"Your Work Reminds Me of [insert fandom]" | Compliment or...Not?

If someone sees your art and says that it reminds them of a fandom how do you feel about it? Will you find it as a compliment or otherwise? I want to hear your thoughts about it :blush:.

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It’s the worst you can tell an artist. But I ignore it and know how it’s meant for them.

There are a lot of elements to unpack in such an assessment. Most of the time when I point out something reminds me of something else, it’s a rather neutral statement. Just an idle bit of passing trivia. Nothing is truly original; if we spend enough time picking apart a wide assortment of art for what we like and don’t like, we will naturally accumulate a crazy library of mental references that our pattern searching brains will strive to create connections to familiar works.

Because of that, I would imagine most mean it as a genuine complement. Especially considering that they’re probably a fan of said fandom and were drawn to your work because of the emotional connection they have to that fandom’s source material.

Though I’m sure there are a few bad apples out there who mean it as a catty backhanded complement. I wouldn’t concern myself with them though, as someone with such a negative attitude will tend to be their own worst enemy anyhow. Best to always assume it was a real complement and thank them for it. If they were just being jerks, then a sincere thanks will take the wind right out of their sails, since their goal would have probably been to get a rise out of you.

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Given that most people don’t do art, I try not to take it to personally because they don’t understand the thinking, passion, and effort that goes into a drawing. They mean it as a compliment because they say “it reminds me of this thing [and I think of that because I like this other thing, and therefore like your art too].”

But I would say that it’s something you shouldn’t say if you know better. For one thing, it’s a statement made for original pieces. If you made a work of fan art, noone would say “this reminds me of the fandom that it came from” because it’s obviously meant to be that way. By describing original pieces as simply derived, you’re implying that less mental work went into it than if it was truly original, which is rude for someone who might’ve spent hours, if not days or weeks, on a single piece.

Uradamus already made the point that nothing is really original anymore and people have a large mental catalog of cultural references and images that they draw from, but I would add that by saying “this reminds me of x” sorta disempowers the artists’ ability to add to this catalog. Art moves us and makes us think, it’s why we value the people who make it and who shape the culture that we live in. But by saying “your art reminds me of a different cultural artifact” essentially tells the artist “You don’t have the power to contribute new things to our art culture. You’re only allowed to borrow concepts from an existing pool of things made by people better than you,” which I think runs counter to art’s ability to expand our understanding and to be beautiful.

Sorry, that probably got off track :stuck_out_tongue:
Basically, try your best not to say that. But understand that people who aren’t in the know don’t think about it too much

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I believe it’s just neutral comment. There are sometimes very little similarities but it just ignited the path in their brain that led to said fandom artworks. If you’re particularly interested in the theme of the artwork you showed to them, you can look up that fandom and see if there is anything that would interest you, but as I said, the similarities don’t need to be clear for people to join your artwork with other things they like in their head. Sometimes it’s just a similar way of painting a beard.

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Speaking as someone who is about to turn 40 this year and who’s been an avid hobbyist artist for well over 30 of those, I can say without a doubt that I don’t have the slightest problem with someone comparing my work to others. I stand on the countless shoulders of those who came before me and shown me the way. I couldn’t create the work I do without their help and inspiration.

There is rarely a day that goes by where I don’t spend at least a few hours taking in the work of others to better inform my own style and sensibilities and find new ways to approach my own work. It would be shocking if my art didn’t show some signs of that influence. With that being the case, it would be a bit silly of me to take any sort of offense because someone noticed a similarity between my work and others and pointed it out to me.

I think there is a somewhat worrying trend that has been cropping up more and more over recent decades where a lot of artists are tying their self-worth to a vain adherence to an unattainable ideal of some mythical originality that has never really existed in the first place. Things like technique, style, subject matter, media, etc are all very common and general on their own. What gives life to art is our ability to refine and combine those generic parts into something that can evoke feeling in ourselves and those we share it with.

One of the best, and most effective ways to advance as an artist is to swallow your pride and learn through copying better artists to help you make sense of how they may have approached things, figure out what works and what doesn’t, constantly refine your taste and synthesize those lessons into your ever evolving personal style. Historically that is how most influential artists have been trained, copying the masters until they became masters in their own right.

And I don’t just mean verbatim copying the works of others, though that too can be a useful way of training. But in a more general sense, by picking apart everything you see, figure out what you like and don’t like about other artist’s work. Formulate in your mind a path to reaching similar (or better) results and once in a while try following that path and see if it really leads there or not. There is so much to be learned from others, directly or otherwise. Most who push the farthest with their craft have trained a shrewd eye and learned to adapt, refine and iterate upon the best ideas, both their own and others.

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I take it as a compliment, I mean influence and inspiration will always show through in your work somewhere, If you study how other artists developed their style they too learnt from others and it shows in their artwork.
My style has often been compared to a well known comic artist of who I am a huge fan of. I never tried to emulate his style but through trying to understand the techniques of his and others my style just naturally developed to what it is now.

@Soma sorry, I meant to put this in the main thread.but can’t move it there

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