[MARCH 2ND, 2023]




Okay, for the past week or so I have been plagued with this "hard to swallow pills: artist edition" post going around my timeline. At first it was very simple things that anyone would agree to, that really weren't all that hard to swallow at all. Then, there was a certain take that ruffled a few feathers:

And y'all bout to be real mad at me, but it must be said..

I agree.


I should first make a disclaimer that appealing =/= good or better skilled. Appealing just means the capacity to be more attractive to a wider audience of people, or able to attract a big audience. He literally says that, but you know people on Twitter don't read lol.

I've talked about myself and my art journey in my Why I Left Twitter article, but I'll tl;dr here. Basically, I got a 10k+ platform from doing fanart, tried to switch to OC art and no one cared, so I abandoned the account. Realized all I was doing was chasing numbers and follower milestones for literally no type of gain except to see the number go up.

So I know first hand how to 'appeal' to people, and I know what it's like when my art doesn't appeal to people.

If you want a big platform, you will have to conform in some sort of way. Whether that is changing what you draw, posting when you don't want to post, changing how you draw, posting under hashtags, rearranging drawings to be more pleasing, whatever. Art (on social media anyway) is a marketing game first and foremost, then it's about skill.

If you don't want to become so marketable your art feels soulless, then don't. That's noble. I'm the same way! (I mean, do you really even want your art to be appealing to the average person? Like, have you met the average person?) But then do not be surprised when your growth is slow.

A lot of people operate in a 'should/shouldn't' mindset, like "I shouldn't have to draw what I don't like to get a lot of followers" and you're right but that's unfortunately just.. reality. There's a reason why the pill is hard to swallow! People want their cake and to eat it too. They want to make art that is wholly unique to them, undoubtedly theirs, and extremely niche but they also want to have a huge platform. They want to stand out from the crowd but still have the crowd around them.

And that isn't like.. a terrible thing to want. Wanting to have community is normal.

But someone who draws fanart is gonna have more "appeal" than someone who just draws original work. Someone who draws suggestive or nsfw work is gonna have more "appeal" than someone who draws wholly sfw work. Etc etc. There's many other factors that can make a work more or less 'appealing', but all in all, that's just the way the coochie crumbles.

I know some people retorted "ummm, okay but the algorithm though!" and the algorithm can play a big part! But I feel most people truly do not know how the algorithm works. I really think people believe that the algorithm searches photos to tell if its fanart vs original work to make it viral, when what's really happening is the average person cares about images of their blorbos vs. whatever you got going on. The only thing the algorithm cares about is if you post often, and if people interact with you a lot as well. But people aren't going to interact with you no matter if they saw it or not, if they just do not care about what you post.

Like, think about it. If every social media platform became chronological and algorithm-less today, do you think art of your OCs or fanart of a video game you like is going to get more shares? Think on all the fanart and OC work you've ever made, remember the numbers, and be honest with yourself.

(And don't get me wrong, you can build fanbase that likes whatever niche stuff you put out. But again, don't be surprised that growth is slow. It's hard work.)

My art isn't 'appealing' and I'm not afraid to say that. After having my li'l claim to fame, I'm over it and don't really give a rat's ass if my art 'does well' anymore. I know I'll never have a 10k platform again because I refuse to post fanart ever again. And even on the OC side of things, my OCs do not have mass appeal. My OCs are black, fat, disabled, gnc, you name it. (My OC Kam is literally 3 and a half of these at once LOL.) Someone who draws anime women that are shaped like Men in Black aliens with balloon tits are always gonna get more attention than my characters.


Because that's literally what art is about. I draw because the art I want to see doesn't exist. If there was a huge market for what I wanna see, it'd have existed already! Then there'd be no need for li'l ol' me!

Honestly, if I didn't have such niche tastes, I prolly never woulda became an artist at all! So I thank God every day He made me a li'l weirdo because I know the world is brighter with my art in it. If making my art appealing means catering to literal strangers (that don't pay me!), then I'll continue to be unappealing.

I think we need to think less on "is my art appealing (marketable)" and think more on, "am I having fun?"

Or, "Does it matter if my art 'underpeforms'? What will having a lot of likes and followers do for me besides make me feel good?"

Or an even more harrowing one, "Can I even handle having art as a career if I can't handle the notion that my art isn't appealing to everyone?"

There's no shame in saying you can't to the last one. It's one of the biggest reasons I'm only a hobbyist, and why I only do commissions when I feel like it.

I don't wanna judged through the lens of marketability, I just wanna post when I post and sketch and doodle and be bad, try new things and share my ideas with the world.

And you should, too!