Monday, August 6, 2007

My Art is Better Than Yours

My Art is Better Than Yours

I have heard this so many times that I felt that something needs to be said about it. I'm a little rusty at writing essays, but felt maybe the need to unburden myself was too great to pass this topic up. Recently someone claiming to be an 18-year-old or so was quite rude to me and mistakenly jumped to many conclusions about my fan art. In doing so they proved themselves to not be the seasoned artist they think they are (they claimed drawn pictures were screen capped and one can always tell a CAP from drawn pictures).

In my tightly controlled fury I mentioned that I was 29 (at the time) and a professional illustrator. While I like to draw poses that come from actual scenes and shows for fan art, I have no need to copy and paste like some of the younger folks do. I even offered samples of my work but they were blind to everything and would not even look. After they discovered their mistake (as of course they did) they apologized, and I was thrilled to let the matter drop.

That was when they typed what sparked me to write this: "and don't 29 year old pro me please, Im an 18yr old pro artist with my own god darn company, age isnt any matter in this" (sic). They went on to (just as politely) tell me that they've seen 15-year olds that draw better than both of us, and that basically I should shut up.

It got me thinking.

Okay. got me thinking after I stopped capering with malicious glee. See, the user actually had broken a very large rule on the site where this had occurred and she got reported for it. Funny enough, she was advertising she would draw the game characters she didn't own for real money on the site. Nice big company one works for when they have to do that on a gaming site that doesn't allow it, eh?

After I stopped pondering how the person was small-minded and probably jealous, I realized there was something in their simple statement. Not 'thoughts from a Troll', but ideas on how 'better' is defined. I can draw many different styles and use different media to create pieces - I'm not locked into one mode all the time. I draw on DeviantART for fun and camaraderie: I don't have any of my actual pieces, book illustrations or commissioned works here. I tend to like drawing anthros styled after my favorite shows, and I tend to draw certain ways here only. Many folks would be shocked to see some of my realistic pieces, but this is not the place I've deemed appropriate to display them.

But who is to say a piece of Snoopy art is better than a picture drawn of Roronoa Zoro (did it surprise you that I used him as reference?) just because one is an Anime Cartoon and the other a Western Syndicated Cartoon?

Or is one better because the one is a painting and the other computer-rendered? Does a computer-drawn image cheapen the feel of the art? Does lack of shading or coloring? Because let me tell you I've seen gorgeous unshaded, black and white pieces.

Some folks believe so. And yet it can achieve the same feeling as a painting and if the artist desires it to, even mimic it. Also, is the Snoopy painting 'worse' for any reason because Snoopy is a 'simply drawn' character? Who in their right mind would say this? Snoopy is one of the greatest Comic Strip creations of all time, and I doubt anyone would disagree on that. Is Snoopy lesser because he is drawn differently than the Zoro of "One Piece" fame? Just because the swordsman has a slightly more difficult composition?

Here's my suggestion.

Everyone has different styles. Say it with me: styles. Let it roll off the tongue. Pretend you have an AAA Meeting: Addicted Artist's Anonymous or something and are repeating something for your health benefit. In a way, you are.


It's all about different styles and the way people draw. If I saw a Rembrandt and an anime portrait side-by-side, maybe I'd choose the anime portrait as being the 'best drawn', since I love anime. It's personal preferences and taste, not 'Well, obviously Rembrandt was better'. One can compare the Masters of various mediums, but who is to say what's 'best'?

Some folks would look at me oddly if I were to say I believe Hieronymus Bosch was the most fabulous painter and he 'pwns' all other painters. Bosch was internationally celebrated as an eccentric painter of religious visions who dealt in particular with the torments of hell. I believe his depictions were marvelous and creative, but are there not some who would argue this point about their favorite painter?

I have a friend that likes minimalistic art. They'd be willing to stand by their opinion that a small swatch of blue on a white canvas is 'better' than Bosch's finely detailed work.

It's a matter of taste and style. I wish I could have explained that to the person who was chasing after me before, but I doubt they would have listened or believed. Obviously a picture with twisted anatomy and/or bad shading or coloring isn't as well done as one that has these factors straight but who is to say one type is better than another? If one can't draw exactly-true-to-life portraits but they capture all the important features and feeling of the person, who's to say the photo-realistic person is 'better'?

They're different. We're all different.

And for this one who has much to learn, let me simply add this: with age comes something different than anything you can imagine. Wisdom, as I'm sure you've heard before. Patience, as I have been while dealing with you. Skills (because if I have been practicing longer I've picked up secrets and tricks of the trade you did not). And above all, have a lot of fun when you are my age and someone younger does the same to you. It will happen. And you'll end up thinking, more than likely, the same thing I wondered about here.

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