I figured it out at last. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to track down every cliche of fantasy art and poke it repeatedly with a pencil. (This probably explains why I revisit the “evil unicorn” theme about once a year. God, I hate unicorns.) I sneakingly suspect this has to do with my inherent rather perverse nature–whenever I see something done badly, I want to see if I can do it better, or failing that, drive a stake through its withered little heart and bury it under a crossroads at midnight with a clove of garlic shoved in its mouth.
As usual, my metaphor got away from me, and now I have no idea what I was saying.
Well, anyway, yesterday’s amusement had to do with “anime catgirls.” If you hang out on furry art boards with any regularity, you find people grumbling about anime catgirls, so being me, I decided to paint an anime ratgirl and see if that got a warmer reception. Judging by the response–and I uploaded that bloody thing at 1 AM, nobody shoulda seen it–either the anime ratgirl is a success, or people hate catgirls so much, they will take any opportunity to express their distaste, take your pick. The style is one that I’d been vaguely aware of, mostly through wallpaper at Deviantart, and which looked to me like Painter. (I still don’t know if it IS Painter, or who started it in the first place, but I can duplicate it in Painter with ease, so it very well could be.)
The scary thing is that it was fun. I mean, I haven’t painted anime in…well, I did something vaguely anime-like four years ago, and then there was some really regrettable concept art two years ago, but so far as my artistic skills are concerned, “painting anime” has always ranked a bit below “reading the future in sheep entrails” as one of my talents. But this came out well, and it was fun. Which makes me want to paint more. Which scares me. Is this a threshold drug? Will I casually paint an anime batgirl, and then an anime dragongirl and then suddenly one day I’ll wake up to discover my bedroom plastered with Dragonball Z posters and Sailor Moon t-shirts forming the better part of my wardrobe? Will I find myself sneaking extra highlights onto my chupacabra’s eyes until her irises appear to be covered in a multitude of shiny cataracts? Will the word “kawai” ooze into my vocabulary like a verbal remora, sapping the strength from more robust words? Is this the end of realism as I know it?!