hi! this is actually something i should do…. haha! i still need to do book 2 characters…!! i’ll try to urge myself to make them!
Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen art for a StreetPass Plaza character. =)
haha, i think it’s because the two free games aren’t very character based. i think flowertown and monster manor are the ones that are most likely to gain fanart.
When I first decided to become an artist, I dedicated my time to studying facial anatomy. This includes the face, skin, and hair. I read all the books I could find, found all the online tutorials I could scourge, and asked a couple of more experienced artists if they had any advice. Slowly, my skills on drawing improved but it wasn’t until recently did I learn that I was only drawing white people. To study drawing noses, the tutorials advised using pyramid shapes attached to the front of the face in order to get the illusion of 3-dimentional perspective. For eyes, I learned to use globes sunken into the skull to learn where to put the eyelids. For hair, the focus was on how it fell around the skull and where the hairline starts, and it was almost always slightly-wavy straight, lightweight hair starting high above the eyebrows (leaving almost all the forehead exposed). Lips were usually described as ‘luscious’ but were thin in comparison to my own. When I decided to start coloring, skin color tutorials talked of using beige, blue, and red in various darker-lighter shades to achieve a realistic skin tone.
I didn’t even notice how white features were the ‘default art subject’ until I started doing realistic self-portraits and discovered that I had no idea how to draw myself. My eyelids did not wrap themselves around my eyeballs. My hairline was not high enough to expose the middle of my forehead. My lips were almost twice as large as I knew how to measure. When I used a pyramid as a sketch for my nose, I ended up with a pointy nose with a prominent bridge. My skin color was not beige, blue, or red. My skin color was yellow, purple, and green.
For those of you who don’t know, realism drawing is different from simply ‘drawing’. Realistic drawings true-to-life require the artist to enter a sort of meditative state where they aren’t thinking of the subject. To make a drawing that’s true to life, an artist must draw what they see and not what they think they see.
Realism drawing is about putting down what’s in front of you and not what you think it looks like. I could do this with white subjects, but not myself. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t draw what I saw and instead drew simplified Asian characteristics that I picked up from cartoons in the past. Despite being Asian, seeing a non-white face bothered me so much I couldn’t just draw what I saw. My mind was conditioned to treat white facial features as the ‘true’ art subject and I couldn’t enter that ‘realism art mode’ when confronted with a face that breaks the rules I taught myself by.
Today, I can draw a wide array of Asian features realistically, but this took at least a year of re-evaluating what I was taught. Or rather, what I taught myself. I wasn’t taught how to draw facial features by anti-POC gang members. I looked for help the same way anyone would. Google, DeviantArt, ConceptArt, library books, Youtube, Livejournal, Tumblr, 4Chan, etc. I spent more than four years practicing without being aware that something was very wrong.
At this very moment, thousands of artists are learning the same things I learned. They’re teaching themselves how to draw white features, and that’s perfectly fine, but they’re also learning that white facial features are the default. These artists will grow up and get jobs making movies, comics, storybooks, magazines, video games or TV shows. And there’s a good chance that many of them (mostly the white artists) won’t notice anything’s wrong until someone points it out for them. Of course, being taught that white is the default won’t be explicitly stated, but it’ll affect them all the same.
Tutorials on how to draw white people are not called ‘tutorials on how to draw white people’. They’re called ‘tutorials’. When I studied the tutorial as they instructed how to draw an eye, I did not think of it as a ‘white person’s eye’. As far as I was concerned, this was an eye, the eye. This was how to draw an eye that looked correct, that looked professional. I was both right and wrong; it certainly was a way to draw an eye, but it wasn’t the only way and it was most certainly not the default way. I was unknowingly being racist, and it took a year to learn how to not exercise racist ideals in my drawings of people.
Even today, including people of color into art can be a difficult decision. If I post online a drawing of Light Yagami from the Japanese manga Death Note with a monolid, one comment out of three would be complaining about how ‘ugly’ I made Light. If I draw Korra from Legend of Korra with a jelly-roll nose, people who are used to thin, pointy noses will be agitated. ‘Realistic’ paintings of Studio Ghibli’s characters (the company that made Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Kiki’s Delivery Service) almost always utilize ‘white’ features. I have not ventured very far into the realm of drawing non-Asian POC, but I believe I’ve got good reason to assume that the reactions might be similar.
Someone who doesn’t have constant reminders of what it’s like to be non-white will not get the same kick-start that I did. When they look into the mirror, their face will match up with what is ‘normal’. The bitter truth is that if an Asian girl can fall victim to the silent power of racism, then so can anyone else. It was hard for me to admit that I was contributing to a racist culture, so I’m going to assume that it’ll be even harder for white artists to do the same thing. But what if people didn’t make that conscious effort? What if ten years from now, white is such the default that seeing a non-white face makes us subconsciously blank out? What if every non-white kid in America continues to grow up being constantly aware of their facial features? What if whenever an artist makes an effort to include a non-white face, they get berated and discouraged?
Racism is everyone’s problem. POC can help a racist society in similar ways that white people do. The biggest difference is that white people get benefits and POC simply don’t get harassed. It must be hard to hear what it means to be a white person in a white-supremacy racist society. To be grouped together, and be racially profiled, that’s something everyone in America can relate to. But in case you haven’t noticed, anti-racism activists are trying to fix this. But we can’t do that with white people crying foul whenever the true nature of racism rears its ugly head.
AAAHHHH I LOVE IT!! IT’S SO CUTE i hope you continue to make more - that’s adorable!
yeah, of course! thanks for asking, haha!! good luck with your own!
haha, you think so? i think everyone loves lap-sitting kawoshin! thank youuu!!!
you don’t want to be alone ♫♪
Water Tribe Garments (Book Two: Spirits, Chapter Three: Civil Wars, Part 1)