Before I go on with this journal I want to say that it has nothing to do with individuals. Well, it does, but individuals as a whole that I have dealt with for years since becoming part of the fanart scene. I am not singling anybody out, I am not calling anyone out. I do think that if you see any similarities between the bad behaviors I point out in this journal and any you as a the reader might catch yourself doing, maybe you need to rethink things.
So. Let's start from the beginning yes?
You like Character A from Series A. They have an interesting design, an interesting personality, their story interests you! You are an artist. You want to draw Character A. What is this called?FANART
Notice the fan part of FANART
. Wait, but Koofins, what do you mean we need to take notice of that?
Because you, as a fan, are not an official artist for the game/movie/tv show/book series/web series. You are not an official writer for the franchise. You do not own Characters A-Z, you do not own Series A-Z. No matter how popular a person is, no matter how many people like their art, no matter how many people favorite/comment etc:Unless the artist themselves say 'this is official art from Series ____,' the art that they put up is not official art of the game/movie/tv show/web series, what-have-you.There is no other way around this. Your fanart is not official art for a franchise, UNLESS you have been paid by the producers of that franchise.
Is this a bad thing? NO! Absolutely not! Fanart is awesome! Most of my gallery is fanart!! And I love producing it. I'm able to produce better original content due to the fact that I honed my artistic skills because of my adventures with fanart. Hell some of my original characters came from being fancharacters that evolved into their own original story!
But this is something very important to remember in this journal entry. Your fanart is NOT official art for a franchise
. It is fictional content for a fictional franchise. That means in NO WAY does your story for these characters influence the true canon of the story. Yes, you can borrow FROM the canon and write it into your story; that's what fanart/fanfiction is all about! But that doesn't mean that you, as a fanartist, effect the canon status of any given series.
But Koofins! What does this have to do with shipping??
I'm glad you asked.
So, you like Character A, right? Ooh, but Character B is pretty interesting too! And you like to see them both so much! So, you ship them. That means you have put them into a romantic or platonic relationship together in your fanart. Which is totally fine! It really is! Some of the best pairings I've seen comes from people doing exactly what I just wrote down: I like this character, I like that character, putting them together makes me happy. Totally fine! Absolutely fine!
But what isn't fine is when someone who ships Character A and B together gets angry when they see people drawing other ships of Characters A or B.
Why is that though, Koofins?
Because your ship is not canon
It is fanart. The relationship was created fictitiously by a fan. It is a relationship drawn or written down by a fan, therefor, it is fanart. Meaning: it is not canon, and has no effect on the series' canon status.
Koofins we know this. We're rational, thinking people! I mean how else could we be posting on this website?
Well...there's where some of you might be wrong in assuming that.
Since I joined this site back in '06, I have been drawing fanart. I have certain characters I like seeing together in a romantic or a platonic way. I.E.: as girlfriend/boyfriend (or girl/girl, boy/boy, gender/gender what have you) or friends. And since the young age of 16, I have had multiple people feel it should be necessary to tell me any differing versions of the following:
"I don't like this pairing because I don't think they should be together because of _____."
"You're a bad person for pairing these two together because of ______."
"That's so unoriginal because your character is an OC and you should feel bad because of _____."
"I don't like this because these characters would never be friends because of _____."
"This artist ships that character with ____, so I don't like this picture."
But Koofins...why would they tell you those things? They're being kind of hurtful!
You're right. They are being hurtful. But truth be told? I don't care. It's their choice to be hurtful. People can like or not like something all they want. But what I do care about is when I see people taking this to another level.
Over the years I have heard of and seen friends splitting up because of pairings. I have heard of and witnessed artists getting attacked by a group of people because of pairings. I have heard of and seen people leaving dA and the artist scene altogether because people get so mad that someone would draw Character A with Character C, and NOT Character A with Character B.
As artists, we need to explore. We need to experiment. We need to do different things than the artist sitting next to us so that we can develop our own style, our own skills, and become a different artist than the ones we might look up to.
And attacking artists, stating your displeasure with their art, telling them you don't like their pieces just because of the pairing in the picture? Just because the pairing in the picture MIGHT conflict with your own? It shows a lot of disrespect and childishness, and frankly, in the past I have blocked people for doing this to me.
And do you know WHY?Because my ship is not canon. And neither is yours.
Wow. WOW WHAT A CONCEPT!
I apologize if I sound sarcastic or mean or anything like that, but I feel like as someone that a lot of young artists look up to, I have to say this to you guys.
I don't care who you draw with who. I don't care about the gender status of a pairing. What I want for each of you is to draw, freely, and not feel threatened by other people's pairings. Don't feel like you have to be jealous when another artist draws this character with that character. I have NEVER, in my entire LIFE felt threatened or jealous over another artist's pairing. Because in the grand scheme of things, it DOESN'T. MATTER.
No fanartist's pairing or ship, whether it be platonic, romantic, what have you, is canon. UNLESS they state in the comments, 'I am an official artist of Series A-Z, and this is official artwork of these two characters, these two characters are canonically together' or any variation thereof. I do not say that to be mean, or to bash on other people's ships.If you like two characters together, draw them together! Have fun with it, because that's how it should be. But do not assume that because YOU like pairingA more than you like someone else's pairingB, that YOUR ship should be canon or liked more by others.
I don't care if people don't like my pairing. I won't acknowledge people if they say something about not liking it. Because I choose not to. I just do not care so much, that I'm not even going to acknowledge whether someone doesn't like my pairing. Because it's not canon. And in the grand scheme of things, someone not liking my content doesn't bother me at the end of the day. What people think on the internet about who I draw with who, does not MATTER. But what DOES matter is that I'm encouraging to my fellow artists. If I think a pairing is cute? I will encourage them by saying I like the art and the pairing! And truth be told, I don't NOT like any pairings I've ever seen. Sure I might prefer one pairing over another, but really. REALLY it does not matter. What I ultimately want for artists is for them to have fun with their craft! Just like I do.
And realistically, that's what most of the big-name artists out there want, too. They don't want to challenge the fan made ships by artists who don't have as many viewers, watcher or favorites. That doesn't matter to them. They are drawing fanart. They are drawing art for a franchise they are a fan of, and unless they outright say 'I am drawing this to piss off anyone who doesn't like characterA with characterB,' they are NOT drawing the art to upset anyone.
Bottom line here is this. Unless you are working as an officially hired and paid artist for a franchise
(meaning a game/movie/tv show/web series/book), you CANNOT say that your fictitiously created pairing
(meaning your pairing created BY YOU or a friend, etc) is absolutely canon to the franchise.
Hell even official artists for some franchises draw fan pairings, but they can't outright say 'this is canon' unless in the series it is actually canon.
I'm just getting tired of seeing young artists get discouraged by others who feel it necessary to attack them because they draw a certain set of characters in a relationship, romantic or otherwise. I feel like if you have ever done this to someone, you need to read this journal and have a serious talk with yourself. You are getting way too invested in these characters, you are getting way too defensive about something entirely not real, and it's toxic for you. In the end if will only hurt you emotionally, and you are the one hurting yourself and burning bridges.
To wrap this up I want to write this big bold Q&A to recap and hopefully cement everything:Q: Koofins, does this mean you don't want us to draw our pairings because we aren't paid by the owners/producers of a franchise?A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Draw your fan-pairings!!! Draw your fanart!!! Draw what makes you happy! DO what makes you happy! But I think you should be held accountable if you drop negativity onto other artist who draw things YOU might not ever draw. I do not think it is appropriate behavior to act this way. That being said, you should still draw what you want to draw, without the risk of people getting mad at you about it; shouldn't you extend that same courtesy and respect to other artists?Q: Koofins, does this mean your pairings are no longer existent????A: No. My fan-pairings are very much still a thing. And the thing is, some of them aren't JUST mine. Some of them involve characters owned by other artists, so it would be ending pairings created by friends. But the thing is, it's all just for fun. I'm just having fun with this. And I do not tolerate negativity about it. A person can leave their negativity, I can't stop them, but I will block them and I will make sure not to respond to their negative comments.Q: Does that mean my fan-pairing isn't canon for my fanfiction?A: Again, absolutely not. There's a difference between being canon to a fanfiction (fanon) and canon to a franchise (just canon). My pairings in my fanfictions are still very much fanon (fan+canon), but I do not get paid by any official company, so I cannot tell people 'this is canon to the franchise because I like it.' Keep it fanon all you like! But unless you are being paid by the company who own the copyright to a franchise, you cannot say or claim that PairingA-Z is canon to the franchise.Q: Koofins what should I do if people are leaving negativity/nastiness in my comments/sending me notes about a pairing that they don't like that I've drawn?A: Ignore them. Block them. It's the easiest and simplest way to do things. Respond to the positivity they might leave. EX: I dont' like this about the art, but I do like the piece itself. Proper response: Thank you, I appreciate that you enjoy the artwork! Or don't! You don't HAVE to. But I can tell you right now, it is not worth getting engaged in an argument with these people. I've never done it myself over pairings, because I don't hate anyone's pairings AT ALL, but I can tell you that most of the time people that pick fights with you over their pairings are never going to back down and they will most likely not stop throwing negativity at your way so long as you feed them negativity.Q: Koofins, I don't like this pairing. What should I do?A: Walk away. Leave it be. People can do what they want. The internet is a place that people can do A LOT of things, and they are allowed to do them. Just because you don't like ThingA because you prefer ThingB doesn't mean that you should dump negativity on them. If you like the way it's done? Tell them that, if you feel comfortable with it! But if it makes you upset, uncomfortable, etc., you need to leave it alone, and not come back to it unless you somehow find yourself comfortable with it. Don't start something for the sake of upsetting someone. Even if you're nice any other time, you're being a terrible person whenever you tell someone something upsetting because you don't like ThingA.Literally when you tell someone you don't like ThingA because you don't like ThingB, it's like this:I like sushi, but a friend of mine does not. My friend will not attack me and call me names and tell me that I suck or my taste in food sucks because I like one thing. You are literally telling someone that they are a bad person because they like one thing over another, which makes you in turn a bad person.Q: Koofins, Popular ArtistA likes PairingB, and I hate PairingB! My PairingA will never get popular enough to get noticed!!A: That's okay to feel that way, for the moment. It really is. It might seem like you're not getting anywhere because you're not as popular as ArtistA, but trust me, there are people out there who notice your work! I've been on this site since 2006, and I have watchers who have stuck around and consistently seen and commented about my artwork since that time! I'm not a popular artist. I really am not, and I have no desire to be! But whenever I do see a popular artist posting about PairingA which might not be the same as one of my fanpairings, I don't get upset. I don't think 'wow my pairing will never get noticed.' Because it will. You will always be able to find artists with similar interests on this website. So don't get discouraged! Just do what makes you happy and be a good person!And bear in mind, just because ArtistA is super popular, does NOT mean that their fanart is canon. This does NOT make their PairingA canon. Unless a person is paid by a franchise copyright owner, THEY ARE NOT PRODUCING CANON WORK. (And neither are you.)Q: Koofins, someone paid me to draw PairingA. I do not like PairingA. I don't feel like drawing this, even after I've been paid.A: As a professional, when someone sends you a payment, and agrees to your Terms of Service (the conditions under which you produce content for a paying customer), you are signing a contract. You are contractually obligated to produce what a customer pays you for. You cannot give them something they didn't ask for, unless you ask them if they will change the subject matter. So suck it up. Don't be a child about it. If you are getting paid for your product, you have to be professional about it. This isn't an emotional situation; you are using your skills to produce something for a customer to have. Whenever I make someone a sandwich, just because I don't like what's in the bread, doesn't mean I don't give someone something else. If someone pays me for something, I give them what they pay for. If I give them something they don't pay for, I give them a refund. If you try to give someone something they don't want, then you refund them if you have already taken their money. They have the right to have that money back.HOWEVER: If you have NOT received payment, you can refuse to draw something for someone. After you receive payment, if you back out of drawing something for a client, either you figure out something else to compensate their loss (give them something equal or more valuable than what they paid for), or you refund them in full. And if they don't receive that compensation, they reserve the right to report you, and make sure that other artists know you cannot see past your preference for PairingA and are being unprofessional.
I think that's about it for this journal. Thanks for reading, and I want everyone to know I'm not trying to start drama, I'm just saying something that I feel needs to be said in all the fandoms I am a part of!