• Invader Zim Creator: Draw Ponies, Be Successful!

    This is a really cool one.  The creator of Invader Zim wrote a short article on his Tumblr about getting noticed in the art world.   The main point he tries to get across is pretty simple, draw what is popular! Aside from mentions of cute female Link, and Star Wars, the big one he suggest is My Little Pony.

    We have seen a few pony artists get absorbed into making money off it.  Megasweet nailed a deal with Welovefine a while back for the silhouette wallpaper designs.

    So if you artists out there ever find yourselves sitting in front of a half finished sketch of Twilight Sparkle battling it out with an Ursa Major, or Rainbow Dash making out with [INSERT PONY OBJECT HERE], don't question your direction in life;  embrace it and become popular!

    He posted a followup too! 


    1. Invader zim was my favorite show from... wow, how long ago was it... 2004? that's not even that old...

    2. I, ah, I'm pretty sure he's being sarcastic. :P

    3. Now if only writing was as profitable, life would be complete.

    4. ...You got the sarcasm behind that post, right?

    5. I fucking love Invader Zim (nothing else to say)

    6. @Croswynd
      I can't brohoof to something so dissapointing, but I agree.

    7. Well I thought I was first... points hoof above.... great advice from a great artist...


    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Thank Celestia that I got no artistic talent whatsoever. Don't have to put up with stuff like that. xD

    10. Someone's bitter about commercial art. :D

      Ironic that MLP itself had an episode on how much it sucks to be a commercial artist, even if it was more about pain-in-the-ass client relations than originality vs bottom line/playing it safe.

      Reminds me of this old blog post http://jacobminkoff.com/2011/07/11/omgponies111/

    11. @Nixitur True, but he is saying that for anyone to give a damn you need to appeal to their interests. That is a very nice ideal, but it is not true right now.

    12. I can tell he was being sarcastic.

    13. Either it's sarcasm or he's really mad that original works are ignored.

      A more, diplomatic thing to say to an aspiring artist wanting to get noticed, "There's a reason the term, starving artist, was coined."

      He's the guy behind INVADER FREAKING ZIM, so when he tells people to stop trying to be original, he is most likely being sarcastic. It seems Seth didn't quite get that. Neither did I at first, but I think I do now.

      Drawing what is popular because it's popular and for money is really just being mainstream and selling out.
      I'm guessing my view on art is very idealistic, but I really don't give a shit. Telling people to "stop trying to do anything new and do some Pony art already" just leads to stagnation.

    15. From what I can tell, he was saying it's a necessary evil and was not a good thing.

    16. I'd say he's just being his usual cynical self, but then I remember the near-nonexistent reception my original work has had, and I realize he has an unfortunately valid point.

    17. As someone who got his start drawing what was popular at the time (except that I liked all that stuff, not to fit in. I didn't even know how to work the internet at the time. XD), let me say that it's great to be accepted at first, but soon enough, the humanoids start expecting you to do nothing BUT drawing that stuff. Whenever you deviate from it, be it the next popular thing, your own original thing, or whatever comes to your creative mind, the number of those so-called 'fans' starts to dwindle immensly until there's none left.

      Soon enough, there's no one at all, and you'll be right back where you started.

      "It's fine." You say? "It'll all be fine! I'll just draw that popular stuff again that got me here in the first place and they'll all love me again!"

      Trust me, that doesn't work. Not only are they gone for good, but it's not quite as satisfying the second time around knowing how fickle your 'fans' are.

      Stuff like this makes me wonder exactly how many of JJ's fans come for the pony and stick around for The Lounge.

      (Sorry to go all downer. I realize this is something of a joke article by the guy, but the whole thing just touched a sore spot with me.)

    18. Follow up to my last link that's also relevant, for those interested:


      From the mouth of the pony fan that brought you Uncharted 3!

    19. @Nixitur
      He wasn't being sarcastic. He was saying, the only way to get noticed in the art world is to draw what is popular (which is true) and this sucks (which is also true). He's saying you should do it if you want to get noticed, not if you want to do anything good.

      Think of it like politics. You can be very successful if you lie and sell out all you believe in and look sincere while you do it. That's not a good thing either.

    20. I think it was a mix of sarcasm combined with the reality of it.

      At least it sounds like common sense from my perspective to draw what people care about as opposed to something random for the sake of being noticed.

      Once you are in the position of being relevant though, you can probably sneak your own creations out.

    21. @Sethisto HAHAHAHAHA look its a blogpony voicing his opinion! WE FUCKING LOVE YOU SETH

    22. How about a medium amount of sarcasm? Not too little, not too much, just right!

    23. Jhonen Vazquez is a dickhead tool, that likes to believe he's a dickhead that's avoided being a tool.

    24. He's right though. Fanart gets way more exposure than original stuff, especially on places like deviantart.
      It's kind of a shame, but at the same time, fanart is enjoyable to do, and is often more of an inspiration than anything else. And drawing ponies is just so fun!

    25. Pretty cool, Invader Zim is awesome show!

    26. Yeah, it seems a little embarrassing to have this posted as a "to do." The linked post is cynical, sarcastic, and not meant to be taken as a recommendation for aspiring artists who actually want to create something purely original.

    27. I loved Invader Zim. It was and still is one of my favorite shows.

      Though, I don't like the notion of drawing simply to become popular or to try and get rich off it. I had some friend a while back say he only draws to be popular and well-known and it still sticks with me now. As an artist myself, it honestly kinda irks and upsets me to hear other artists say they only draw for popularity or money. That shouldn't be your motivation for drawing. You should draw because you love to. Not because you want others to like you or to cash in on it. I'm not saying it's bad to make money off your art period. I think that's perfectly reasonable. But please, please don't use your skills, your talent, simply as a way to try and garner popularity and fame. That shouldn't be your motivation as an artist.

    28. This is true, too true! Always start with fanart that a lot of people will get, build up watchers, write journals/interact with your watchers and others who comment on your art (to build familiarity and likeability), then if you are confident enough post the best of your origanal art. With luck, your watchers like it. (Oh and also join clubs and submit your works there for more views)

      Of course there are a small amount of incredibly amazing/funny/deep artists that can just post their original works right off the bat and they get thousands of faves. They are the expection.

    29. I love Jhonen Vazquez even if he is extremely sarcastic and sometimes is a dickhead

    30. Well that's a pretty bitter-sounding commentary. The fact remains, however, that he is correct.

      I love writing fiction. I love writing fiction that other people read. To do that, here are my options.

      I can write origianl fiction try to get it published, which will probably not happen. I can put it on a blog, for a few people to read.

      Or I can write a MLP fanfic for a pre-existing audience of hundreds of thousands and have it featured on one of the highest-traffic websites in America.

      Readership for option 1: a few dozen

      Readership for my story The Contest, after six days: approximately 10,000

      So yeah, sarcastic or not, his point is valid. I wish it weren't true but if you're an amateur writer or artist, the best way to get exposure is to create for audiences that already exist.

      And before we all feel sad for ourselves, haven't artists been doing this for thousands of years? Some of the great works of historical art are based on Greek mythology. Michaelangelo's Sistene Chapel is based on the creation myth of the Bible. If you can produce art or literature or music based on a good idea, that showcases your original contributions and entertains people, what exactly is wrong?

    31. @BlackWidower

      I think it would be more correct to say that he was being sarcastic, but that, like all good sarcasm, there are elements of truth in what he's saying. He was being sarcastic in that he's not literally intending to tell people that they should give up being original and just draw what's popular, as though he actually thinks that's a good idea that everyone should follow. His point was basically that he thinks it's complete BS how original work gets ignored in lieu of people following the crowd.

      And yeah, this is unfortunately true. I've done original stuff before and got nowhere, and then when I started doing pony stuff, all of a sudden there was a natural audience for it, and people started liking it and signing on to see more. Unlike Jhonen, I don't personally see a problem with this, though - I figure, if I can do something that makes people happy when they see it, then it was all worth doing, regardless of whether they'll all abandon me in the end. After all, just about every work of art, whether original or not, will one day be forgotten.

      So in a sense I kind of find his statement a bit of a funny situation. I know Jhonen Vasquez well enough to know that this is him being extremely bitter about the state of art, not him actually giving advice, but on the other hand, I think that that bare facts of what he says actually aren't really bad advice at all. Most of us aren't going to make it anywhere in the art world whether or not we do original work... so, why not just do what makes us and others happy in the here and now?

    32. http://jhonenv.tumblr.com/post/12491040215/getting-noticed-the-prequel

      He elaborated on it. Pretty much, he wasn't being sarcastic, he was being facetious. So yeah, he's a dick, but he's a correct dick.

    33. @WizardWannabe

      "Fanart gets way more exposure than original stuff."

      Er ... the Louvre is one museum. It contains only original art. It gets 15,000 visitors per day, who pay a lot of money to see these art works in person. One of those artworks, for example, is colloquially called the Mona Lisa. Google tells me there are at least 3.5 million digital copies of it on the internet. It is probably viewed billions of times per year, in one form or another, and is immediately recognizable to billions of people around the world. Also, contrary to popular belief, many famous original artists did not die in poverty (like Van Gogh). Picasso was a very rich man. So was Warhol. Da Vinci enjoyed the patronage of the king of France. Even today, original artists are creating art and being recognized.

      Anyway, my point is that outside of the small world of this fandom, original art can and does happen. Millions of artists are creating it every day. Some of them will get noticed and recognized for it, and will become successful.

      This post is extremely cynical and I personally don't believe it has any place here. I love pony fanart, and all this does is cast aspersions on what is a fun thing to do, that doesn't take anything away from original art being created everywhere.

    34. I completely agree with what Lupus Albus linked to.
      If you limit your work to what is popular and what gets you money for the sake of being popular or getting money, I wouldn't call it "art". That kind of work is not an expression of yourself, but an expression of popular culture which you use purely to get noticed.
      Commission work falls under this, for example. The result of that work isn't something created of your own accord, but of someone else's.
      Don't get me wrong, that work can still be masterfully done and I can certainly appreciate it. But it is NOT art!

      If the results of your artistic expression (regardless of its content's popularity) by some lucky coincidence coincides with what is popular and what gets you money, then that's great for you because you can still make art which would get you money.
      But if you do it BECAUSE it's popular and BECAUSE it gets you money, then you are a sell-out, not an artist.

      Now, this probably doesn't change much for most people who create work based on Friendship Is Magic. You probably draw those pictures and write those fanfics because you LIKE the source material, not because of its popularity or possible monetary gain.
      But if you're one of those people who couldn't care less about ponies and just draw pictures of ponies because you want to get money, then get out of my sight.

    35. @Cold in Gardez

      Cold in Gardez, I really like your works of fiction.

      That said, readership for "The Contest" = thousands.

      Readership for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone = billions (earning billions and billions of dollars at the same time).

      The real market exists for original work. Don't let this cynic discourage one single person from creating, or writing original work. I can't stress strongly enough how much I disagree with this post.

      At the same time, all fan artists, please continue to create your brilliant, brilliant artworks. Just don't feel like you can't leave the safety of the fandom.

    36. His email reply to said Artist might clear some things up more so than his first tumblr reply...probably.


    37. He is not joking, and it is actually good advice. OC Drawing 568,290,216 on DA is not going to spread around much, but Pony Meme 1^18 is going to be posted on the chans, blogs, and various DA groups. Unless you are a phenomenal artist right out of the gate like CrookedTrees, than hoping on a bandwagon while creating some OC is a good way to at least grow your audience.

      There are several artists I follow now due to seeing their Adventure Time work on /c/. It may not be pretty but it's the truth :(

      At least all the ponies should help cheer you up.

    38. Some of the comments here are a little disheartening. It sounds like we have a great many cynics and people who want popularity and to get noticed more than drawing what they feel right, or what they enjoy. It's saddening. But I knew it existed here. It does everywhere. -Especially- online.

      I understand wanting to make money off it to be able to live in a place other than the streets. But if you only draw what others want you to... to me, that just feels like a waste of talent. To never draw original works or things you would enjoy drawing yourself. It must be a sad state of affairs. And it is. I too think he's being rather sarcastic and cynical in this. It's more than obvious he is. If you can't tell that, you need to reread it until you do. I also sense some honestly in it too though. It's true. It seems more artists who simply draw what's popular get noticed more easily than others who draw their own original works. But there are artists out there who do good on their original material. It does happen. You don't simply have to be a sheep to get noticed. It's easier, sure. But it's not the only way. And being original only pushes you to work harder to improve your skills to reach that pinnacle of success.

      I just hope there are some artists still out there who believe you can be successful, even if you follow the beat of your own drum.

    39. uuum Seth sweetie, he was being EXTREMELY sarcastic it was not a serious recommendation under ANY possible means it could be a recomendation

      he is just being sarcastic with how popularity works and even explains himself further on another post saying that doing fanart is ok but the important audience is the one that appreciates your original work

      Im still baffled at how someone could though it was a serious recommendation by him (specially if it were people following him, I mean jesus he is freaking Vasquez how can someone think he was being serious with what he said?)

      sigh my brain hurts because of this
      inb4 dumb bronies go complaining and sending mean and stupid emails because of what he said because they didn't understand his point and missed the OBVIOUS sarcasm
      would not be surprised at all

    40. This is unfortunately very true. A lot of my DeviantART gallery at the moment is filled with paintings and vignettes that took me hours to create for my school and maybe four people ever notice it.

      Fast forward to my cover for my story revealing, and people actually started to take notice of my work. If I would have kept making pony works along with my normal pieces, I would be making a pretty decent chunk of change from commissions.

      I wish the works that I'm proud of would get me attention, but to be noticed for those requires a mastery of artistic skill, something I don't currently possess. If I wanted to be popular now, I'd fill my gallery with as many pony images as John Joseco, but I don't want to risk any legal actions when it comes to selling fan works.

      Maybe someday when I'm really hurting for money, but the more I can keep ponies a recreational thing rather than a business venture the better.

    41. @Octavia

      And I liked you before.

    42. @Octavia

      Now I REALLY like ... your mane? Or at least your post.

    43. to make a point this is the important part of what he said answering a second email

      "I get it myself all the time when I post something that ISN’T ZIM or JTHM related. It’s just the way things are, but that’s no reason to get discouraged away from putting your original work out there.
      Me, I’ve never seen your original vs homage work, so I have no idea if you’re just a horrible artist or what, and maybe that’s why you don’t get noticed. Maybe you’re AMAZING, but your fanart is more amazing because of that, and your original stuff, in comparison, is amazing, but without the added benefit of being familiar AND amazing. I dunno! Either way, do whatever the hell makes you happy and maybe you’ll strike up some fine line between doing what makes you happy and having that just happen to be what people want to see from you.
      GOOD LUCK, and I know it sounds stupid, but have fun, even if it makes other people sad."

      he is being completely honest and encouraging on that weird way that he has (like when he talks about his fans or conventions)

      if everything people want is attention then fanart is the way,yeah, but if they want attention for their original work they will have to understand that the familiar and popular attracts more people because of a connection that already exist but that shouldn't be a discouragement to the artist, since the people that will appreciate their originals, those are the ones that really matter

    44. wow, i didn't think this would actually have it's own post, glad i emailed

    45. @ponydoraprancypants
      Well, I was only speaking from experience. Nothing I've done ever got as much exposure as the pony fanart I've made.
      When I said fanart gets more exposure, I didn't know you'd equate that to some of the most historically famous pieces of artwork. I was referring to the internet, and like my example, deviantart.

    46. Interesting..

      Good thing I'm getting a Wacom this christmas. Who knows? Maybe it'll pay itself off one day! xD

    47. I know this is somewhat random but the picture for this article has me fascinated. Is it like a one-off image or is there a story this was taken from and someone drew it?

    48. @WizardWannabe

      The point is that only original art will ever be historically significant (or for that matter, significantly lucrative). You won't get in the history books for the number of "favs" or "likes" you get on forums populated largely with fellow fans; nor can you feed your family with $20 deviant art commissions.

      Take it from someone who has worked his way from nothing into the "1%" in this country by convincing people that his original ideas are valuable.

      Seriously though, I love fanart. It's just striking how far over EQD's blogger's head Mr. Vasquez' original post flew, and now we have this post on the main page making us look like a bunch of rubes.

    49. that is the main reason my papercrafts are and always will be free. i know people follow me just for the ponies but the models are made to be a fun and a challenging project. i will never get money/points from it because i am really crappy artist.i like to share because some people enjoy making the models, i know i will never be famous or something, that things only happens to talented people. then i post my other draws that i normally do.making the papercraft models is a hobby.
      i know when i finish my list, i will be alone again, i do not care, because i have my deviantart account for backup of all i make.
      i growed up with jhonenV works, i really appreciate and used to admire the guy, even if i now find him really annoying at times. :D

    50. ponydoraprancypants. The fact is every artist is not going to get their stuff in the Louvre. Not every writer is going to become JK Rowling. The majority are going to have to have their attempts of fame of that magnitude fall flat on their faces.

      At the end of the day, all you can do is do what you truly enjoy. Does the prospect of one day being spotted out and your work being known by millions help you tough out the constant failures? KEEP IT GOING. Are you tired of being ignored and would even take fame for drawing derivative works? GO FOR IT. Do what YOU enjoy as an artist.

    51. @metaXzero

      I agree with you and I would never tell people to stop creating fanart, and if you read my posts you'll see that I told people to keep it up multiple times. Especially if it makes you happy.

      However, the next Rowling, Grisham, King, Rodin, Monet or Michelangelo could be any one of us, and we might never know it if that person doesn't create original artwork. I only want to remind people to never give up on their original works in the name of fleeting popularity and recognition.

      I feel that this blog post does a disservice by not stating that.

    52. I don't hear a bit of sarcasm in this. I'm not exactly the best artist, but I can definitely tell you my original stuff has less than 100 views on DA where all the pony stuff has 200-1000 views.

      I also noticed that comics just explode compared to regular art. The only comic I've drawn is really crappy compared to my traditional stuff, but that comic has the most views of anything I've done. So I know that if I want to be noticed, I need to draw comics.

    53. Jhonen is a sarcastic little bitch, but he actually does have a point. The trick is to get popular drawing popular stuff, but be good enough that people hang around to look at your other crap.

    54. I never understood the idea of drawing or writing things you might not personally love is somehow "selling out."

      You can always work on and cherish your original vision and still do things for pay in the man time. Even Mark Twain wrote for shitty newspapers and did travel logs to keep a living while he worked on his opuses.

    55. The funny thing is I think hes right. I captioned (Well, I wish I knew the proper term - The text was in the pic, Not below it) A still image from Lesson Zero of crazy Twilight and the text said "Will you be my friend?". The pic ended up being featured in the Brony section for Memebase with 600 or more votes. I didn't upload it there though, I only uploaded it to Ponychan and Ponibooru. But it goes to show you how something can become popular, Its so ridiculously easy when you do it right its like you're not even trying - It just works.

    56. ^ The above comment was posted without reading the article that's mentioned. If you draw what's popular then yes you have a better chance of being noticed. But at the same time you need something that appears special.

    57. [tangentially related rant]It's funny how this applies to music, too.

      Cover bands make good money, original bands sometimes get roped into having to pay to play. Mostly because venues don't want to promote their own shows and make bands go out and sell tickets for them. If they don't sell a certain amount, the rest comes out of their pocket. Can't stand it.

      [/tangentially related rant.]

    58. Stop Ly- er... Ms. Heartstrings! I think that's the wrong hoof to graft that hand to!

    59. I see he was joking, but as the great Jimbo once said: "Every joke has it's degree of truth"

    60. Drawing what is popular is so true.
      A number of artists are getting followers just by being associated with MLP. A number of youtube videos are getting more views than they should just because the subject matter is MLP.

    61. what mr. vasquez is saying is clear and understandable enough, i mean, as an artist, you have to submit your work to the judgement of others, and the easiest way to satisfy your watchers is to give them something they want... i'm not saying it's a good thing, artists should be free to draw what they want, and they should be judged in a fair way, for the art itself... but it's hard to get people's attention by drawing random things, i mean, think of deviantart: people are much more likely to notice your works if you draw something 'popular' than if you draw only original stuff... of course, the technique, inspiration and originality (even for something that ain't originally from the artist like fanart) are always important, so there are multiple variables and heck, even a bit of luck involved.

    62. please notice that i'm not saying that drawing fanart 'almost-exclusively' is a bad thing... i mean, if i was a good artist, i'd draw tons of it, but not to become popular and stuff, but because i enjoy it, and that's the most important thing for an artist: to draw what you want to draw, what your inspiration tells you to.

    63. i dunno if i agree with sethisto (no offense)... once you have followers, fans and stuff due to something like fanart (for instance), it's hard to do something different and still satisfy them... afterall, the reason they started to follow your work is because you gave them something they liked... doing original stuff is always risky.

      on the other hand, once you become popular enough, people will be more likely to praise your works, no matter the theme, since you showed them what you got, what you're capable of.

    64. And when the patient woke up...her SKELETON was missing, and the doctor was never heard from again!

    65. Awesome!

      That's exactly what I'm doing with artwork now. Good to discover I'm going in the right direction.

    66. I was at some point annoyed that only my video game related flashes got any attention back in the day, which partially contributed to me quitting Flash then since I wanted to get my original stuff more out in the open.

      Now look at me. I'm doing ponies. :p

    67. Okay fine, I'll finish my filly Luna and Discord drawing!

    68. My take is that you should draw what you like. And I happen to like drawing ponies!

      (Conversely, I'm not big on video games, so you probably won't see any vidgame fanart from me, unless its Atari's Kangaroo, Universal's Mr. DO!, or Parasol Stars).

    69. @Smokey Treble Whoa, really? I wouldn't have thought that about music. You'd usually have to drag me kicking and screaming (or at least sighing and rolling my eyes) to see a cover band,even if they're covering music I like. But if it's original music, I'm usually willing to at least give them a shot.

    70. @Dunesfara
      A large part of it is down to the area I'm in. Actually about an hour outside of NYC. In the city you won't find many cover bands, but we're lousy with them out here in suburbia.

    71. I realized that two days ago, when I found out that http://dirtiran.deviantart.com/ 's most viewed images are .. ponies. It's a bit outrageous.

    72. Irony indeed that he's immortalized as "that guy who did Invader Zim" and not for, say, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.

    73. Pfft. Invader Zim. Dumbest show of it's time. I don't say ever, because although it's pretty dang close, the teen drama crap on disney nowadays is just a bit worse. It's still on the air.

    74. lmfao I remember being in middle school and thinking that J:tHM was some deep shit. Thank Celestia that we eventually move on from that shitty time which is called seventh grade.

      Anyway, gotta agree with Vasquez here...Although his little spiel is ironic since his work is so derivative. I wonder if Seth realized that Vasquez was being satirical, although I guess Vasquez was much nicer/less bitter in his followup.