sqbr: Well meaning white girls against racism over Tracy from Hairspray (racism)
Monday, June 3rd, 2013 03:05 pm
So! A few years ago I realised that not only did I pretty much only draw white people, but that I wasn't sure how to draw anything else. There is a long history of dark skinned people being made to look pale and POC being made to look white in order for them to be more palatable to pale white audiences. So there are ethical as well as artistic reasons to try not to screw this stuff up. I made a post poking at the problem, what have I learned since then?
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sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Friday, September 21st, 2012 08:32 am
So, Pictures for Sad Children is a webcomic full of wry, self aware melancholy about dysfunctional people. I get linked it a lot but have always found it hit and miss.

The creator recently put up a post on his Kickstarter saying that he had been pretending to be depressed this whole time because that's just what artists do. Cue many depressed fans who had really connected with his comics feeling betrayed, and many ableist fans rejoicing at a chance to go on about how depression isn't really a thing.

But it was apparently all a joke, which anyone who was friends with him or familiar with his other work would have recognised, so all that outrage was for nothing HAHA TUMBLR. (The other, much more understandable "ARGH TUMBLR" reaction is to all the people who have been told that it's a joke but are still acting like it was meant literally, and the inevitable death treats etc. ARGH TUMBLR)

This attitude really pisses me off. I'm all in favour of satire and sarcasm (see: the title of this post, the previous paragraph), and not all humour has to be accessible to everyone. But if you tell a joke where it would be really bad if people took you literally, and most people DO take you literally, then you told the joke badly and you are responsible for the consequences.

Sure, there's only so much you can do about overly literal minded people, and it I think it's justifiable to cause SOME pain with art/humour, or we'd never get to use them at all. But having patchy reading comprehension or "not being a true fan" doesn't somehow make a person unworthy of compassion. Afaict most PFSC readers thought this was real, and a great many were deeply hurt. This could have been avoided if he made the satire more obvious, and I can't see any real advantage to being so opaque except...making the joke funnier for the people who get it? Being more effective on the tiny sliver of bigots who got the joke? Woo.

And even if we decide that everyone who doesn't get the joke is a humourless moron unworthy of respect, think of all the bigots who took it as support for hating on depressed people. Not actually being on their side doesn't magically make the pro-bigotry effect go away.

This is not someone's private blog that got taken out of context. It was a public and actively promoted kickstarter aimed at people who read PFSC, and it clearly failed at being clear to it's intended audience.

Since this apparently does need to be said: I'm not saying we should all go chasing after John Campbell with pitchforks, and the people who are harassing him need to step down. I do think he's a bit of a pretentious douche, but to be honest I kind of thought that anyway. Mainly I'm defending the people who are fans of PFSC and felt hurt from having their feelings dismissed.
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Thursday, July 12th, 2012 08:25 pm
So, over on my art blog I've started a meme to draw 30 Monster Girls.

Both to keep it interesting and for Great Justice I like the idea of moving beyond the fairly narrow box of typical depictions of "monster girls" (or female monsters, which aren't quite the same but are close enough for my purposes) you usually see eg as on fuckyeahmonstergirls. Thinking about what that box really is has been instructive, and I'd love to get some suggestions for things you guys would like to see (can't guarantee I'll draw them, but more inspiration is always good!)
Read more... )
EDIT: Managed seven! I plan to do more later. Anyway, some things from the comments and elsewhere:
Femaleness is personified by cuteness as well as sexiness.
The definition of monster and the way it's used really does tie into disability a lot.
Markers of biological femaleness for monsters and non-humans can differ dramatically from ours (a mane-less lion for example)
the seam of skin and scales is a trans woman talking about "a feminism of the monstrous".
sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Thursday, May 12th, 2011 09:53 am
So, the politics of fanworks panel at Swancon got me thinking. I left a comment on cupidsbow's post on the subject with some further thoughts, and one of the things I noticed while writing that comment is that despite most of my fanworks being fanart I was having real trouble thinking of transformative fanart with an overt political message that weren't race/gender/etc swaps. (Not that's anything wrong with such swaps, but surely there had to be more variety I was missing)
And then I thought about it some moreā€¦ )
sqbr: Are you coming to bed? I can't, this is important. Why? Someone is wrong on the internet. (duty calls)
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 05:10 pm
I've been pondering an emotionally detached objective essay on this topic for a while but now I'm annoyed so you get a rant.

So. I use references for my art. Sometimes this is a bit legally/ethically hinky, first by the simple fact of being fanart (which most of my art is) and second when I use copyrighted works without the owner's permission. This bothers me sometimes and while I try and acknowledge all my major references as well as as much as possible only using creative commons/public domain etc images I can understand the argument that I am a Bad Person or a Criminal for, say, making a parody photomanip using commercial photos without permission.

But. This post isn't about those ethical/legal dilemmas (and I don't want people arguing about them in the comments. Make your own post and link it if you must)

This is about the accusation that it makes me a bad artist. Not just that it shows my lack of talent (no argument from me on that) or that I have no taste (a subjective judgement) but that it makes my creations not real art.
Read more... )
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sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Thursday, July 1st, 2010 01:15 pm
The problem:

I make fanworks (fic, art, and comics) which (since they're about people) touch on issues like race, class, gender, sexuality, disability etc. There is always the danger with these works that I've inadvertently made something Very Hurtful that I won't notice until someone points it out to me. If I just chuck stuff online based on my own judgement it could do a whole lot of harm before someone points out the Fail, and then I have to figure out how to fix it. (If your response to this is that I shouldn't worry about it, this post is not aimed at you but, for example, Racefail: same shit, different day is. I do not feel like arguing with you)

One common solution offered for this problem is being beta-ed, but this doesn't work for me. (Research and mindfulness etc do a most of the time, and thus I do them, but they're not entirely reliable by themselves)
Possible solutions )
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Sunday, February 21st, 2010 09:26 am
So, the universe (via it's earthly representative [community profile] linkspam) has kindly decided to give me a real world example of the hypothetical derailing conversation I came up with.

(And yes, I know, it doesn't fit the pattern EXACTLY. It's still pretty close to have happened within less than two weeks)

First: I just read this Bones fic "Someone loses an eye" description of Amanda Palmer's new album and it's really ableist.
And then inevitably All these posts about disability are making me feel silenced. Don't they realise how that hurts my feelings as a woman female artist? Our voices NEVER get to be heard, and now these oversensitive disabled people are telling ME what I can and cannot write! Helen Keller would be ashamed.(*)
which of course leads to
I think it's really important that we focus on the way women's voices artists are silenced.

Something I did not have an equivalent of in my post but which is an important part of the dynamic: a slightly separate but equally valid discussion of the issues to do with the project involving sexual abuse. EDIT: In my opinion a perfect example of how sometimes two different discussions around a topic can exist simultaneously without either of them being a derail.

*waits for someone to accuse me of being pro censorship*

(*)That's just in one section, the overall post goes in multiple contrary directions at once.
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Sunday, January 17th, 2010 09:49 am
So something I wonder about sometimes is the ethics behind giving references for the reference images used to make art, and how much use one can (legally or ethically) make of an image that is copyrighted rather than creative commons or public domain.

Apparently the FBI don't worry about this so much.
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 08:29 am
Since I've been doing my fanart prompts for a while, here's some somewhat undirected thinky thoughts.

I've encountered a lot of talk about writing The Other, trying to be inclusive and respectful when writing characters who are outside the "default" of white straight able-bodied male etc. I've pondered this with regards to my own (small amount of) writing, but about a year ago had the sudden realisation that it applied to my art too: When I tried drawing the original SGA team for a prompt I realised that my drawing style really didn't suit dark skin. And when I looked back at my art I realised I'd never drawn anyone very dark, and instead had lots and lots of skinny able-bodied youngish white people, both in my original characters and my fanart. Even the comics I drew about I and [personal profile] cameronm have us much skinnier than we really are.

So I've been trying to fix it. I made my mental default skin tone for original characters darker, and made an effort to draw more dark skinned characters in fanart. When I'd been doing that for a while I decided to branch out and asked for Fanart prompts: not skinny youngish white people.

And it's been a really interesting experience. I guess the two different aspects are the apolitical practical issues around drawing a different skin tone or body type etc, and the deeper issues relating to how we see such bodies and who we choose to draw.
Read more... )
sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Monday, November 30th, 2009 07:57 am
EDIT: I seem to have expressed this really badly. I'm not against ALL satire involving stuff like racism. I'm not even against all satire which offends (some) people from marginalised groups. I'm against a very particular brand of "satire", as described below. See the comments for further clarification.

A lot of the time I'll find something angry-makingly Xist etc and when I complain people say "But it's satire". And I'll admit, sometimes I really am being obtuse, but a lot of the time I think this is crap, because it hurts the people it's supposedly helping and is amusing to those it's supposedly challenging. I've been trying to articulate this for ages, there's probably holes in my argument.

I'm going to talk about racism since this seems to be where it comes up the most and I want to cut down on my "etc"s, but it comes up with disability, sexuality etc all the time too.

So. An action is racist or not based on it's effect, not your intention.

If your satire:
-makes POC feel attacked
-makes very racist white people think you agree with them
-makes less racist white people laugh at the more racist white people and thus feel good about themselves

How is it in any way anti-racist? Or even racism neutral? (since not all art needs to have a positive social effect) How is it less racist in effect than a deliberately racist action intended to make POC feel attacked and agree with very racist white people?
Read more... )
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Friday, November 6th, 2009 03:54 pm
For anyone not subscribed to [syndicated profile] alias_sqbr_feed:

House: Young Foreman

SGA: Ronon in a suit

Main updates at my lj, but I'll post the odd roundup here when I've done a bunch.
sqbr: A happy dragon on a pile of books (bookdragon)
Friday, August 28th, 2009 10:32 am
Yes, even more on this topic! I think I'm running out of subjects I feel like venting about though :) I'm using "artist" in a broad sense which covers writers etc.

I don't think there's such a thing as a Real Artist, not in the sense which is in opposition to Wannabe Artists. I think that if you want to be an artist and you put your heart into creating Art then you are an artist, and that's it. Now not everyone is a good artist (though obviously judging the line is very subjective) and certainly not everyone is a professional artist. But that's about all you can say.

The Ideal Artist spends their whole life wanting to be an Artist, and goes to Art School(*), and the moment they can they quit their day job to Create Art all day, and that Art is brilliant, and they make all their living expenses off it.

But a HUGE proportion of people that noone questions the Real Artist Status of don't fit that description. There are people at every space on the continuum between Ideal Artist and Not An Artist At All. This is particularly evident if you hang out in places where there's no common explicit marker of success like being published. Where do you draw the line for Real Artist for webcomics?(**) Or fanfic?
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sqbr: A cartoon cat saying Ham! (ham!)
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 11:05 am
I wrote this while I was pondering the thoughts that eventually turned into More thoughts about Art and responsibility and then forgot about it.

So. Have there been any examples of a piece of art (in the broad sense, including books etc) which in it's day was controversial and seen as shocking/borderline illegal etc but also lauded as groundbreaking and shining a light on Important Ideas, but is now generally considered to be just bad taste/immoral for the same/similar reasons it was controversial? (Something which was, say, controversial for it's nudity but is now denigrated for it's racism doesn't count)

The best I can think of is Tom Jones, which I remember thinking when I read it years ago was far too much in favour of free sex for men given the consequences at the time for women (who it doesn't care about, unless they're sweet natured virgins)

(Currently going through my "Draft posts" folder, which goes back to 2007. Started with 84 posts, am now up to mid 2008 and down to 42 posts)
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Sunday, May 24th, 2009 12:52 pm
As the child of two art school dropouts(*) this is a topic which both fascinates and irritates me. I wrote a bit about it in More thoughts about Art and responsibility.

Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] ithiliana collects some recent discussion in writing, ART, responsibilities, powers, contexts which capture a lot of my annoyance. (She also has a lot of interesting things to say for herself, but they're less relevant to my rant)

I guess I see "challenging" yourself and other people, and art, as two separate things. Not orthogonal, but not all art challenges and not all challenges are art(**). I also get Really Annoyed at people who claim that the quality of a piece of art is directly proportional to the strength of the response it creates, since then they rely on cheap easy gimmicks to get strong responses (Religion+violence+children+excrement, say)

And if the point of your art is to be challenging: what are you challenging? Does it actually need challenging, or are you again taking cheap potshots? See, for example, all the "edgy" comics who poke at political correctness but not at the genuinely unquestioned aspects of their society, since audiences would much rather laugh at the oppressed than themselves.

Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with taking the easy way, but if you do you can't get all high-and-mighty about how Important and Unique your work is.

(*)Who, afaict, feel much the same way I do. And between them they do actually have all the courses for two fine art majors, but being True Stereotypical Arty Types they just never got it together enough to graduate :)
(**)And any artist who justifies their art by saying it's challenging, then freaks out if anyone challenges them about the assumptions and subtext of their work is a hypocrite. EDIT: I mean freaking out at the idea of being challenged, obviously you can object to any given challenge if you think it's wrong.
sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Monday, May 4th, 2009 09:02 am
So, a couple of days ago I made a genderswapped Ronon off Stargate, inspired by [livejournal.com profile] swirlygate. Today I did a genderswapped Teyla. You might note I haven't coloured it or anything: this is because, having finished it, I feel rather conflicted and weird about it. (I inked it without fiddling with the costume etc despite the obvious flaws for similar reasons. I realise he looks like a girl :/)
Read more... )
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Saturday, April 18th, 2009 09:27 am
Yesterday, watching Xena I was inspired to draw this picture of two princesses. Yeah, totally self indulgent, live with it :)

I was also inspired to make this attempt to capture the weird visual distortions I was getting at a work party yesterday morning, normally it would lead to a migraine but for some reason it didn't. (Huzzah!) Picture by QuintanaRoo via Flickr, and as per her CC rules it is open to remixing/reuse with attribution itself.

I should point out that the work function spread was not anywhere near so healthy or vegan :)
sqbr: Alien city skyline (atlantis)
Friday, March 20th, 2009 08:25 am
Mafdet, Slayer of serpents, a silly little Stargate comic I made. Whether it's movie canon or SG1 canon depends on how you squint, both are somewhat contradicted by the vague attempt at historical accuracy so it's all a bit of a mish-mash :)

Somewhat inspired by [livejournal.com profile] velithya's story Momentary Paws about Tony Stark turning into a kitten :D

It really does feel like my likelyhood of being inspired to write about something is inversely proportional to how much I know about it. On the plus side, I'm pretty sure that after a afternoon or so of googling I know more about ancient and modern Egypt than your average Stargate writer...

I may get it beta-ed at some point (I certainly intend on waiting a bit then going back and fixing the dialogue and spelling etc), but right now I can't be bothered. I've decided I just need to write more rather than worrying too much about making everything perfect, if nothing else it's very cathartic getting down my personal canon/things I feel canon lacked (like giving the ancient Egyptians any agency..)
sqbr: I lay on the couch, suffering an out of spoons error (spoons)
Sunday, March 1st, 2009 08:27 pm
An artist posting to cfids_me (with a quite effective painting of fatigue) led me to Pain Exhibit, artists with chronic pain expressing their experiences. Chronic pain isn't my main symptom but it's definitely there, and since I know a lot of you have chronic health issues I thought you might also appreciate it.

I'm not suprised there isn't a "FatigueExhibit.com", being too sleepy to do anything kind of makes you, well, too sleepy to do anything, including painting your feelings.
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sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Thursday, February 26th, 2009 11:53 am
I totally bent the rules for reasons of creative license :) Via [livejournal.com profile] shrydar.

the rules )



What are odds I'd get an actual band name? (well, record label) I didn't cheat and look at any of their actual album covers before making mine.
sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Friday, February 13th, 2009 09:52 am
Martha Jones has a day out (original) and edited version after people's suggestions (and a better reference pic).

This picture satisfies two of my recent artistic resolutions: first, the last lot of fanart really drove home to me the fact that my art and shading style really only suits drawing pale skinned people with pale hair and pale clothing, which is kind of limiting, so I need to practice more people with dark skin/clothing/hair(*).
Second, since I've gotten into this whole fanart/fanfic thing I should have fun illustrating my personal canon.

And something that bugged me about season 3 of Dr Who is that Martha never got to dress up! Rose and Donna did. And I bet Freema Agyeman would look great in a pretty period dress. EDIT: And indeed she does (from "Little Dorrit", which I haven't seen)

Unfortunately, I didn't entirely succeed on either front: my shading and art didn't quite meet the challenge, and the dress didn't come out as pretty as I would have liked. But there's no progress without practice!

(*)You'd think I'd have enough practice from drawing myself, hair wise, but I can never be bothered doing shading on my journal comics so its not so much of an issue.