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28 March 2012 @ 08:55 pm
On Making Space for Fanart in FKFicFest  
Note: This is private-individual-me musing in my own journal. This is not official-moderator-me enshrining a game rule. Clear?

Last year, when [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest sign-ups were already well underway, someone asked whether visual artists might somehow participate.  The decision was "no" for 2011, and "we'll think about it" for 2012.

My strong leanings now are: that (1) an "opt in" recipient approach (with painting/drawing parameters as specific as those for stories) is viable and should be offered, and (2) no FK visual artists are going to turn up and want to play, so the point is moot.  In other words, it will make me feel good (that we're doing the right thing), and it won't bother anyone in the end. ;-)

We're not a really graphically artistic bunch, are we?

Last year, the request took me completely by surprise.  It shouldn't have.  It's a reasonable question.  Many big ficathons do have provisions for visual art, and there aren't remotely enough visual artists in FKdom to hold a separate, graphics-only game of their own.  (How many total FK games a year are there of any sort? One FKFicFest and maybe one FKFic-L War? Plus FKCommentFic?)

Of course there was that magnificent Forever Janette production by Rich.  Dorothy E. painted some lovely oil portraits and also drew in pencil and charcoal for the A Touch of Forever zine.  Ann L. is immediately recognized for her covers of Susan G.'s zines.  Even I had two drawings in the Tojours Lacroix zine (one watercolor of Fleur and one ink of Lacroix).  And there are more.  That acknowledged, still, FK fandom has just never been much for visual art.  This is not least, I believe, because the fandom was born and reached its height online in the days of text-based browsers and itty-bitty bandwidths!  We did not develop in that direction.

Given that history, frankly, I don't expect any dedicated FK fanartists to emerge.  But I would like FKFicFest to provide a welcoming nook for them (within the larger ficathon game) just in case they do.

How could this possibly work?

What I'm thinking is that the sign-up form will ask whether a player wishes her prompts to be available for matching with:
  • writers only
  • writers and artists both
Then, if any artists sign up, I'll be able to match them with those players who specifically opted in for graphic art.  No one would receive a picture in exchange unless she opted in for that possibility.

On the artists' side, we'd have parameters equivalent to the "1000 words" requirement for writers:
  • minimum 500x500 pixels
  • drawings/paintings only — no manips (photo manipulations; sort of like digital collages)
Now, I'm a maker of manips myself — you've seen them, right? there's one with every FK story on my fansite! and I thumbnail them in my journal — and I greatly respect their potential, but I've seen (and, admittedly, made) too many that were not worth a thousand words, and for an exchange, they indeed have to be worth just that.  I think manips have to be disallowed as a baseline.  Instead, whether with pencil, pen, charcoal, pastel, crayon, brush or mouse, the graphic contributed would begin as well as end in the artist's fresh, new work — just like the stories will — and of course would reply to the prompt given.

(Questions:  What about comic strips? If drawn or painted from scratch, great!  What about animation? If drawn or painted from scratch, great!  What about userpic icons? No: please reread the parameters.)

Alternately, we could take the "big bang" route, and assign any artist who arrives to partner with a writer, to illustrate that writer's story, as a bonus for whatever requester had the prompts most compatible with the artist, and then a pinch-hit writer would be tapped to write for the artist.

In the unlikely event that more than one artist signed up, of course they would be matched with each other directly if their preferences were at all compatible.

What do you think?

This is a contingency that I feel is unlikely to be used, but which I wish to offer as part of promoting our continuing love of FK and union as an FK community.  If there is a dedicated FK fanartist out there, I want her/him to come in here, and share with the rest of us FK fans!  As a visual artist myself (albeit a poor one), I very much see the narrative possibilities of visual art; I see no problems responding visually to a story prompt.

Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable
skieswideopen: FK: Nick & Janetteskieswideopen on March 30th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
For what's it worth, I've participated in mixed-medium challenges before and they worked just fine. As you say, there's no real reason not to encourage the creation of additional FK fanworks as long as everyone gets to pick the media they're willing to receive. I wouldn't even necessarily say you have to match artists with each other--someone who can write but not draw might be quite delighted to receive some art! The only potential problem is that you might have a mismatch between what people ask for and what they can provide, but as you say, it's unlikely that any artists will sign, and I suspect there will be enough people who are flexible in their requests that it won't be a problem.
Amy R.: Artbrightknightie on March 30th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the encouragement! I'm glad to hear that mixed-media challenges have worked well in your fannish regions; leela_cat has said that they're common in her main fandoms, too.

>"I wouldn't even necessarily say you have to match artists with each other--someone who can write but not draw might be quite delighted to receive some art!"

Good point!

>"The only potential problem is that you might have a mismatch between what people ask for and what they can provide"

Yes, in the unlikely event that we have more artists sign up than people willing to receive art, I would go begging and cajoling to find another art recipient. It does seem unlikely, though.

I'm imagining: In what medium would you like your match to address your prompt slate?
  • story only
  • story preferred, art fine
  • art preferred, story fine
skieswideopen: FK: Nick & Janetteskieswideopen on March 30th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, the other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes writing prompts don't make good art prompts and vice versa. Usually that seems to be handled by allowing a certain leeway to artists, since prompts tend to be writing-oriented, so perhaps that's what you may wish to do as well.

I've never seen it done where people can select order of preference, but I like the idea, as long as the creator won't see that part. It would be unfortunate to create something for someone knowing it was their second choice of medium. Perhaps you may also want to allow for the possibility that they'd be equally happy to receive either?