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This has been a subject I've been interested in for years, and one which I personally struggle with on a near constant basis: Artist's intent versus fan criticisms. Before we begin I just want to make this clear that this journal is NOT about "ignoring criticisms" or any sort of endorsement of such an action. I'm gonna be accused of it, of course, but I just wanted to get that out of the way right now.

...

As I've been observing fan interactions over the years I've noticed a severe increase in a sense of entitlement: IE: that if you love something enough you have a "right" to force the creators to change their content to suit your personal preferences. We saw this play out to the extremes this past summer with the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle, and we see it play out to a much lesser extent here on DA quite a bit.

Artists need feedback and criticisms to grow and improve their work, but at what point does it move beyond offering suggestions to help an artist improve to outright demanding things be changed?

As a creator I've always felt that the voice of the artist should always be considered. If someone looks at your work and wants to know why you chose to do something a certain way, you should be allowed to explain yourself without fear of being attacked or seen as being defensive. Yet I've noticed that artists who do speak about their work are often criticized for trying to censor the fans, or can't handle criticism, or that they're being too defensive. It's happened to me, but It's also happened to many of my artistic colleagues, usually with predictable and similar results.

Using Mass Effect 3's ending as an example, the fan's outrage and intensity was like nothing I've ever seen before. No matter how shitty the ending was (and believe me, it was shitty), there was no need to file a complaint with the FTC over it. Being a fan of something doesn't mean you're always gonna get what you want. Part of being a fan means you need to accept the risk that you might get a downer ending, or a bad plot twist, or a character you don't like, etc. You have every right to be disappointed or annoyed at such changes/plots/characters... but going from being disappointed to demanding companies/artists "fix" and "change" things crosses the line in my opinion.

This does not mean that fan input is not important. Fan input is very important, and fan input is one of the reasons why there have been a number of really successful comics/shows/movies recently. But there's a fine line between offering suggestions because you're a fan and want to help, and expecting the creators to follow everything you dictate because you "know better" than them.

Being a fan of something doesn't mean you own it. You can love a series, a character, a property, a movie, etc. But if the creators chose to go in a direction you don't personally enjoy, you are not "entitled" to demand change. You can suggest it, and the creators are free to listen and even accept it... but offering criticism and advice is not a contract you are signing with the creators. They are not bound to please you, however right or justified you might be.

Again, artists need feedback both positive and negative to grow and improve. However, artists also need to feel that they're allowed to take creative risks, and fans need to learn that there is a time and a place for demanding change. You can offer your criticisms and advice, but after that it's up to the artist to use advice. If they chose not to, that doesn't necessarily mean that what you had to say was invalidated or wrong, and you shouldn't become angry or upset over it. Right?

...

That's my take on the situation, but I'm curious to know what you all think: At what point does it cross the line from being a fan giving criticism and feedback, to a fan expecting changes because of their criticisms and feedback? Do artists have any say in the matter? How much of their original intent should be considered? Do fans have more power over a creator's work? What's your opinion on this subject, I am very eager to hear your responses.
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:iconshareyourworldwide:
shareyourworldwide Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
The ending of Mass Effect 3 is a troublesome business.
As I suspect the ending of ME 3 was strongly influenced by the company in order to keep the ME franchise running.
Very strong evidence is the fact, that you have to play the multiplayer in order to get the "perfect good" ending. As I see it, ME has such a great story, it deserves a great ending and not something to keep the fans at bay.
I agree with you, that both sides have to be considered and I wouldn't disagree with you if it is about another topic than ME. Some movies and TV-shows didn't end like I would've liked or imagined how they would've, but it didn't bother me too much and I moved on.
ME on the other hand... Too great for such an ending. Too great.
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:iconkimyona123:
kimyona123 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think fans definitely have more power over an artists work than fifty, no let me say ten, years ago, but the thing is: This is only the power the artist is giving them.

I'm not so much into games, but the example you mentioned with Mass Effect 3's ending....it was changed after so many people complained about the ending right? And the company did have the choice to leave it as it is or change it, which was demanded by their consumers, who they want to please with the game, since they want to make profit with it, and the result was the change.

Now, I think there is a small but certain difference between companies creating games, movies etc. and artists. An artist does not do his or her work to only please people but to express his-/herself in various ways. And since, at least most of the time, art is not solely created for the viewer (in comparison to a game, which is made to be used and played with) but for it being art itself, may it be a piece of writing, a comic or a photograph, there should be a limit on how a viewer has the right to influence this piece of art. And here I am talking about power again: As an artist one can choose to follow their audiences will, or he/she can choose to ignore it, which is their right, as well as it is the viewer's right to voice his/her opinion on someone's work. :)
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:iconsarliene:
Sarliene Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student Writer
Speaking your piece is fine, making demands is not. Ultimately, the decision belongs to the artist. However, I do think it is unwise to ignore the issue at hand when there are so many complaints.

Additionally, I find it interesting how many people I have heard criticizing ME3 and haven't even played the game. It makes me wonder how many outraged complaints were from people who created opinions out of second or even third hand information. Humans are weird.
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:iconizzi1313:
Izzi1313 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist
Well i can relate to both sides.. On the one hand, as an artist, i'd hate for someone to dictate to me how to write my own stories.. I tend to write stories with sad endings, and i really don't want people complaining that they hated the way the story was concluded, because they envisioned it another way. I usually know from the beginning of my story that the ending will probably be extremely disappointing..
On the other hand, there's been some stories that had had very disappointing outcomes, that had me wishing that there was a way to get the artist to change it.. And hesitated to recommend it to friends, in case they weren't big fans of disappointing endings..

So i guess it's about moderation, the artist should keep their audiance's reaction in mind.. Remembering that when posting or publishing or whatever, the it's not only about them.. They're inviting the masses in to enjoy the story -or not- and give their opinions..
And the fans should always remember that these are pieces of art that belong to the artist, and so they have the right to the whatever the heck they want with their story\characters.. Even if they -the fans- have invested time\emotion and probably money supporting the story.. the last word should always be up to the artist.. And if they -the fans- wanted to, they could write their own stories with their own happy endings.. or support another fandom that gives them all the fluff and/or happy ending they want..
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:iconiylish:
Iylish Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Also, there is a difference between peer critique and fan critique (though a fan could be a peer). If you're a prominent graphic designer working in a specific studio, the input of your co-workers might weigh-in differently than the input of relatively anonymous people on the internet.
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:iconsteeve-the-fox:
Steeve-the-Fox Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wait, Mass Effect 3 had an ending?
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:iconalexander-brandt:
Alexander-Brandt Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   Writer
No, it just had deus ex machina.
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:iconchibisrule943:
chibisrule943 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Photographer
This is a difficult situation and I truly do wish we could've spoken of this while I had my Art class during high-school. I can only hope the technical school I apply to will speak of the subject at least once or twice. On that note, my first experience with seeing an artist stuck in this dilemma definitely has to be this person: [link] (not the original tumblr but oh well.) Where people loved the art-work until they looked at the description and declared war on Tumblr. 'this artist is a fucking dumb-ass.' quote from said person who decided to not comment on the artwork itself but like others mock the artist's view of THEIR piece. I think the line is drawn simply when it goes from a small critique such as: "I love the piece, but I think such-and-such is drawing away from the subject." To something insane, like a blog/comment/general attack of everything not helping the artist make the painting better. As for the artist: They.Created.The.Piece. You cannot expect them to change something, even something minor just because you say so. The only exception to that could be when you commissioned the artist to create the picture and gave them specific details you wanted. Of course, if you commission them and tell them 'Yeah, I don't know what I want. Just do whatever you like' but then yell at them for making a horrible picture; You have no right.
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:icongilotyna815:
gilotyna815 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with your opinion :).
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:iconpaladin343:
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a difficult line. There's something to be said for keeping an eye out for good suggestions, particularly if someone else happens to have a better idea for how to handle a character, plot twist, etc. But at the same time, it's my story (I write) and I know my characters, or I'm getting to know them, and making them do something that's not like them is like pulling teeth.

So I suppose it's mainly a matter of situation.
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:iconmister-saturn:
Mister-Saturn Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You are exactly right on EVERYTHING here.
And honestly I'm really hoping no one chews you out for this because knowing the people I've seen in your comments sections there probably will be someone.
Either way this is pretty much exactly how it should be. An artist stops being an artist, when they let their "fans" control their product in one way or another. It's the equivalent of selling out in the music industry. That's another perfect example. How many musicians have changed their sound (or stayed the same) just to please fans and make money?
Like you said, suggestion and criticism isn't bad until they start demanding things like they own you.
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:iconnarratornumberone:
NarratorNumberOne Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
As others have said, Mass Effect 3 is an extreme case. There are plenty of people who've already pointed out the big problems (inconsistencies in series themes, the introduction of a 'magical' element into what was previously a more techie sci-fi series, exaggerated promises in regards to previous choices, and just plain sloppy writing to name a few), and quite frankly, I've argued this so many times before that I'm rather sick of people bringing it up.

When it comes down to it, people can spot inconsistencies in stories and art. In those cases, yes, I feel the fans have a right to demand better. For a writer or artist to put up lazy work and then claim that it's beyond criticism because of 'artistic integrity' is nothing short of a cop-out. If I requested a reproduction of the Mona Lisa, and the artist got bored and just stuck a Smiley Sticker on the painting instead of actually drawing the head, I'd have every right to demand my money back.

On the other hand, if a similar story came along with the same endings, yet had set it up properly, paying attention to key themes and whatnot, I would stand on the side of the artist. I've always felt that Fallout 3's original ending fit well with the story, despite the wildly obvious inconsistency of the hulking super mutant who could withstand immense amounts of radiation insisting that I had to do it because he felt it was my responsibility (Seriously, Fawkes? Get your green ass in there!).

But how does one place that line? At what point is an artist citing 'artistic integrity' switching from using the term justly to using it as a shield and a license to be sloppy? It's hard to say without analyzing each work individually. I'd say that if a person's critique is accurate; if your art has a flaw you just didn't want to recognize, or if your story has a massive plot hole you accidentally overlooked, then the artist should just bite the bullet and do their best to fix the problem. You can keep your artistic vision, but don't use it as an excuse not to deal with legitimate flaws.
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:iconladysparrow01:
LadySparrow01 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Student General Artist
I agree with what you've said here. It's important for an artist to get feedback from their fans... but there is a line. Said feedback shouldn't completely change the artists original idea. In fact this whole topic reminds me very much this: [link] While input and feedback is always helpful, fans have to trust that the artist has a plan and that it will all work out in the end. : )
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:iconmyrksuki:
MyrkSuki Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Meh I think ME3 itself is an exception to this concept, from what I've followed. Between how DLC plays into the story and how folks felt about the ending, ME3's whining is a special case in what normally would be on the side of the artist.
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:iconswingleo:
swingleo Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student General Artist
you need to go outside and not comparing art with games

but anyways...just gonna be short and sweet because im wasting time:

you want to get risks? avoid to block everyone who critics your work , read carefully those comments who hide because they are gold ,and try to study more anatomy and for demmand, change your attitude,and go outside and write a script scrippt can save you of making bad comic because yo get humour

you hear this, good now move on
you dont, congrats your history will continue as a broken record
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:iconkat-ray:
kat-ray Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Do you feel good about yourself, by being rude to people?

Also, can you justify how video games are not part of art?
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:iconseiichisin:
SeiichiSin Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To now type up my real response to here... So sorry about the first post, checking the backlog of messages, got some tabs mixed up.

Well, I agree with you 100%. I have always hated how people think they can demand something of an artist even though they can't really claim any rights over them. It is like going over to someone's house, looking out their window, and saying the view sucks, they should change it. For starters, that isn't your house, you don't have to live with the view forever, so just leave and let live. Second, are you willing to pay them to change it? It costs a lot of money to change landscape, either that or they got to buy a new house, you got the money for that? Third, who the frell do you think you are telling someone that their garden sucks? I mean, they put work into that, even if it isn't super awesome, they WORKED on that. What did you do?

To bring it back to the subject of art... No one should have the right to demand that kind of change on someone for any reason. It takes a lot of time to change something, no matter how small. And it isn't theirs, they don't have to stick around and look at it. No one is forcing them to stare at this art work unless their grandma for some reason found the shot gun again. And lastly, none of them worked on it. All those people complaining about the ME ending, I always asked them, "did you pay the 4 billion dollars to make the games?" The usual response I get back is "No, but I paid $180!" To which I respond "and which of those numbers is greater?" Just because you paid $60 for a game, doesn't mean you own it, it means you own a blank disk. Seriously, no joke. If the company wanted they could wipe all the disks clean for no logical reason other then "we felt like it." It is their legal right. Think about it this way, how many games require a code or online access to play? D3 is one of the most infamous for needing to be online to play, and guess what? If Blizz wanted, they could shut down the servers claiming it was a "loss" and legally nothing could be done, ever. And what about all those copies of D3? Well, they are now useless.

I bring up all that for a reason aside from to make corporations look evil. Fact of the matter just is you just don't own that stuff. Just like you don't own the artwork someone is posting up on DA for free ((Commissions are a different story.)) If you feel you do, please refer to the local EULA or ToS of any game, movie, or device you have purchased with any kind of electronic systems in place. You don't own them, even if you did pay for them.
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:iconseiichisin:
SeiichiSin Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Are we allowed to make a resolution to stop making resolutions? Because I did that ages ago.
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:iconseiichisin:
SeiichiSin Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oops, opening up to many journals, miscomment. Sorry.
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:iconsoulsilverheartgold:
SoulSilverHeartGold Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Digital Artist
If there's something I don't like about a book/movie/TV show/game I just write fanfiction. As an aspiring author myself, I realize that the author had something in mind and wanted their work to be a certain way and that we should respect that, however, that doesn't mean we can't have our own little fantasies and what ifs, but I think that that's kind where it should stop. Outright demanding a change is incredibly selfish and disrespectful to the author in my opinion. If a fan doesn't like something, they can make their own stuff that's different, but they shouldn't demand that the creator change what they're doing.
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:iconamericangirlhope:
AmericanGirlHope Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Makes me wonder how much the internet has affected people's attitudes, with how free they can be on it and such.
Not to be said in a "OMG THE INTERNET SHOULD BE BANNED" kinda view point, but at times it does seem like people seem to kinda change thanks to what they experience on the internet.
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:iconmaplestrip:
Maplestrip Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
I usually type down a wall of text, but in this case there isn't one. You said it all, I completely agree with you. You made a great point and you described it perfectly.
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:iconrickf7666:
RickF7666 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Since you brought up Mass Effect 3 and their artistic integrity I feel I should put forth my point of view. If you are doing your "art" for yourself and others enjoyment and do not receive any monetary compensation for it then I say do what ever your vision calls for. On the other hand if you are commissioned to produce a something for a client is it not in your best interest to produce something the client would like.

Lets take Mass Effect as an example. There are two previous games that set the expectations of the customers. They purchased Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 and both had ending where the hero and his/her crew overcame vast odds to "win" in the end. In contrast, Mass Effect 3 ends with Shepard committing suicide and killing everyone else in the galaxy at the same time. Obviously there is a vast difference in the tone of the endings. The lead writer said he wanted to go for a "bitter sweet" ending, I'm sorry but "you die, she dies, everyone dies" is not bitter sweet it's just bitter.

Lets come at this idea from another direction. Lets say that you, as an artist, were commissioned to paint someones portrait and you painted them looking at their best. The client was very happy so they hire you again and you yet again paint them looking fantastic. At this point the client really admires your work and hires you a third time, but this time you think it would be better to paint the client looking like a deranged serial killer, surrounded by the dismembered bodies of their victims. Now lets say that the client, having already paid you for the work before having seen what you painted is very upset. Not only do you not give them their money back but berate them for not understanding your "artistic vision". Do you think you will ever be hired by that client again? Might that client be so upset that they begin costing you future commissions. Would you not then want to make changes to the painting that they paid for?
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:iconninjakato:
NinjaKato Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Ok, so I've gone through and read the journal and comments here. I wanted to do this before posting my own comment because I think it's easier to not have to post something when 20+ people have already said it (probably more eloquently than I).

First and foremost I want to say that despite the crap people give you you seem to hold a pretty decent heading on certain subjects. This one in particular. I'm not a fan nor do I know your work very well but having read this journal it's apparent that our views meld.
As the artist who does the work, draws the comic, writes the story, what-have-you it's your say that dictates what happens.
Suggestions are just that, suggestions. Fans implementation and diction in a personal endeavor and(or) accomplishment such as a comic or a story ends with making suggestions and supporting it.
They should not control it. To do this would take away from the artist's creative process and also detour an artists own personal run for a story/concept-- if only to please their fans.

True fans will stick around to see what an artist will do next. If they don't like it most of them will either leave and others will hope what happens next will be better. You can't and won't please everyone in everything you do. Your style will change as you grow, your views and visions will change as a story progresses, and your designs and concepts will differ from the originals as time passes.
It's a natural progression; an evolution if you will.
Many people support changes and growth, but as an artist and as someone who posts their work for the world to see (and buy) you have to be willing to accept that there's going to be people who don't like change-- People who will belittle and refuse change simply because it's 'different from that I liked in the first place'.
You just have to realize it's YOUR art, YOUR story, and YOU will dictate how it goes. Especially if it's a personal individual comic.
If it's a team of people then it's still not supposed to be controlled by the fans. They can help come up with ideas and possibilities for the future, but it's ultimately up to the writer(s) and creator(s) to determine what happens.
I've seen comics and stories where it was controlled by what the fans said/asked for/nagged for and they went under VERY quickly. The writers/creators couldn't handle working on it because it became more of a 'she asked for this, he asked for this, do this, do that, makes sure that's right, don't do that; they don't like that' type deal.
In the end it became more of a public request comic than a personal project.
Fan opinions should matter when it comes to how interesting a comic/story is, it lets the creator(s)/writer(s) know what they're doing well on and also boosts their confidence to continue. But the moment fans start saying 'don't do that! I don't like that!' is when their 'suggestion' becomes demand and that has no place in a project that's not of their making.
I won't go on and on because honestly... I could :XD: It's a touchy subject for me but I have my firm beliefs in the matter. Perhaps not the same as everyone else but... yeah.

In the case of ''company cons consumer'' (aka: the Mass Effect 3 situation) -- to the people who are saying 'they screwed us over for more money' -- you can thank all the freeloaders who steal and illegally download games for that kind of thing. Companies don't want people to just get their work for free; they work hard on it and they also need money and pay to live like you and I. So, essentially they make DLC packs and scenes so if people REALLY want to see it or have it they can pay a bit to have/see it.
As I can recall you don't even have to pay with money... you can pay with some kind of other currency (game currency or something). I don't know, I could be wrong... I don't play those games so I don't know how they manage that stuff.
Either way... just my :twocents:
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:iconmyrksuki:
MyrkSuki Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Eh, doubt freeloaders warrant change in artistic direction. The key thing piracy handles is DRM and anything that will require the player to check back in with the company for validation. It's more of a control thing. Again, most people would argue Borderlands DLC as good DLC, stuff that's no required but extend what made the game fun. ME3's DLC played pretty key roles in the main story, and telling it after the fact just throws the entire narrative experience of the player, paid or not, out of wack.
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:iconninjakato:
NinjaKato Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012
Oh I agree that putting a DLC content ending that's a totally different ending to the original is totally bogus!
Either way, I didn't mean the freeloaders were responsible for the artistic direction of anything, I meant they're part of the reason many games have DLC that you have to pay for.
Heck, there were a ton of people who had Transformers: Fall of Cybertron before it was even out! They were downloading it illegally.
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:iconmyrksuki:
MyrkSuki Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012
I don't think the decision to make DLC is because of piracy. But it might be. A million different factors will affect piracy rates and I don't think DLC would be one of the larger factors. I find DLC is more of a marketing concept. Before, these would technically packaged into a single large expansion, which is still being sold, but if the company notices that if they take too between releasing content the mindshare gets lost, which in turn results in lost sales. So by putting them in smaller, more bite sized chunks, its easier to space out over a period of time and keep the name fresh in people's mind.

Pirates will get DLC as easily as they would've gotten the original game, and I'm sure companies are not oblivious to that matter. Not by that much, at least.

The decisions made in the name of curbing piracy are still made by people, and these are decisions, not consequences.
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:iconwolfsilver:
wolfsilver Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Hm, then what about the part editors play in comics? Roles of people who have similar positions of power in movies, books, cartoons, etc.? For comics, there are such things as "editorial mandates", afterall.
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:iconloveless-nights:
Loveless-Nights Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I know this isn't much to say on it, but I wrote a MLP fanfic and I was basically doing it for myself. But all of a sudden it got really popular and the fans of it were demanding that I wouldn't kill off a character. I of course felt such pressure to keep the character alive (even though I really wanted to kill her) that I kept her alive and the ending was a downer because of it. Sure I gave the fans what they wanted but I felt like shit after it because I didn't follow my own heart. So I always made a promise to myself that in my stories, if I want there to be a character death or a sad ending, God dammit I'll give it because if you can't do it for yourself, why do it at all??!
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:iconeravensm:
EravenSM Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'm not going to write/illustrate a story for anyone but myself. I will share it with others if they are interested in it. But if something happens and they don't like it, then tough titties. They can either respect my decisions or leave since it's my work. If they don't like the way I tell a story or draw a picture, then they can go draw their own the way they like it.
All that said I am in no way opposed to constructive criticism and friendly advice. More than once I have had people tell me that I might want to try this or that and some times it works for me and sometimes it doesn't. But I will not allow anyone to tell me that the way I do something is wrong and that I have to change just because they like it their way.
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:iconnudedoctor:
NudeDoctor Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I'll admit that I've never been too keen on visual arts, but I do know exactly what you mean with fan/critic feedback.

I've done a lot of writing, and, back when I used dA for feedback, I got plenty of critiques; most were pleasantly worded and concerned minor errors and inconsistencies. But then there would be the reviews that wanted a lot of changes.
If I went along with those changes, sure, the piece would probably have turned out much better. But I found myself trying to figure out exactly how much of the final product was mine. How much did I create? Was my own, original idea still present? Can I even call this my work anymore? Am I only making this to please others?

But on another hand, I couldn't not listen to a critique. I couldn't simply disregard the things people were saying. That would be absurd.

It's difficult to maintain a balance. You're (most likely) going to have to constantly adjust just how much of other's opinions and reviews you're going to take in. Things like that have to be carefully though-out. It's not always straight-forward. I suppose one comfort is that other artists are going through similar dilemmas frequently.
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:icondarkx1122:
DarkX1122 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I frankly find that whole thing about ME3 hilarious. What did you think those complaints you (the butthurt fans) sent to the company would change? They already have your money, so your usefulness to them has expired. And it will be a moot point from now on, unless you're all forming a coalition to boycott them for such a bad ending. Because even then, they'll release something new and you'll buy it then. What's the point?

And frankly, where the art's concerned, simply pay no mind to people that want YOUR story to go THEIR way. If they want things their way, they can make their own damn art, story, game etc. You, the artist, are only in the wrong if something you did displeases yourself. I can safely say, I'll know how to handle such critics when they come around when I post my works for the world to see. And I owe you a bit of thanks for that Andy.
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:iconweissboard:
Weissboard Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
A fan should never confuse attachment with ownership.
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:icongogogo123456:
gogogo123456 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Oh my gosh. Everyone is writing such long comments, when I think it's so simple. This is the way I view it: it all depends on what the artist is trying to achieve.
As an artist, whether you draw comics or make video games, when you reach a certain amount of viewers, there are going to be people that don't like/are not satisfied with your work. Now, if you draw for yourself, then artist intent is all that matters. You can say, "screw all these other people, I want to do it this way!" and then everything is fine and dandy.
But if you're working for the people/fans for a profit, then you have to give them what they want, otherwise you are out of business. You just got to find the balance between doing what you like, and doing what your fans expect, which I know is easier said then done.
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:iconpainfulelegy:
PainfulElegy Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The mass effect 3 example is a really bad example. People were justifiably mad at mass effect 3 ending. This was not a case of an artist's creativity being called into question. This is the case of a COMMERCIAL PRODUCT (IE, a product made specifically TO PLEASE PEOPLE) being advertised in a specific way (In this case, following the previous games pattern and having actually different endings) yet not delivering.

As an artist who isn't working commercially for product, you can disregard any opinion you choose, but when you're a commercial artist, calling the people you are selling to entitled and ignoring what they want is the fast track to getting knocked out of the industry or going bankrupt.

Commercialization of something (Especially art) requires a person to take an entirely new mindset.
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:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
This! Nice point. An artist can do whatever feels right, but the line gets drawn when they say, "Buy my $60 piece of art. It changes based on how you interact with it." …and then it fails to change.

That would be a pretty cut and dry case with any other artistic medium!
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:iconpainfulelegy:
PainfulElegy Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Exactly, because at that point it is a product first, and a work of art second.

Which is why people like liefeld have job security, because they understand that they're there to get their job done first, not to be the next picasso.
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:iconzeruzu:
Zeruzu Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." Cyril Connolly
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:iconwolf-panther:
Wolf-panther Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
As a fan, an actor, and a writer I agree with you that goes way to far. Taking what critics have to say is all apart of the job, however when critics and so called 'fans' do NOT have the right to demand a change without legitimate reason. An example of a legitimate reason would be if a series is based off fan ideas then the fans who's ideas were used would get fair say in what happens. Other than that fans can only give fair input example if they were to say: "it was ok not as good as your other stuff what I would've liked to see different....." you get the idea. If you'd like me to clarify something I said here just ask.
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:iconjiynx:
jiynx Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I think one thing defines the line of fan giving criticism and feedback to a fan expecting changes: respect. This needs to exist on both ends.

On the creator's end, the artist needs to respect the criticism from their fanbase, both the good and the bad. Like you said, in order to improve, they need to take what viewers say with a grain of salt. An artist needs to have the ability to take criticism, which a lot of artists have.

On the viewers end, fans need to learn to give criticism in a respectable fashion. A lot of people end up nagging, demanding, and therefore, feel empowered. Sure, offer your advice in how a story arc could be stronger, or how the artist could proportion the arm better, but a LOT of fans try to take the art into their own hands. They need to respect that the artist's art is just that: the ARTIST'S art, not the fans. The artist chose to share this with you, not to offer you to write/draw this for them.

Honestly, I see more artists handling the respect better way more often than I see fans do. Fans become bossy, and artists become submissive, or offended thus.

Fans; don't be dicks or your favourite art is going to disappear. Artists; keep on keeping on because there are always more fans who will support you the right way.
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:iconchazfullmetal:
ChazFullmetal Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student General Artist
I agree that an artist should listen to others for criticism AND praise wherever necessary, but they can't just do whatever they're told. I never played the first two Mass Effects, but personally I rather liked the Mass Effect 3 ending. To me, it seemed rather poignant - for an absolute ending to Mass Effect, I really liked it (i went with Synthesis, which i believe to be the better of the three options).

The point is, even though it got hammered for it's endings by a large number of people, there are going to be people who thought the ending was good, and i respect Bioware for ending it when they did.

I think a good thing to use as an example(?) would be Bakuman. When the main characters try to get ideas for their manga from their fans, their editor tells them to stop, because if they do whatever the fans say, then it stops being their work and loses it's value and soul (they put it as "flavour").

Fans are allowed to make any kind of suggestion they want, even if it might be voiced as a demand. To an artist, it should all be taken as a suggestion. Ultimately, the artist can choose whether or not they take on the suggestions they get, and the fans don't get to have control over the artist's choice.

There is not real point when it crosses a line though. Fans should realise that there is no difference between a suggestion and a demand to the artists. The creator will always have complete control over their product. They may or may not listen to what others tell them, and that's just how it works. As for original intent - an artist can stick to their original intent regardless of fans disliking it, because the fans are not one person. They are a lot of people with different views, and there will be people who do like it. Besides, the artist can always do spinoffs or allow fanfiction or fanart if they want. I think the sense of empowerment that fans have these days is due to the new ability to have consumer-created content and on-demand media. In a sense, the consumers become creators as well. However, this does not mean they can tweak and alter whatever they choose, simply because they are under the impression that they know what is best. I mean, i've had a story in my head for two years now, and i've been working on it all of this time. There's no way in hell i'm going to let anyone change it, but i'm more than happy to listen to advice. I have done before.

Fans cannot dictate the artist, nor should they expect to. The artist has the right to do what they want with their creation, and they shouldn't think otherwise.
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:iconexe-1:
EXE-1 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Tossing in my two cents here, this issue seems to be one of the biggest problems any artist has. On one hand, fan participation and criticism are both needed for artists to move forward and develop. Yet, at the same time, too much of both makes it seem as if the fans think they have some sort of entitlement to the series, and that the artist must depend on them. Which is bogus.

My position is that fans need to learn that there is a sort of border between the artist and them. You can exchange information, criticism, and suggestions across this border, and all of this is welcome, as it assists the artist and brings the audience closer to the work. However, once they start demanding something and start shooting down something that the artist is trying, they've breached this border. And breaching the border is not good. At this point, the artist now has the right to, at least, defend their ideas and works from the fans.

It's a weird example, but I think you get my point. Actually, that was a horrid example...

Artists create ideas and works. Whether or not a fan wishes to enjoy them is up to them. They have a right to be disappointed and give their thoughts, but the idea that the artist is only trying to appeal to that one group of fans and that changes to the work violate some sort of "entitlement (you keep using that word...) contract" is kinda going too far.

ME3's ending was horrible, though.
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:iconcharmed7293:
charmed7293 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I do agree, but I think there's a difference between an independent artist and a major company. The company is trying to sell their creation and make money off of it. Fans won't buy something if they don't like it so there's more pressure on the company to make something that the fans like. The ME3 ending fiasco was intense, but the company should take the fans input into account - they know the fans didn't like the way the game ended, so they shouldn't make another video game with an ending scenario like that. An independent artist is different from a company. Most artists on DA aren't putting their stuff here to make money. For most, they just want to draw what they like and see what other people think about it; their doing it for themselves, not to make money off an audience. They have much more freedom to create what they want because no one is paying to see it. No one really has the right to demand things from or about something they are getting for free.
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:iconjoshuaotero:
joshuaotero Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I agree. It also ran a similar line like you said with ME3 ending.. is the Avatar: The Last Airbender with fan pairings... Fans can be fans until it becomes an unhealthy obsession. Where their own viewpoint clouds their mind of common sense. As an artist I feel there is a certain point to which you as the creator have control. If the fans are disappointed in the result, they have to either accept the decision or just voice themselves. I've seen some people get so enamored with original characters that they demanded the creator make the change just to suit that particular fan's taste. But the artist being the creator has or should have a goal in mind to the story or image given. Fans come and go, as do criticism. But it's the responsibility of the creator to sift through trolls and admirers of the artists' craft. Take the constructive critics seriously and the fan-obessed to fall though.
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:iconozziescribbler:
OzzieScribbler Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'll say it's up to the individual author to say where lays the line between well-desired critique and fan entitlement. Some creators are more than happy to serve their audiences, some feel oppressed by fans suggesting them what direction to take.
But, all in all, it's the fans who ignore boundaries and make it problematic. I can't understand ordering someone to change their intellectual property according to my taste. As fans we're definitely allowed to have opinions and express them freely, though there's a big difference between demanding things we shouldn't have control over and simply wishing them to be.

I, for one, got hugely disappointed by finale to Legend of Korra's 1st season, but it wouldn't cross my mind to come up to Mike and Bryan and tell them to change it just because I know for a fact that fellow fans share my opinion and we wish so.
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:iconstarcraftor:
Starcraftor Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Mass Effect 3 had a bigger issue that got people enraged: The game-makers were, at least according to rumor, planning on making people pay for the canon ending of the game. This came to a head when some guys figured out what the canon ending was going to be and released a video about it which went viral. I never heard anything about complaints to the FTC about the situation, though I can certainly understand how it seemed like EA was ripping off its customers.

Concerning your actual question - fans should have little to no input on the creator's ideas. Quality content is created, in my experience, by people who create what they want to create. Quality is lost as you start trying to appease people or take their advice into account. Granted, when you get stuck it's nice to have a community full of people already trying to guess where you'll go next and you can look there for ideas, but that's not the same as actually using one of their ideas directly justbecause they want you to.
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:iconoverseer:
overseer Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012   Digital Artist
I don't think it's about whether or not people give criticism or in what form. I personally don't care if I get a message to the tune of "your shit fucking stinks." So what? That's a person's opinion and it doesn't bother me. If you work on the basis that you want everyone to like your stuff, you're never going to get there.

The way I see it, constructive critcism is always welcome, but no one should have to follow it. I always read all the comments I get, and I very much appreciate each and every one of them, but it doesn't require me to follow every single suggestion, idea or request. There is a certain level of "this is my art, this is how I want to do it" and that means that I can't humor everyone.

But I just don't let it get to me. What's the worst thing that can happen? Someone is questioning my very existence. So what? It's the internet. People will push their limits, it's the way it is. The more anyone gets wound up, the more someone's going to do it. There is also always the polite way of saying "thanks, but no thanks" when it comes to accepting people's input.

I just don't understand the problem. Fans expect a lot of things all the time which is why a lot of actors also get annoyed. There is no law that makes you apply those changes and if you lose a fan once in a while, because you didn't put red dot XYZ in panel ABC, so what again. People will always find reasons to complain, mainly because they have nothing else to do.

I only follow suggestions and advice if either it makes very good sense and I've obviously flunked and/or if I feel it goes the direction I want to go. Simple example: I hate cross-overs. So no matter how cool an idea, I won't do it. :shrug:
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:iconshadow51090:
shadow51090 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I don't feel that ME3's ending change and out cry is a good example. The main initial reason for the backlash wasn't simply the downer ending, but how the execs handled the situation and built the hype beforehand.

We were told our choices would matter, that they would dynamically change the ending according to how you played the first two. That it wouldn't de-volve down to making an A,B,C choice. That was not the case we originally got three identical endings with the only difference being the explosion colors. And this was also after the original leaked scripted (which to me personally makes slightly more sense than the newer ending) was received poorly, which means they could have gone back and fixed what was possibly wrong.
Another part of it was the "Golden" ending which could received without playing multiplayer which again turned out to be lie in the original release, and even then the "golden" ending, only applied to one ending and was a vague 7 second teaser.
So the fans were upset. Now obviously certain things did get a bit over the top, but it was partially justified due to the hype built towards it. So it wasn't simply fan expectation it was the developers stating WHAT was going to be, and failing to deliver.

Another difference between ME3 and lets saying a random piece of art on dA, is who is the audience. ME3 is a triple A title that cost $60 at launch, people want that money to count, the developers aren't making a game for themselves fully they're making a product that needs to succeed. An artist on dA usually is making an piece for themselves and are letting others view and comment said piece for free, it's a PERSONAL product by the artist.

Would you claim the same idea of Artistic freedom for somebody doing a commission, but the artist in question didn't follow the commissioners instructions opting to do what they felt was right?
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:iconrabiaviolenta:
RabiaViolenta Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
My thoughts exactly. When it comes to games, movies, etc. there are certain aspects that have to meet certain standards set by fans so the product can be successful.

Now, on criticism. I have always said that negative feedback delivered in a rude or entitled manner should be ignored. I also say you should always read, and attempt to apply constructive criticism. I feel that artists who simply say "I don't want to go that direction with my art" are only hurting themselves. It's smart to experiment with your audience's suggestions, as it can broaden your skills and even the styles you enjoy. I'm not saying you should take constructive criticism and turn it into several large projects, but simply test out the suggestions. You may enjoy the results.
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:iconshadow51090:
shadow51090 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Exactly, that's why things like focus groups exist. To test the waters of a product before final production. And the "Directors" cut after the movie is released so that way the audience can get the ending they know and the artist can make the cut of the film he/she wanted.

Criticism also shouldn't be the only thing to drive the artist. An artist should always be expanding and changing how they draw or film,paint etc. Art isn't a stagnant its a constantly evolving form of expression. Then they should take the advice and criticism of others as a guide line to reach and try those changes.
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