So here’s the actual mail I got and my response to the mail:
Yes, I am yet another fan. You have been a big inspiration to me and were one of the people who helped me decided on what I wanted to do in life.Mom was crazy and it probably wasn’t for the best, but at a young age she handed me your JTHM comic and it changed me, and perhaps not in the greatest ways, but hey, I turned out alright, didn’t I?
I want to be a concept artist. I’d like to work on story boards for animations. Hell, even comic book artist would be kinda neat. There is always tattoo artists, but I don’t really care for needles…
Any who. My question for you is how the hell did you get noticed? I try so hard for people to like my original work but it seems all they want is fan art or something that isn’t mine.
It kind of makes me disappointed. Is it me? Am I not that original? Am I not good enough? I’ve been drawing comics since I was so little (because of Stan Lee and JTHM) hoping that someone would see that I can do great things with my art. People tell me I am talented, and I do have faith I am. But here I am trying to please everyone else just so they may glance at my original work and actually like me for me.
But how do I put myself out there? How did you?Well, whether or not I get a reply, I suppose I will just keep trying my best.
And here’s what I told them in response!
That’s just the thing, people really DO love the recognizable and the familiar, they fall in love with characters that become part of their LIVES, really. We all have them, and we all admire those things in varying degrees, but I personally can’t stand existing solely to cut and paste them over and over with maybe just a slightly personal spin.
Look at my old sketchbooks from elementary school to high school and you’ll find a couple of Ninja Turtles, maybe some Giger Aliens, a smattering of video game inspired stuff (lots of R-Type), but mostly just my own crap. Inspiration is fucking great, and it never stops, but I don’t relate to wanting to just wade around in someone else’s work and churning out just echoes of that work. I see some incredible fanart ALL THE TIME, and it makes me wonder what else the artist has, hopefully leading to me finding their original work, so that’s how that works a lot of the time. Saw some amazing Ninja Turtle art, of all things, and it was fucking fantastic, and it got a lot of attention and now a lot more eyes are on that guy’s work. If even a handful of those numbers consist of potential fans who want to see more than just familiar, nostalgic shit, than great! If that handful finds nothing original and instead just more referential stuff and gets bored to the point of seeking someone else who is doing something interesting and new, then maybe I like that handful a little better because that’s more like what I want out of an audience!
Hell, isn’t that what you want out of people in general??
It goes without saying, as you already know, that doing fanart or work that is an homage to something iconic is going to get you noticed a million times more than doing something people have never seen before. I get it myself all the time when I post something that ISN’T ZIM or JTHM related. It’s just the way things are, but that’s no reason to get discouraged away from putting your original work out there.
Me, I’ve never seen your original vs homage work, so I have no idea if you’re just a horrible artist or what, and maybe that’s why you don’t get noticed. Maybe you’re AMAZING, but your fanart is more amazing because of that, and your original stuff, in comparison, is amazing, but without the added benefit of being familiar AND amazing. I dunno! Either way, do whatever the hell makes you happy and maybe you’ll strike up some fine line between doing what makes you happy and having that just happen to be what people want to see from you.
GOOD LUCK, and I know it sounds stupid, but have fun, even if it makes other people sad.
Got an email from an aspiring artist who was asking for advice on how to get noticed , how to get attention for work that ISN’T essentially fanart. I guess the experience on their end is that when they do original pieces, the response is hardly a spark of what they get when they do something referential that people already know.
I figured I’d respond here since it would help more than just one person.
You can NOT get noticed now unless you draw referential stuff. Sorry, artist. The universe no longer allows for you to exist without climbing up onto a tower of tired references, eating as much of it as you can, gorging on the festering corpses of what came before or what’s popular now and then shitting it back out at the audience you hope to capture, hoping enough of them have their mouths open to ingest what’s been ingested ad infinitum into their “art-appreciation centers”.
That’s what you gotta do. Just get started already. You’re wasting your time if you’re not already drawing Legend of Zelda fan art (try cute female versions of Link!), or some Star Wars thing. My Little Pony is big right now, so stop trying to do anything new and do some Pony art already!
You might think I’m being sarcastic, but that’s only because you can’t see me wearing my Super Mario t-shirt while I’m drawing Sonic the Hedgehog wearing a Darth Vader helmet.
Good luck, and remember…NINJA TURTLES.