Introducing my two original characters, Gwen and Doy. They’re both mercorns (unicorn and mermaid). Even though they’re siblings, they have different personalities: Gwen the sullen sister and Doy, the happy-go-lucky younger brother.
It’s not just the art industry that falls into the trap of the ‘Herd Mentality’, it’s basically what plagues Mankind. We are more sheep than shepherd. Fear has a strong hold in our lives whether we deny it or not. People are afraid to explore because of the fear of the unknown or perceived failures. Yes, some of you may argue that it has been tried and tested, which is why we remain in the comfort zone. But only by going against the social norms and comfort zones do breakthroughs happen. Often, common issues get dismissed and overlooked.
In the art industry, we have what we call the ‘Popular Vote’. This may seem normal but in its essence, it is encouraging the herd mentality. Say for example, would you vote for something that you like (e.g. a favourite character) over something that is better in art execution and originality? To expand on this, let’s say both are your favourite characters. One looks more realistic but is copied from a reference and has sloppy colours. The other is not as realistic but is created from scratch with nice colours. Most people tend to go for the more realistic one. This is a classic trap of ‘Style Over Substance’.This is why ‘hot air’ continues to exist and fool many. The ‘eye candy’ without any substance.
Many artists face this dilemma of drawing something original over copying a popular reference in order to get recognition by the hoi polloi, the majority with no artistic background. I may or may not be broaching a taboo subject but this is a brutal industry. Even people with artistic background can fall into the trap of voting their favourite. However, it’s not unusual to see a disagreement between the art critics and the general masses.
So how do we resolve this? Observe and learn, resist the ancestors of Man’s instincts of fight or flight. It may be useful in the past but not in this case. In this day and age, thinking things through are often more rewarding.