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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)
tammylee 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)