Drawing Characters of Colour

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Title: Drawing Characters of Colour
Creator: glockgal
Date(s): 29 November, 2010
Medium: online
Fandom: panfandom
Topic: Fanart, Race and Fandom
External Links: Livejournal
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Drawing Characters of Colour is an essay tutorial on drawing fanart of characters of colour by glockgal.

Topics Discussed

  • lack of fanart of POC
  • personal experiences and internalized assumptions
  • advice on improving

Excerpts

In terms of most fanart, there is a dearth of visualized characters of colour. I think the main exception to that is perhaps manga/anime fandoms (I say 'perhaps', given how many debates there are about the ethnicities of manga characters); but for me, it's still not enough.

Fanwriters have been batting this topic back and forth for a while now. When faced with a diverse cast of characters in a fandom, issues of character depth, character plot, character story and character interest are cited as reasons why it's sometimes difficult to write the character(s) of colour. And who can blame many fandomers for thinking this way? Many times the official writers of a movie/book/tv make the white characters more 'interesting' and therefore in fandom, more easy or compelling to write.

[...]

When it comes to fanart, this reasoning can still apply. White characters are generally the main characters of large (or well-known) fandoms; therefore in fanart they get drawn more. They are considered more 'interesting', because the official writers of the canon tell and demonstrate to us that they are by giving them the complex character development, stories and plot.
I am saying that, as a woman of colour, it was a shock to realize just how much internalized 'white = default' mentality I harboured and spilled out into my art-making. I wanted to share this experience with you so fellow artists know they aren't the only ones seeing the elephant in the drawing room