some place/infrastructure besides (Reverse) Big Bangs to facilitate collaborations. Fests are good insofar that the moderators usually try hard to get everyone paired up, but there is the whole issue of the schedules and deadlines. Why aren't there non-fest places for authors and artists to pitch some project idea to find another fan who would be interested in working together?

Like, it kind of compares to getting a prompt filled somehow, which you can attempt by signing up to a fest or by throwing it out in a kinkmeme, hoping to find someone interested from a random but larger pool. Of course most don't get filled in kinkmemes (mine never have been so far), but the chance is still better than just putting out your idea in your own journal.

I guess the obstacles are the potential social awkwardness (you might have to reject offers of collaboration, because you dislike someone's writing/art/podfic/whatever style or even their proficiency), and also that the likelihood of matching (or even the general interest in collaborations outside of close friends) might not be high enough to make such a forum worthwhile.

OTOH fandoms these days don't have central places anymore, so there isn't even anywhere where you could put up your notice individually for many others to see, like a central (or at least large) general discussion list or a noticeboard.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/510623.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Dec. 12th, 2012

being somewhat touchy, I guess

I've seen a bunch of links to an anon end of year feedback meme, and I checked it out, but once again, as so many memes, it is only for fic writers, not any other fanworks, even though no modifications in the feedback meme setup would be needed to make it more inclusive. Doing anything else but fic writing in this corner of fandom feels like being invisible sometimes.

This entry was originally posted at http://ratcreature.dreamwidth.org/494969.html. | comment count unavailable comments

Jul. 16th, 2011

Thirty Days of Fanart Meme: Day 1

I've seen this meme around on my network, most recently from [livejournal.com profile] penknife, and because I don't write fanfic I adapted the questions for fanart. Some of the phrasing is a bit awkward, because due to all the different kinds of fanart I didn't just want to replace "write" with "draw".

1 – How did you first get into creating fanart, and what was the first fandom you made art for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in?

This depends a bit on how narrow you see what's "fanart". I've been in (non-superhero) comic fandom and drew comics as a kid, but those were more or less original, i.e. I did not use existing characters or copied comics except for style.

Even then I was much better at worldbuilding than plot, so for my first real comic project (that was back in fourth or fifth grade), I wanted to do a comic about these fluffy creatures I imagined (called Wuschels, kind of like tribbles, but with eyes, noses, feet and antenna and not as fertile), but what I ended up with was a sort of background treatise with illustrations detailing how they lived and their society and biology and such. I only managed two pages of an actual comic, then ran out of plot, and strangely enough did another illustrated thing about their version of football. IDEK. I mean, I've never been a sports fan, this just shows how pervasive football is. I did share these with my family and subjected my long suffering best friend to my efforts as well. I was never one much for drawer projects. I still have the drawings and texts from that project in a binder, but I lost the ones I made from yarn. From then on I drew comics all through high school. Some of them are posted on my website.

It took me much longer to try creating fanart in a narrow sense. The first media fandoms I got into online weren't good places for fanart. My first major online fandom was The Sentinel in the late 90s, and there was very little fanart online, and mostly just collage type photomanips that often weren't all that good. Zines were expensive, so I only ever ordered a couple, and even those often did not have any illustrations, and the few that did were all aiming for a very photo-realist style. I know now that even at the time there had been other fanart styles around for tv fandoms, but I didn't know that then. I thought to be accepted as fanart in live action fandoms art had to try for photorealism. So at that time I didn't even realize that anyone might be interested in the kind of fanart I could do.

Eventually there was a Sentinel fanfic for which I couldn't resist drawing an illustration, but the result was really quite bad. I was too embarrassed to attach my internet identity to that, and incidentally was also for a story I did not want to admit to have liked under my regular pseud either. These days I'm much less embarrassed about my kinks, and the author managed to push all my buttons really well, despite that the story was an unfinished WIP, not even spellchecked and OOC. But I still wanted to give the author the drawing her story had inspired (like I said above, I never saw much sense to produce for a drawer rather than public, not even if it's somewhat cringeworthy, I mean it still took time and effort after all), so that led to the only time I ever created a sockpuppet account in fandom. So I actually posted my first piece of fanart as a sockpuppet. I guess it is similar to venturing forth into anon kink memes first these days. Luckily afaik the yahoogroup where I posted the picture in the file section has vanished by now, so I don't think it is even on the internet anymore... Which is really better for everyone. I don't recall even the author responding with anything after getting the art.

The first fanart I posted properly was after I got drawn into DC fandom. I was inspired by [personal profile] cereta's story Secrets, and unlike the live action fandoms I was in, it seemed less daunting to draw comic characters than to have to try for a realist style, and Cereta and some others on my flist were encouraging me to try, so I took the plunge. Also at that point LJ was replacing mailing lists as platform, so not only seemed comic fandom easier to draw for and more receptive and open to art than the live action fandoms I knew previously, posting it was also easier.

The rest of the meme questions, slightly adapted to fit fanart )

Jun. 25th, 2011


I was looking at my website stats and noticed that there was a significant spike in traffic one day earlier this month, so I was curious whether I had been linked/recced somewhere, and checked the referrer logs which led me to a ONTD post titled "Amazingly Bad Fan Art", which actually didn't contain any of my art, also the art of the post was neither hotlinked nor credited with links, so artists "featured" there would probably not even notice. (Incidentally much of the art wasn't particularly bad either.)

Still curious I browsed the comments, and it turns out someone hotlinked my Nightwing/Arsenal picture there, also not crediting me with a proper link. (There's a reason I tend to make my sigs large, at least viewers can see my name on the pic.) Though the opinion in the couple of replies to the pic had also some that liked the art. So I guess the thing about any publicity sort of applies.

I still find posts like this obnoxious, not so much because people mock fanart they don't like(*), I understand that impulse (it's not like I don't post my own wtf? reactions to odd fanfic every now and then), but because so often there's no credit. I mean, while I was looking through the comment pages to find which of my art was linked, I saw a bunch of art I actually liked, and some art that wasn't my fandoms but still clever or funny. Only in plenty of cases where someone wasn't siphoning bandwidth from the original artist's pages but just grabbed the picture, you often can't find the artists.

(*) ETA: Though IMO it's mean and a cheap shot if the target is art clearly posted by children and teenagers trying to portrait their first crushes. Of course the portraits will have the typical beginner problems.

Jun. 24th, 2011

fanart process over at fanartivation

I made a process post in the [livejournal.com profile] fanartivation comm for my previous SGA fanart "Offworld Team Camping". I haven't made a process post for that art here back when I posted it, so if you like process photos you might want to check out the post there.

Jan. 5th, 2011

fanart process: my yuletart piece, "Fealty"

Considering the many, many hours my recently revealed yuletart picture took, I thought I ought to get more than one post out of it... ;)

picture heavy art process post )

Oct. 25th, 2010

fannish etiquette question

With the proliferation of Tumblr, what do you do if another fan just reblogs your pictures? I understand that one of the reasons people like Tumblr is because it is so easy to just post a bunch of pictures and video and such, but I do have a notice that I don't want my art distributed without permission, because I'd rather like traffic to come to my site than some random Tumblr or other site. (This seems to be an ongoing problem for me of late.) Am I just behind on the new fannish normal?

Aug. 9th, 2010

curious about fanart style preferences

I'm curious what kind of fanart styles/types people like best for live action fandoms. For the purpose of this poll assume that the artist is skilled at the style in question, e.g. just because there are a ton of badly done "my hed iz pastede on" photomanips that shouldn't count against the style as such, if you can appreciate well done manips of that type. For this poll consider 0="don't like the style at all" and 5="like this style very much".

ETA: I probably should have been more precise in that what I'm curious about is preferences for styles of 2D, non-moving picture-type fanart; the phrasing was not meant to imply that things like fannish fiber crafts, sculpture or vidding or other arts weren't "fanart".

Jul. 4th, 2010

so how do you do fanart headers?

I've been browsing a couple of the VVC related discussion posts, and the parts about labelling vids made me wonder about similar problems for fanart. I like useful and detailed content labels (anyone who has seen my delicious account could have guessed that *g*) to help fans find what they like and avoid what they don't like. And I think for non-narrative fanart the "spoiling the plot twists" aspects of detailed labels are mostly moot since you see it all at once anyway, but instead there is the problem to balance the usefulness of the preview thumbnail against avoiding things that may look disturbing even when reduced to a tiny size.

Mostly I want the header/outside of the cut to attract viewers to click on the full thing, and make it so that the labels are most useful for the potential audience. Having a small but still interesting preview is essential for that, IMO. I don't mind giving much information in text, but I like to show the part I consider best and/or most suited to size-reduction in my preview as a teaser.

OTOH I wouldn't want someone have an unintentional goatse.cx like experience on their reading list either, and there is the consideration that to reach a wide audience it can be beneficial to keep uncut things "worksafe" so that people don't feel apprehensive to include a journal, community or blog on a regular reading list that they might check from public computers or during their lunch break as well. For example in the one art community I set up ([community profile] slothsdraw, which admittedly never gained traction) the rules ask all previews to be small and suitable for general audiences ("worksafe"), while behind cuts all kind of adult content is welcome as long as it is labelled as such, though more specific information is optional.

I myself don't draw very disturbing pictures (at least not if you don't count the occasional proportion or perspective fail as disturbing *g*), but if I did anything really extreme, while I would probably try to be careful with the preview, so that it is not too bad when seen at a small size, I would still do a preview to entice people who like the same kind of art I do. So at least in my own journal that is not subject to additional community considerations, I might not pick a "worksafe" thumbnail cut (my preview is usually a square cut of the central area of interest reduced to 120x120px) if I didn't think it represented the art the best. So my posts could be problematic, even with me using all kinds of text labels.

For example one of the few times one of my pictures actually had any kind of warnings was when I drew Roy as junkie, which was thus rated "PG" and clarified in the header that this was for "drug use", but my preview thumbnail outside already showed him depicted as drug addict with his arm with track marks and drug paraphernalia. So the text warning would have only functioned as an advance warning for people cautious enough to have turned off images when coming across the cut post, because you'd notice the image before ever reading the detailed header.

I admit that even though I set up a similar rule myself for a community (in part because it was centered around drawing practice itself, not any fannish content or topic), I dislike it when I come across previews for explicit pictures on fannish comms and notice boards where you can't really see much of anything in the preview anymore, because it is a section chosen to be safe outside the cut that isn't all that representative of the style or picture. Some of this I think is just people picking a section badly (at least for my taste), but some is an inherent problem. I mean, if you have picture that is about gory, explicit violence and the center of attention is really gross, and there is no truly non-disturbing part that is still interesting (even the daisy flower off to the side is trampled and splattered with blood from an intestine!) you end up with previews that show stuff like a bit of the stormy sky above, when the image is of a demonic zombie battlefield or whatever. That is not a very useful preview.

So how to best balance between useful previews and not wanting to ambush people with disturbing pictures? Is the small size of a preview enough, because you can't see it in detail? Do most fans who are concerned about avoiding certain pictures browse with all turned off and only see them after clicking one specifically, so that text labels work as a heads up for images too? Do you still click on fanart cuts without any image preview if it has just a text header describing it?

May. 23rd, 2010

fanart process post

Because I'm procrastinating on my SGA Reverse Bang piece, I've decided to do a process post about my last fanart, the one for the Trek Reverse Bang. That painting took me a long time, and quite a lot of work spread out of over three months, and maybe some are interested how I get from the first idea to a finished painting.

image heavy )

Dec. 7th, 2009

help for the clueless?

This probably is a totally embarrassing n00b question, but is there some sort of trick or method to avoid your palette becoming a total mess when you color something or paint? Something that people who are not self-taught via trial and error are shown when they learn?

I struggled with this once again recently when I finished my [info - livejournal.com] yuletart assignment (btw Yuletart has started posting this weekend so remember to check it to not miss the cool art that is being posted). I can't seem to handle color mixing in an efficient way.

My method when mixing acrylics to color my lineart looks something like this: I usually use two palettes, one for thicker colors (which is not so much a real palette as a largish cookie tin lid onto which I put a layer of very wet paper towel covered by a piece of sandwich paper so that the paint remains wet) and a palette with several depressions for mixing in a more watery way. I also have two containers with water, one that remains clear for making the paint thinner for glazes without dipping the brush in (usually I use eyedroppers for that) and one to use with the brushes.

I put small dollops of the colors I plan to use for mixing on the first palette and start to mix colors and put them on paper. Because for the most part I use acrylic paint in thinner layers I tend to either mix on the first palette until I get the shade I want, put a bit on the second palette, and add clean water until it has the translucency I need, or I add layers of more basic colors over each other on the paper. Sometimes for gradients I also start with less water and then do a wash on the paper. But inevitably after a relatively short while this arrangement becomes a mess, i.e. I run out of spaces to mix or to dilute the paint or both. Am I missing some technique that will make this whole thing more go more smoothly and efficiently?

May. 30th, 2009

packrat poll

I'm wondering what other people do with their preliminary sketches and stuff. For each actually finished piece of fanart I end up with a pile of more or less awful and hideous half abandoned sketches, rough composition doodles, sketches to work out body parts, perspective, color, textures, sometimes just a couple, sometimes dozens and more. I have packrat tendencies in general, so it is hard for me to throw things out, but otoh, what do I need a pile with failed sketches of mishapen half-finished stuff for, once I have finished the work?

So I'm curious what other people do:

May. 26th, 2008

fanart rambling...

When I was drawing my latest piece, i.e. the SGA/Avatar fusion with Teyla as Waterbender, I was reminded again why I'm rather reluctant to try drawing fanart for tv/movie fandoms, my recent forays into SGA notwithstanding: I have a hard time with character-likeness if the character has to look like a real person.

Because my style of drawing is more comic/illustration-like than truly realist, e.g. that I like to have lineart, it needs a certain amount of simplification in facial features. Which then presents the problem of how to get there from the starting point of a realistic and fully rendered face. (Not that I can do realistic portraits, but in theory I mean.)

The first thing that usually comes to mind for trying to get a handle on how a character looks is to start with a photo of the character's actor or a screenshot of the character, and then somehow simplify from there. The reasoning is that after all basing your art on a decent photo works well enough for realistic character portraits in fanart, which are often recognizably based on promo pics and such. Yet this approach is somewhat hazardous as anyone who has seen a bad tv comic, one where the artist visibly just traced screenshots, can attest to. It's the phenomenon that in its extreme is lineart that you could even actually map over a screenshot and the lines "fit," yet if you look at the lineart alone it doesn't really look like the character at all.

The problem is of course in the nature of lineart. If you have ever tried to trace a photo, you've run into the problem that there aren't really any "lines", so usually you tend pick mostly the "high contrast borders" with a bit of abstract knowledge of how the form of the thing is thrown in. And this works okay if you have say the contrast of a leg against a bright background, but much less for things like facial features. And it is not merely distortions due to a specific photo, i.e. that depending on the light and angle your best guess for lines may not emphasize the really prominent features, but put stress on the wrong parts. It's that any reduction of photos to lines with a face makes it a caricature, even if you don't add intentional "distortions," simply because having just one line where there used to be color gradients introduces emphasis, and likeness decreases if you put that emphasis "wrong", i.e. not on the recognizable, outstanding features.

In theory this is not much of a problem, after all the goal all along is to draw the character, not to trace photos, and you just have to adjust your degree of caricature to compensate for the reduction of rendering, that is to figure out which facial features of said person deviate from the average proportion, the mean of facial features in a way, and exaggerate. I've read that even computers can do this with algorithms based on photos and make caricatures of people.

The problem I'm having is that so many actors are pretty people. See, I'm not that good with faces. It's one thing to spot how someone differs from "average" if they have huge ears (think all the Prince Charles caricatures), or a big nose, or a very distinct skull shape, but humans tend to find regular, even features more attractive, so tv characters are hard to figure out. It's not that there are no differences, obviously I recognize these people when I see them (well for the most part anyway, like I said, I'm not that good at memorizing faces), but I have no idea which features are the ones standing out most to me on a conscious level with faces like that.

I think it would be really cool if one of those caricature algorithms was made into a webtoy somewhere, and I could just give it a photo and it would warp the features to point out how it differs from the average face. Then, even though my style doesn't need outright caricature, I could use those hints for more subtle exaggeration suited for my purposes.

I guess I just wish some technology could help make up for my lack of talent/practice in character portrayal/caricature. *sigh*

Oct. 8th, 2007

holiday exchanges...

With all the posts about [info]yuletide and some fans pimping the newly created [info]yuletart (a fanart holiday exchange for all fandoms except HP), I've been thinking about signing up for the latter, but then I read the rules for the sign-up, which ask you for offering to draw in at least ten fandoms, if I understand the sign-up correctly.

The form is a bit oddly phrased, it asks for "At least 5 fandoms you would like to get art of:", "At least 5 fandoms you want to get art of the most:" and then "Any other fandoms you would be willing to give art of:", which is unfortunate, since first, it assumes that I'm able to offer in all fandom which I'd like to receive, which has to be bad for matching too, because I'd be more than happy to get art in a dozen fairly popular live-action fandoms which I don't draw in, and second I have to come up with ten fandoms I can draw in, which is a high number. I mean, I think yuletide only asks for a minimum offer of three fandoms for people to write in, even if most people seem to offer more. At least that high number makes sense for better chances to match people, with the fandom choice being wide open like this, so I can understand it.

But I don't think I can reasonably offer that many. While I do have many fandoms, I don't draw in live-action fandoms, so those are all out. That leaves only my comic and book fandoms, and okay, the main universes of Marvel and DC comics I can do, and to fill this out a bit more I could maybe count Sandman as separate fandom, then there's Dresden Files, and maybe LOTR, though I never tried drawing that before. And I've drawn Muppets already at least once so I guess I could do that, though I'm not that familiar with all of the canon or the movies and such, but still that's only six. I don't do a manga-influenced style so that leaves out Avatar, too. Maybe Watership Down? I mean, I've never actually read the book, just watched the movie, though I've always wanted to, but I think I could read it and manage rabbits. Perhaps Temeraire, otoh I suspect I'd suck at drawing the dragons, and worse, period costumes and stuff would probably need a lot of research. I have no clue about that stuff and never even watched any of these Age of Sail movies, so offering that would probably lead to disappointing disasters as result.


December 2016




RSS Atom
Powered by InsaneJournal