but this mess of a mashup is what got me back on tumblr

thatgrumpywolf  asked:

I hope this isn't a stupid question, but how did you get your art noticed? I just started to post my art on here and I was just wondering.

Ah, that’s a bit of a complicated answer, actually. (But not a stupid question!)

(Note: This kind of applies mostly to those who fanart, so yeh.)

Let me start by saying that:

 # Of Notes Does Not = Self Worth. 

Because it’s really, really important to remember that you exist and have value as a person outside of the attention of others, especially on this website. That being said, there’s absolutly nothing wrong with wanting appreciation. Everyone deserves appreciation. 

So, let me tell you a little bit about my Tumblr art journey. Way back in 2013 when I first joined, I posted my first art on here and got 5 notes. [ x ] (And my first ‘fanart’ got 5 more notes.) At the time, I had only joined Tumblr so I could talk to my favorite fanfic author at the time, and I hadn’t really settled into the whole Tumblr of it all. I wasn’t really in a fandom, I wasn’t expecting anything, I didn’t know the 5 tag rule, or the ‘no-no’s of Tumblr. What i’ve learned over time, however, is that you’re going to have to be actively paying attention to a lot of different aspects of Tumblr, fandoms, pop culture, current events, memes, movies, etc etc etc. So #1 is going to be:

PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU: 

A lot about posting art on here and aiming for recognition is riding the ‘wave’, so to speak. See a fresh new meme you can throw at your favorite ship? Do it, make them wear pants one way or the other, here come that boy. (Does Derek Hale wear them like a dog, or a person?) New preview for a movie/show that catches your attention? Doodle a scene from it. Did an actor sneeze popcorn out their nose? Draw Batman doing that. Why not? 

The second part of this, though, is knowing what and when to contribute. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to make light of a current event, or reference/draw a problematic celebrity, or support a certain film. So looking into these things first is probably a good idea, because there are people out there who won’t care that you didn’t know that so-and-so did something horrible, they’re here to tear you down and hurt you regardless. (I’m sorry, but this is 100% true, there’s no sugar coating it. Some people are just assholes.) So, while you’re keeping an eye out for something funny or a fun mashup of fandoms, always try to be aware of the less-fun issues that are around too. 

And, if you mess up / did not know / accidently phrase or draw something problematic / etc, IT’S OKAY.  You are not a horrible person. You made a mistake, that does not make you evil, okay? Apologize, remove or fix the thing, and don’t do it again. But please don’t beat yourself up about it, or listen to anyone else beating you up over it. It happened, you’re now aware of the thing, and it won’t happen again. 

Anyway, #2 is: 

THE WILD WORLD OF FANDOMS AND SHIPS : 

I’m going to start off this one with a tiny warning. Watch out for fandom drama. Look out for the people starting fights just to fight, look out for the people pushing their ideas on others with no regard to anyone else at all, look out for the people using your content as a soap box from which they spout their opinions from. I’m not saying everyone in the world of fandoms does these things, but good god there are a lot of them out there who are more than willing to start something if you so much as sneeze in their general direction.

So, if and when you post content/art/etc in, say, your favorite trope, and someone hops onto your post and starts caps-locking about how this trope promotes ‘something they don’t personally like but is not actually a major problematic thing’ and how y’all gonna burn in hell for this art, try to avoid engaging with them. Because they’re honestly not here for a discussion, otherwise they would have probably sent you a private message, sans the caps lock, and requested an opportunity to talk about this. Also, this is a matter of personal likes and dislikes, for which you are not responsible for. 

You do not have to cater to every single person on Tumblr. 

You also don’t have to love every ship, every character, every idea, every story line, every moment of every film, TV, book, magazine, interview, anything. No one has  to broadcast their hate for these things either. If it’s not hurting you or others, you probably don’t need to create content with the express purpose of attacking a different ship/etc. ( If it is hurting others, try the more diplomatic way first, and report their asses to Staff.)

Which leads me to #3: 

CATER TO THE MASSES (But also, like, love yourself) :

I’m not saying sell your soul. (Seriously, please don’t, the Art Institute isn’t worth it.) But a lot, I mean a LOT of what I do is to feed my fans and friends.  (Also, commissions are basically getting paid to feed your friends and fans whatever art goodies they want to pay for, so there’s that too)   A good sum of my time is spent drawing things I have literally no interest in, or have very little knowledge about, or am up to drawing but aren’t 100% invested in. But I still do the thing, because I respect other’s likes, and it appeals to people i’m drawing it for, and I’m always happy to make others happy. (And sometimes I actually grow to like a thing.)

So, draw some stuff that other people would like to see. Are peeps out there begging for an assassin AU? (You bet your hiney they are! I’ve doodled some myself, hoo-boy.) Do some assassiny things. Are people always sighing about the lack of decent back story about so and so? Doodle a little moment from the past. Friend says they just want some Mpreg? (APOCATITS) Feed them, feed them the art. 

But–huge BUT here–do not sacrifice your values and comfort. 

If something bothers you, is out of your comfort zone, is something you have trouble drawing and just don’t want to tackle right now, DO NOT DO THE THING! 

Second but–another huge BUT here–Make art for yourself. 

To quote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: 

Guildenstern: “Is that what people want?” 
The Player: “It’s what we do.” 

Create for yourself. Give water and sunlight to that little seedling of an idea in your mind, try and try again to create that moment or look or design. Ignore art requests like a boss, and draw something to feed your own needs. Because you deserve to be pampered and treated to art of your favorite thing just as much. :D This is leading into #4, which is: 

CREATE UNTIL YOU DIE  DRAW UNTIL YOU STOP AT A DECENT AND HEALTHY POINT IN TIME: 

Please do the thing. Please draw to your heart’s content. Please push yourself, expand, experiment, practice, take breaks, draw some more, and some more, and some more. Please don’t give in to self-doubts, frustration, envy, or art blocks. It’s okay to let things go for a while, to step back, to stop working on a drawing that’s just not working. But do not give up forever. I’m saying this for you, personally, but also for the goal that you’ve set before you. To achieve a certain level of appreciation, to get noticed, to be seen, you have to keep creating content. 

So, to sum it up: 

Be kind to yourself and others, pay attention to what’s hip and happening, forgive your mistakes, avoid drama if you can, Feed the Fans, Do as the cat and do what you want, and keep up the good work. 

It’s More Than Just A Remix Cover.

As most of you have probably heard, Marvel Comics is “paying tribute” to classic Hip-Hop with a set of 50 new variant covers blending Marvel Comics characters with Hip-Hop inspiration making comic covers that “riff” on albums that have been released over the last 30 years or so.

The thing about it all is that nothing about this tribute that EIC Alex Alonso of Marvel Comics is trying to push out there is new at all. If anything, this newest campaign from Marvel Comics is more of a shark-biting campaign attempting to use and cash in on the popularity of Hip-Hop and Black culture while at the same time excluding most, if not all of the people of Hip-Hop culture and those that contribute to it.

Years ago, artists and creators such as Julian Lytle, Sean Causley, Ron Wimberly, Michael Axt, Jared K Fletcher, JC Etheredge and others were part of the Longboxes on 22’s Tumblr (created by Sean & Julian), where they merged their love of Hip-Hop and comic book culture to make amazing album covers. My involvement with the site was in creating track-lists for the album covers and surreal “Source-style” reviews for said albums. Over 50,000 followers. Massive visibility. Take a look at it: http://longboxeson22s.tumblr.com/page/20

Also, artist Kenny Keil had been making fantastic mashup covers for the longest time as well. He’s also did artistic work for Big Boi and 2Chainz. Take a look here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/47140275@N05/sets/72157623207329307 and here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/47140275@N05/sets/72157628350347643

These creators spoke to an audience that felt alienated by most of the geek crowd when they went to comic cons or comic book stores because of their love for Hip-Hop and the culture. It helped others relate and bridge a gap with others between Hip-Hop & comic books. It brought folks together. There was a love in the creation of these covers.

And all the covers these artists created MADE SENSE. There was a rhyme, reason, and purpose behind every piece of art and cover.

All of these talents of various ethnicities, which have had their work seen to and from across an internet of millions over these last five years were simply shark bit with Marvel’s latest cash grab.

I’m sure there’s other artists out there that got bit too, but I can only go from what I know of and have record of. These folks did hot covers for YEARS before anyone at Marvel gave one damn about cashing in on this.

It upsets me heavily. Especially since not one of these talents were even involved in Marvel’s latest endeavor. It feels as if Marvel, Axel Alonso and whatever editor wished to push this forward saw all these works over the years, waited for things to cool down a bit and jacked the concept without a care.

And as the press releases continue to flow amongst the geek sites regarding these Hip-Hop covers Marvel is doing, you’ll read of people praising Marvel for their continued “Columbus-ing” of a culture that they don’t really mess with.

Let me correct myself, they mess with the “culture” but they stay away from most, if not all of the people who are a part of said culture that build this creative cool stuff. Marvel takes what they need, and then they jet.

Speaking of culture, remember that Marvel Comics is the same publisher that has damn near 50 new comic book series on the way and not ONE BLACK WRITER on the current roster. They have Black characters and Black team books, but no Black writers. Again, they love the culture and push diversity strictly on the page and next to never behind the scenes.

So the shark-biting that is currently being done here is not surprising. I guess Marvel Comics is doing these Hip-Hop variant covers to back up all that street cred they’ve been building for years while hiring a multitude of Black writers, artists and people of color… <side-eye> <sarcasm>

And yes, I do sincerely understand that Hip-Hop is mainstream now. But the comic book business on the regular loves Black culture but rarely involves Black people and people of color in it. They just bite the creative works of the cultures and sell it to white audiences.

This is much deeper than just remixing a comic book cover.

When you look at the first wave of Marvel hip-hop joints, outside of the A$AP cover, from an art direction stance, nothing else really makes sense. If anything, most of those covers that Marvel is putting out mocks hip-hop in some cases rather than embracing it. And that’s no offense to the artists that created their covers. If an editor told you to do it, I get it. If that’s what you felt, cool.

But they don’t reach a true potential.

This stuff isn’t made in a vacuum. And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened before w/Marvel: http://longboxeson22s.tumblr.com/post/108268088667/so-about-9-months-or-so-trill-believers-my-friend

And then to top it off, there are 50 covers and only three Black artists have been allowed to play in Marvel’s sandbox for this project (Sanford Greene, Khary Randolph, and Brian Stelfreze).

THREE.

Respect to the few Black artists that are working at Marvel right now. We see you. I know there’s not many (because there’s not), but we love y'all.

After October passes, these Marvel hip-hop variant covers will disappear and it’ll be on to the next thing for them. After they’re done with those 50 covers, Mr. Alonso will just look at the culture, wave & say “Bye, Phylicia” then move on to the next thing without a care.

But I won’t forget this.

And neither should you.

But will the fans care? I don’t know. For most, as long as they get their stuff it doesn’t matter to them.

Equality and true diversity in comics doesn’t matter to them as long as they get their stuff.

So don’t ask me about the next Marvel movie, comic, cartoon, synergy-filled whatever because I don’t ride with Marvel when they shark-bite my friends.

And remember, Black people and People of Color, here’s what Marvel (or one of the most influential people at Marvel Comics) thinks about YOU: http://brevoortformspring.tumblr.com/post/124153395043/can-you-explain-why-marvel-thinks-that-doing-hip

I’m done.

*Side note #1: It appears that since I wrote this piece, Marvel Editor Tom Breevort replied to the masses with a response that sounded like it came from the mouths of press release firms and lawyers. It rings empty and hollow: http://brevoortformspring.tumblr.com/post/124165794638/how-do-you-not-see-the-connection-between

*Side note #2: Since the release of my post, plus the tumblr posts of David Brothers, artist Kenny Keil and many other media side regarding Marvels 1-way relationship w/our culture, Marvel Comics EIC is saying that the cover artist list of 50 Hip-Hop variant covers is not complete and on his twitter feed displayed a Keron Grant Wolverine cover based off of DMX’s “Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood” followed with “12 down, 40+ to go in coming weeks.” 

https://twitter.com/axelalonsomarv/status/621431873026326528

Still doesn’t make up for the next to non-existent hiring of Black writers, artists, editors and other positions at Marvel Comics over the years. 

This ain’t progress.