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Dahling



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 49
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:32 pm Reply with quote
Wow, first comment? That's a new one for me.

Anyways, this was a good discussion, especially from an 'outsider' perspective. In other words, I have no artistic talent so it was interesting to listen to this discussion, like peeking into someone else's world.
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ranbrown



Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:09 pm Reply with quote
A little history before I respond:

I generally use this website for work--I'm a web administrator at a Canadian store that exclusively sells anime and manga. ANN is useful because it gives me up-to-date info that lets me keep up with our customers.

On the side, I draw. I used to do webcomics, and was an administrator at one of the biggest free webcomic hosts online, until I recently resigned for lack of time to contribute. I have spoken at anime conventions on comic panels alongside Lar DeSouza (Least I Could Do, Looking For Group). I have been to and worked in many convention AAs over the years.

I am 24 years old and married. I still make time for my hobbies.

----------------------------------

I've noticed over the years that AA at many prominent and local conventions becomes more and more like the Dealer's Room. It feels less cozy, more unfriendly and people like me, who sell based on internet noteriety (one of the comics I used to work on was yaoi, and had an extremely large following before I had to call it quits) because they would rather draw original characters have, less and less of a place.

With people buying four or more whole tables just so they can run a clothes-line across them so they can showcase their mass-produced prints, AAs are becoming less diverse and less interesting. For every one person who decides that they absolutely must have 4 tables, another five people who would have been thankful for a half-table, but didn't even make the waiting list, get to sit out, and probably not for the first time.

The realization that the people who just need those four tables are con-hoppers--Artists who spend their entire year either at or in between conventions selling art, means that they know the ropes and are twice as likely to get in to AAs over first-timers. This is especially upsetting because, for these artists, this is one of many events they'll be attending/selling at this year. For a lot of locals, this is a once-a-year occurance and they definitely get the short end of the stick.

Last year the AA for the clostest convention to my location (4 hours away and still warranting hotel and travel time/money) was out of spaces in less than a minute. Tables opened up at 8pm sharp and I sent my application at 8:01 because we were informed that if we sent it in even a minute early, it would be disregarded. I did not even make the waiting list. I still attended the convention fr fun, and was quite discontent to see that AA seemed smaller than ever. More than three quarters of it were single artists with more than one table each, and I couldn't help but feel a bit disenchanted at the whole event. Something that seemed to perfectly promote the little guy--the hobbyist, is very rapidly becoming taken over by something far more commercial.

What would I like to change? Well, since I'm tired of seeing the same old thing, I'd love to see AA directors put their foot down and limit people to a half table each. I suppose I'd also like to see original art encouraged over fanart, but that's doubtful, too. Sigh, c'est la vie for now, I guess.

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abynormal



Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 427
Location: Louisiana
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:18 pm Reply with quote
They were right about doujinshi. It is technically illegal, but the companies see it as free publicity and the artists are good about regulating themselves. The only case I can think of when a doujinshi circle was sued was when someone made an "End of Doraemon" doujinshi. It sold so many copies that Toei had no choice but to sue them. It simply couldn't be ignored.

I personally enjoy fanart and draw it myself, but only when the artist adds their own flair or something new to the original material. Fanart can be a good teaching tool, but eventually I'd like to have the confidence to draw more original material. And I'm always careful to give credit where it's due.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 9321
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:25 pm Reply with quote
I myself own many doujinshi, and you just treat it like any other piece of merchandise. Whether it's illegal or not, who gives a shit, it's never going away simply because otaku love seeing their favorite characters getting raped by faceless men. If they ever did try to close down the doujinshi market, it would have an immediate negative affect on the companies.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:32 pm Reply with quote
I once read somewhere (probably these forums) that animation studios sell the all rights to their intellectual property to the companies who produce merchandise, hence those who make the anime itself don't profit from any individual items sold thereafter.
If this is true, which it may very well not be, then to buy a piece of custom fanart would not be going against my desire to support those involved in crafting the anime.
A ripple effect back to the studios would probably somehow exist if the art was being copied from official sources however, as Casey seemed to be implying.
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domino



Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 373
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:38 pm Reply with quote
I've met a lot of people who think it's unethical to sell fanart at conventions, but I think that line of thinking is just silly. Fanart and doujinshi aren't about making money; they're about being a part of the fandom and having fun (and maybe at least covering the price of your table and lunch while you're at it) -- trying to make a living off of it will get you nowhere.

A lot of people think they're doing the original creators some huge favor by not selling fanart of their characters, but 99.99% of the time said original creators don't give a crap. In fact, a lot of famous names in anime and manga started off selling doujinshi themselves (Youka Nitta drew and sold a ton of Slam Dunk stuff and even the artist of innocent shoujo like Hana-Kimi is guilty of drawing and selling Detective Conan porn). People who feel any guilt for that kind of stuff are taking things way too seriously. Just go draw and have fun with it unless you're faced with the rare case that the creator asks you to stop (as is the case with doujinshi based on kids stuff trying to preserve a certain image, like Doraemon or Kingdom Hearts).
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KannaLilly



Joined: 21 Oct 2008
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:48 pm Reply with quote
This is really interesting for me because I'm a writer for a dojinshi that really hasn't quite made it out of the gate yet (AKA, I'm a procrastinator and my artist is more interested in guys then art) so now I'm getting just a little paranoid Shocked
Now I know I shouldn't really be because I'm working with an origional story line, origional charaters... etc. But I'm thinking of doing some little Death Note yaoi and Naruto and Ouran twincest things just because I'm poor and can barely pay for the table.

So yeah, very interesting!
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irishninja



Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 344
Location: Seattle-ish
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:00 pm Reply with quote
Zin5ki wrote:
I once read somewhere (probably these forums) that animation studios sell the all rights to their intellectual property to the companies who produce merchandise, hence those who make the anime itself don't profit from any individual items sold thereafter.


Yup. It's called licensing. Depending on the IP, licensing costs can be very large or very small. The owner of the IP grants a license to another company to produce some product that the second company is already good at making. The licenses can expire and be taken away by the IP owner if the second company does something the owner doesn't like.

Aside from the money issues, the other major difference between a licensed product and a fan-created product is control. The owner of the IP still has control over how his IP is portrayed in a licensed product and, as I mentioned above, he can pull his license if a product goes against how he wants his IP to be presented. Licensing companies therefore have a vested interest in playing it safe with other peoples' IPs, since they don't want to lose their licenses or have their merchandise pulled.

Zin5ki wrote:
If this is true, which it may very well not be, then to buy a piece of custom fanart would not be going against my desire to support those involved in crafting the anime.


I'm not sure I follow your logic. Buying a piece of custom fanart doesn't help the original IP holder and doesn't support those involved in crafting the anime, unless the artist actually pays royalties on the art he sells (which I doubt anyone does).

Zin5ki wrote:
A ripple effect back to the studios would probably somehow exist if the art was being copied from official sources however, as Casey seemed to be implying.


*shrug* Really, the numbers are (usually) so small that it probably doesn't affect the companies one way or another.
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Shadowrun20XX



Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 1913
Location: Vegas
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:23 pm Reply with quote
Casey wrote:
Do you think that it is actually possible to make a living off fan art?
I would say it depends on how good that piece or pieces,is.Depending on if you draw the honest stuff,or the ecchi stuff.I'm sure someone makes a living squarely on it,but that would be admitting to piracy.(Heh) I hope someone chimes in.

On doujinshi:In the circles I used to know,regular art is usually passed by,if there is a ecchi piece available.Stupid,huh.Even though I was taught to appreciate art,no matter how hard I try to resist,I am still a hardcore artwork and animation otaku.

Honest or ecchi? I look for the ecchi.

If Cloe were to make an ecchi illustration of Nina or Jadress,I would have to buy it. Very Happy Have to? Yes.But,I would certainly offer to buy 4x as much from robin,where available.Probably out of guilt. Laughing Fanart is weird like that.

I would never buy a trace,or a scan though,that's just ignorance on the buyers part.Making them,and their collection look quite the fool.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 6680
Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:48 pm Reply with quote
irishninja wrote:
I'm not sure I follow your logic. Buying a piece of custom fanart doesn't help the original IP holder and doesn't support those involved in crafting the anime, unless the artist actually pays royalties on the art he sells (which I doubt anyone does).

Granted. Whilst it may not aid the producers to any degree however, if the art is made to a unique design it does them no harm either (unless it gains a notoriety such as that of the Pokémon doujin mentioned). One assumes that purchasing a piece of original fanart doesn't entirely fulfil a fan's desire for merchandise.
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minakichan





PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:24 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
See, I generally agree with that, but I think the way that some of the fan artists are doing Artist Alley as a full time job, going to all the conventions, and they are mass producing posters and merchandise of other creators' work.


Erm, well... I'm a con-selling fan artist; I make prints and I draw the "popular series" sometimes (although I do have to say that my art of somewhat more niche series actually sells BETTER because most people I talk to are kind of sick of Naruto and Bleach), and I have to say that I really can't imagine ANYONE really making a living off of this. I'm not the best or most popular out there, but I'm certainly not terrible by any means, and, well.

I made $450 revenue at my last con. I honestly don't know how that compares to most AA folks (my first con I made about 1/4 that); to an outsider, that might sound wonderful, but think about it. Subtracting membership and table costs of about $50 each and printing costs of $100, that's about $250 profit for sitting at a table for what, 3 days x 10 hours = 30 hours + about 10 hours of work for each of 15ish pieces I had created since the previous con = 180 hours. I'm making a little more than ONE DOLLAR per hour-- and I'm not even getting a hotel room or paying for airfare. There is NO WAY I could be doing this for money. I do the Artist Alley because otherwise I have way too much free time at the con, because I love talking to people passing by (the fanart of rather obscure series is a GREAT way to find the 3 fans at the entire con who like the same anime I do, so I can fansqueal with them, and I can proselytize my favorite series at everyone else who passes by and thinks it looks interesting), and I love love love it when people enjoy my work!

Is it illegal? Heck yes. Is it unethical? I don't think so (particularly considering how many OTHER REAL mangaka in Japan started out selling their own doujinshi of other people's series-- Yun Kouga, Yukiru Sugisaki, Hisaya Nakajo, etc). But is it profitable? Definitely not, and that is OK with me.
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reanimator





PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:44 pm Reply with quote
As long as fan artists don't make abnormally huge sum of money from drawing existing characters, I'm fine with it. It's just amateur artists having fun.
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cetriya



Joined: 20 Sep 2008
Posts: 156
Location: NJ
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:21 pm Reply with quote
you know, I believe that only the people that are scared sell 'only' fan art, or those who's main purpose is to make a profit.

to this day, I find it strange that this one girl had a massive display and 'products' on those pro displays (like those things that jewelry hangs on and spins or book racks.. only its used with stickers and buttons in ABC order by series then characters) and I just looked at her table. I thought, 'well guess thats all that she does' then I buy a sticker and she also hands me a paper book mark and tells me its her original web comic...


I think to my self... 'why doesn't she has anything related to her work on her table?'

I just say, If you're going to spend the amount of work and time (and dealing with some rude people/staff/table mates) then why not do it with the work you're most proud of?

Anyways, I sell mostly original work (dont think I'll make fan art this year since there is nothing new that I like and I only make limited work), I probably make just a little less then break even (some times I do make a profit) but I'm happy about it. Some people come by and ask what series my work is from (I just pretend that Im doing fan art of my own work and recommend them to go check it out online). This only makes me want to work harder and improve as an artist.

My biggest grip about mass produced fan art is the stop of artistic growth. you can say its a coincidence but, I've been drawing for about 6-7 years so when i find some one who have been drawing for 10+ years and are not better then me, I feel sad and upset. Especially :
Quote:

how you drew a picture of Naruto five years ago and you're still printing 200 copies and selling them everywhere,


because its like you've become satisfied with your (usually fake, because most of them would not stay if you stopped doing fan art) popularity and making money with no more effort.

With the exception of metrocon, it seems that the cons in orlando try to keep the AA as a hobby alley so they limit to .5-1 table per person and I've seen a nice amount of variety and art.
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Zerreth



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 188
Location: E6
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:49 pm Reply with quote
that same person who booked 14 tables at otacon "surprisingly" booked another 2-3 tables and clothes lined the same exact artwork again.

I pretended not to know to they were and asked them if they did any "newer" stuff acting as if I saw them occasionally. They said no.


At NYAF, it wasn't the AA I was expecting. While I do understand that one needs to make a profit, I kinda feel as if some of these "artists" are just tracing, and therefore lacking a sense of individuality in their art. The only reason it looks different is because they got the proportions wrong and traced poorly.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think selling fan art is bad. I recently bought an artbook by Noizi Ito which had half shakugan no shana, half fan art and I found it interesting because she put her own spin on the characters.

Fan art works when one has a defined art style. What needs to really happen is that a more defined image of what is fan art and what is traced (hard, I know).


Managing my friend's table, I told him to purposefully draw generic otaku fanart to attract people and then display the artbooks that had none of the above. In some ways, I feel that's necessary, and in other ways it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

People shouldn't have to draw in crowds by drawing fanart, but then again we don't really have hordes looking for artists with original work either.

"Yawee" seems to explain everything.
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Akukame



Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 117
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:58 pm Reply with quote
My biggest gripe with AAs lately is all the felt hats and plushies. I mean, those aren't even really fan art and yet they're selling like hotcakes.

Honestly, I don't think that you could make a living off of the weekend alone. It seems like if anything, you could only use it as promotion for another endeavor. Promoting your website or whatever else you're doing seems more profitable than actually rolling out prints and getting things done that way.

With that said, I do still see a lot of fun people in the artist alley. Honestly commissions aren't expensive, and talking to the people that are doing the commissions is almost as much of a treat as the final product. I'm reminded of a group of friends of mine. And every year we go to AWA and every year they get a large number of commissions of their FFXI characters cosplayed as characters from other anime from the same artist. And every year they throw ideas at eachother and end up talking to the guy for hours and you can tell by the end of it that both them and the artist are really into and really inspired by whatever the end product is. And you can tell that he loves what he does. And I think that is really what the artist alley is should be about.
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