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05 April 2010 @ 03:02 am
Don't Worry, He Paid Good Money For This.  

Ya know, I've often been told that I don't draw like a girl. My first encounter with this is when I was fourteen when a woman, a friend's mother, picked up a drawing of a drooling, disgusting monster (I drew a lot of monsters back then, still do I guess), not knowing who had done it, upon finding out that I had drawn it she exclaimed, "A girl drew this? A GIRL drew this?!"

I wasn't offended by this at all, just a bit confused. How was art by a girl supposed to look? Or on the flip side what makes art "masculine"? Should art have a gender? I've had my art judged differently once the viewer found out it was created by a female, work they deemed sexist suddenly became ironic. Is it possible to separate the artist from their work? Bah, these are question I've been asking my whole life and I'm still no closer to an answer.

Has anybody else out there had a similar experience? Have any ladies out there surprised people with their artistic prowess? Any guys out there suffer from mistaken art-gender identity? I know my husband, Robin, has disappointed a few people when they discovered he wasn't a girl drawing extreme porn.
Thaily Brimstonethaily on April 5th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
We're supposed to draw ponies, rainbows and fairies. Guys are supposed to draw monsters, gore and naked women with big boobs.

I'm not sure if people have guessed my sex wrong by my drawings, although people have assumed all sorts of things about me by my opinions; I'm a gay if I say something pro-gay, black if I explain the concept of colour-blind racism to someone, a Muslim if I argue against mindless bashing of Muslims or people from the middle-east in general. And very often, having a strong opinion makes people assume I'm a dude. Sometimes, discovering I'm a woman will make people stop arguing with me. Not sure what that is about.

Art-wise I have had people be all surprised that I (as a woman) draw porn, then ask if I use myself for reference when doing so <:/
Claire Hummelshoomlah on April 5th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
How can you possibly draw porn without staring lasciviously at yourself nude in the mirror? I'm sure every dude artist ever takes off his shirt when he draws some blood-spattered barbarian.


Edited at 2010-04-05 05:03 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - r_dart on April 5th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thaily on April 5th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
demongoldfishdemongoldfish on April 5th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
i had never bothered to guess your gender but i had always assumed from the drawing you where female. i really have no idea why. maybe due to the strong female characters you often use or maybe no real reason at all other than my brain has to assign a gender to everything [again i don't know why]

it's interesting what you say about the same work by a guy being sexist whilst from a female it's ironic. it's a trend i have noticed over the last 10-15 years that the big breasted female characters drawn by predominantly males are considered old fashioned and sexists [which i tend to agree with] whilst some of the most latent and unapologetic adult comics are made by females and applauded for their empowerment. i wonder how they would be viewed if either a male gender or no gender had been assigned to the artist. and if the same comics/art would be considered 'perverted' coming from a guy then why? what difference does it make?
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
I agree with your last sentiment. It shouldn't make a difference, but I think the fact that it still does has to do with novelty.

It's really interesting that more women are creating porn in comics or other media. There's a been a very definite shift in feminism from the Andrea Dworkin all-sex-is-rape camp to the more Susie Bright we-need-to-embrace-our-sexuallity camp. Who doesn't like to embrace sexuality?
Darryl Ayo Brathwaitenervousystem on April 5th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
People used to assume I was female pretty frequently. I think drawing, like behavior, is pretty gendered. I was looking at a lot of female cartoonists at the time and those artists' aesthetics rubbed off on me.

People were definitely disappointed that I'm some dude.

Oh well.
Robin Bougiebougieman on April 5th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
Funny you should mention this, because more than once I've been in the middle of reading your work and thought to myself: "Ayo draws like a girl".

In fact, you defy expectations in more ways than that as well, because I don't think anyone would look at your work and say "This was drawn by a black guy".

I really wish more artists were such aesthetic chemeleons, the way you and Rebecca are.
(no subject) - nervousystem on April 5th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bougieman on April 5th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - r_dart on April 5th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nervousystem on April 5th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
hellomightydog on April 5th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it's important to seperate the artist from the work. You never walk into an art history class and hear the professor say, "Check out this painting! We're going to let it speak for itself and not discuss the artist, time period, region of origin at all." They always want to talk about the artist because, I think, it's relevant.

Take the creepy/art movement that's popular right now. The first two artists that I think of are dudes (Mark Ryden, Gary Basemen). Are they more popular because they're male? Did they appropriate their cute style by looking at female artists? Is that proposal a sexist statement? I think these questions are just as engaging as talking about the work itself. Some would argue that those questions are irrelevant, and there may be some validity to that claim as well. I don't know.

I don't let a gender distinction taint my appreciation for art. I like Tara McPherson's work a lot more than Ryden's or Basemen's even though she didn't spring to mind first. And a lot of the best work in my local art community is done by women (most of the best work, actually). I think/hope with my generation the days of gender-based discrimination in art will come to an end.
Robin Bougiebougieman on April 5th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
I disagree. Ideally, art of any kind (music, movies, comics) should be able to stand on its own merits. If you have to know the gender, race, or age of the artist in order to decide how you feel about it, you're probably doing it wrong.

Of course you want to dissect the creator in the context of an art history class -- because that is what that is all about. I'm a movie reviewer and as much information as possible is key to doing a good job at what I do. I always try to get the back story on the making of the movie and the people who created it, but at the same time you have to let the work speak for itself.

If the audience can't separate the art from the artist, they will make all kinds of assumptions (often false) about not only the work -- but about the creator. (i.e; 'This comic features racial stereotypes, therefore the person who drew it must be a racist')
(no subject) - r_dart on April 5th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
deathchalupa on April 5th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
this is something I've been thinking about. I've been looking at work by famous woman artists to see what feminine paintings are supposed to look like. And I look at em and be like oh yeah I see the girliness but I cant tell if I'm seeing it just because I know its a girl already :T
I think- maybe not so much in really seasoned artists- but I think there tends to be a difference in the kind of lines used in drawing? Like in looking at student work, girls often seem to build up lines with these scratchy, more curved lines. And guys do some other thing-- building up lines with straighter scratchy lines. Maybe I can dig up some examples iouno
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
Ha! That's an interesting observation. I also think there's a difference in other ways too. I worked as a location designer in animation for years. There are VERY few female location designers, probably less than 1%. However there are plenty of female character designers. I've read that men have more spacial orientated brains, while women tend to have more communication skills. A friend of mine said once, "I've never seen a woman draw a really teched-out spaceship." and I can't really think of one either.
AVIV spelled backwards is VIVA.aviv_really on April 5th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
I would love your work even if you were a snail!
Hmmm.. Actually..... I wonder how "snail art" would look like, since they don't have gender issues at all. They're almost entirely blind though, that's quite a setback.

Why am I jabbering about snails? I am so sorry.

I've found out that you're a girl at the same time I've found out about your work, so... I dunno. All I can say is - it didn't surprise me that you weren't a man. But.. had you been a man, it wouldn't have surprised me either! Maybe you have a "unisex style"...? Maybe I just really don't give a shit about this sort of thing? Who knows.
I would have been surprised had you been a 9 year old kid, though. That's too much for me to handle.
Darryl Ayo Brathwaitenervousystem on April 5th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
Not me. I am pretty racist against snails and mollusks. They slime into this country and take jobs away from decent, god-fearing bipeds and I tell you, I am flat out against it.

Stealing our jobs and our women with their flashy shells...IT AIN'T RIGHT, IT JUST AIN'T RIGHT.
(no subject) - aviv_really on April 5th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - r_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Oncological Horror: I C WHAT U DID THARtumorhead on April 5th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
Me and most of my artist friends who draw monsters and scary things are women.
*fist bump*
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Rock on!
A.D.Puchalskiiamdollface on April 5th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
My current boss says her husband is the one who flagged my portfolio as a possible employee and they both thought I was male based on the art. Many of my fans when I was producing more art were male (now everything I do is confidential until it hits print, I don't have much in the way of fans any more). I don't draw monsters. Some of my work is very cute. I have no idea why people think some artists are male/female based on the art alone. I'm pretty I amused by your story about your husband, though.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
It is interesting, but inescapable that people try to size up the artist by their work. I find myself doing it too.
(no subject) - iamdollface on April 5th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
adam-0ooadam_0oo on April 5th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
I assumed you were male, but only because as a white male I assume everybody is a white male until I know otherwise.

Also, this drawing is excellent. I love how outsize her hat is. I have to put "wearing my enemies head as a hat" on my list of things to do.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Careful though, enemy hats get stinky real quick. I hope you have a lot of enemies that are in fashion.
finkensteinfinkenstein on April 5th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
god dammit I love these barbarian women so much.

I have been mistaken for a dude many many times. Even though I have a reasonably feminine name I've had several people think I was a guy named Jess, I guess short for Jessie? Sometimes I think the confusion was because I draw porn. But other times people look at drawings I've done of myself and just don't SEE the tits! I guess they see short hair, goofy pose and they think:DUDE.
It's a weird thing. I can't say I haven't made assumptions like that myself though! I've never been disappointed one way or the other but I have felt silly to have assumed.

Every time I show Oglaf.com to someone they are baffled to find out that it's a woman who draws it.

AVIV spelled backwards is VIVA.aviv_really on April 5th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
I didn't know the comics on Oglaf.com are drawn by a woman. I'm a bit surprised, I have to admit. But only a bit.
(no subject) - iamdollface on April 5th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - r_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - flippinheck on April 20th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - flippinheck on April 20th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
jeselvisthekingjeselvistheking on April 5th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)

I think that some people's art fits a masculine (monsters, battle, generally-testosterone driven things) and some fits feminine (peaceful, meditations on beauty)...i know that sounds wavering.

It's cultural too, like a samurai drawing a picture of a foggy mountain. Mostly, I think the previous generation is still stuck on the male/female thing.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it's just the previous generation. Having worked in children's animation I learned that kids are sexist, primal little fuckers. Girls will watch boys entertainment, but boys will not watch girls entertainment. That's why J.K. Rowling had to go with "J.K." instead of "Joanne" because boys won't read a book written by a girl.
(no subject) - jeselvistheking on April 6th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
Tammy Leetammylee on April 5th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
I automatically assume any illustrator's works I see are done by a female until proven otherwise. But my background is Boy's Love comics so 99% of the illustrators/cartoonists I met were female and most of my flist is female.

I've been surprised a few times by ladies who produce art under male names and in a more masculine art style and vice versa but I just assume they feel more comfortable presenting as a different gender.

I find it isn't usually the style so much as the content that makes me lean towards a gender for the artist. There's a certain feel to the violence and porn that women create that is different from that of a man and I'm usually only surprised if the artist was purposely misrepresenting their gender to the public.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
That's a really interesting observation about the "feel" of art.

I don't know if I've ever come across an artist that has purposefully changed their artistic gender, but I guess you can do that with anything; race, age, location. It's especially easy on the internet. I could be an 89 year-old, albino, well-hung dwarf for all you know.
(no subject) - tammylee on April 5th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jkcarrierjkcarrier on April 5th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Not for my art, but I had someone assume that one of my comics must've been written by a woman, because the male character was so "wimpy". I took it as a compliment.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
There is a certain twinge of pride when you thwart someones expectations.
apple_opheliaapple_ophelia on April 5th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
My handwriting is always mistaken for somehow being masculine. I don't write or draw properly to begin with; I have a very weird way of holding pencils. My handwriting is very slanted, and the lines are long, compared to the handwriting of most girls my age, who use that sort of bubble script, you know? Short lines, rounded letters, and precision. Because I include my handwriting in my artwork a lot, people get confused sometimes and ask me who wrote it.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I remember girls in school trying to come-up with the most feminine script possible, like turning "O"s into hearts and the like.
pteropusvenom on April 5th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Firstly. this is brilliant c:

Secondly, even my own mum says I draw like a dude. I'm sure she means it neutrally, because she loves my work. A lot of on-line folks I chat with think I'm a bloke too, until they take a closer look at my art sites and see my name or a photo :x
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
My Mom used to say "That's cute," no matter what it was that I drew.

I'm sure your chat mates are pleasantly surprised.
(no subject) - pteropusvenom on April 5th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jasonturnerjasonturner on April 5th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
I have had people say they were surprised that True Loves was drawn by a guy. Maybe because of the clothes?
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
I think it has to do with the relationships. Relationships are for girls, doncha know.
placesforfaces on April 5th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've get comments every so often from people saying that I "draw well for a girl," or that I'm "funny for a girl". I know they don't mean it to be rude, but it always bothers me. I've had a lot of strange encounters in the work environment too- some problems with bullying that had to do with my being a girl. Not fun. You'd think that by now that that type of behavior would be uncommon.

Also, this drawing is beautiful! I love her expression and the cool dead beastie head!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks Katie, yer the best.

I've had people assume that I was a lesbian, because of the way I draw, it doesn't bother me, but that's a pretty specific assumption.

Sorry to hear about your bulling instances. Animation can really be an "Old-Boys-Club" sometimes. The guys joke around and say things that guys do, and that never really bothered me. However, sometimes a comment would come out that came from a more hurtful place and was designed to ostracize.
(no subject) - placesforfaces on April 9th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
tony_clifftony_cliff on April 5th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
We should make a game out of it! Get X number of drawings from unknown artists (or obscure work) and turn it into a competition.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 5th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that could be interesting.
(Deleted comment)
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
HA! Maybe he thought it was game and that he was going to win a prize or something.
sean estymr_esty on April 6th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
Sometimes people think my handwriting is feminine; I was at a production meeting once (for a show I did some board revisions on) and my notes were all hand-written, and the guys in New York on the conference call were all convinced "Sean" must be a girl.

It has never come up with my drawing though.

related: I used to think Andi Watson was a lady based on his art.
mike_myhremike_myhre on April 6th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
Re: Andi Watson: me too. I like it though, it's really grown on me in recent years.
(no subject) - r_dart on April 6th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
mike_myhremike_myhre on April 6th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Faaaaaaaaantastic as always, Berretta!
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Thank you, Michael!
Chairman Mao: Brush Your Teethstablercake on April 6th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
I've had many many people look at me like I've got three heads when I tell them I've drawn the things I've drawn. I had an art fair once where multiple people asked me where the artist was and almost didn't believe me when I said "wull, it's me" then they're like "oh I thought it was a dude who'd done it". In fact, I had another artist ask me once if I had a lot of people think I was a dude and I was sort of "well not as much until today but yeah". When it comes to online stuff I get it a lot too, especially on the sites I post the more porn-y work. It's always manny men or men on men so they think I'm a man just extrordinarily gay. Not really sure what straight ladies are supposed to draw, flowers and bunny rabbits?

Also I get a lot of people asking if I've painted my car (which I have, it's got dudes and monsters on it) and they get really confused when I say "yeah" and it takes them a tick to realize I'm a lady (short hair and a six foot stature does that when you can't see my tits).

Uh, so: yes.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
It seems strange to me that someone would say: "oh I thought it was a dude who'd done it" after they found out you were the artist. It's almost seems they don't believe you, they act like it wold be easier for you to change your gender than it would for them to change their expectations.

Your car sounds cool.
(no subject) - stablercake on April 6th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
.a jorb well done.: || life partners ||rakugaking on April 6th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
wonderful work once again, rebecca =) i will never get tired of seeing your inking technique! i'm trying out a bit more myself, but definitely need time to get used to hehe.

as for your question -- way back when, a few people who are now my friends first thought i was a female. one of the reasons were because i always chatted with them in a very polite manner [that always struck me as a strange thing to equate that quality with only females!]. then years down the line when i finally came out to friends and my family, it was a bit of a surprise to some because a great deal of my art consisted of scantily clad women. some thought i was joking...

personally, i have a lot of favorites when it comes to what i like to draw and what i would like to draw in the future. i know quite a few fellas who enjoy drawing incredibly cutesy things, and a few gals who draw some extremely wonderful guro themed stuff.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much Rakugaking for the great post.

I'm surprised people assumed, because you were polite, that you were a girl and not Canadian:)

You bring up a very interesting point about how people expect you to be sexually attracted to what you draw. Robin, for instance, draws what turns him on, he's viewing his id, however, for me it's more that I'm projecting myself into my images, seeing things that I'm not, but would like to be.
Kiel Westwestival on April 6th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Wait, aren't all artists super advanced, genderless beings?

Q: When you scan a piece such as this lovely one, I'm assuming this is in grayscale? (as opposed to a b/w lineart scan)?

Just curious, I've been watercoloring my cartoons and I'm having to think really hard about scanning all of the sudden.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
Busted! You're right, we all have smoothy-spots. Genatalia is for lower life forms.

I scan in grayscale at 300 dpi tif. Theres a setting for my printer that says: document or photo. I use the document setting for pen and ink and the photo setting for colour and graphite drawings. However, I think it just boils down to the quality of your scanner, mines a piece of poo.
(no subject) - westival on April 6th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jordyn f bochonyfrontninja on April 6th, 2010 04:33 am (UTC)
Beautiful, as always!

I've also often been mistaken as a man, because of my name mostly. It's always funny to meet someone who had known my stuff on the internet before and thought I was a guy. HA! The sad thing is, some part of me takes it as a compliment for being able to draw better (like, how saying a girl runs like a boy actually means she can run ok). It's all funny to me since I spend a lot of time drawing androgynous people.
Rebecca Dartr_dart on April 6th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks Jordyn!

Your totally right, there's a streak of satisfaction when you're mistaken for a male that somehow you're more technically proficient. Then there's the gratification that you just mind fucked someone. *giggle*
(no subject) - JamielovesMary Kingma on April 20th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)