I guess now's as good a time as any to get something off my chest. Criticism is as much a vital part of artistic growth as actually putting an image down on paper, and I don't mean that lightly. Precise, meaningful criticism of my past work has greatly helped me to not only improve (and will continue to help me improve into the future), but has allowed me to finally reach a decent plateau of confidence in my ability; a place in which I'm not spending hours staring blankly at my screen second-guessing every little mark I've made.

But there is one particular criticism that, personally, cuts me to my very core: 'uncanny valley.' I tried to cut whatever rantings have been buzzing around in my head lately down to a few paragraphs, so here's the shortest version I can manage.

While the criticism has never failed to get my goat the few times it's been brought up (and if one person's saying it out loud, many others are thinking it), I have tried my best to learn from it and move past it. It used to burn me up inside when a cheap copypasta work I put out got so much more attention and praise that pieces I had literally spent weeks on, but I saw the underlying flaws in those big pieces and realized that in many cases, more effort does not equal more quality. I learned, I adapted, and eventually settled on a reduced style that seems to make both the viewer and myself generally happier.

And now that I feel like I've found my stride with my own personal style - using a decent mix of realistic and cartoonish proportions as well as shading / detailing - I don't feel I can simplify it down much more without sacrificing its personality. So at this point, I take an 'uncanny valley' criticism to be as empty and nebulous as someone calling something 'overrated;' I can't fix what I can't identify, and even if I could I probably wouldn't want to.

Which leads me to the real issue I take with the 'uncanny valley' criticism: it reinforces what's probably the most negative stereotype I had about this site, which is that too many people - maybe even the majority - care exclusively about anime and will not suffer any other art style. It's an assumption that, fair or not, made me anxious for a long time over whether or not I'd ever truly fit in here and if I should just cut my losses and try my luck with a different community. It's also an assumption that countless good, supportive members of this community have (unknowingly) worked very hard to dispel with me. And I'd rather not let one simple two-word criticism push back against their good nature.

So, bottom line: if you critique my work with 'uncanny valley,' at best I will ignore it. At worst, I will...I dunno, scowl menacingly at my monitor, and possibly vent to a close friend about it. I'm not a vindictive person and won't be planning elaborate acts of vengeance if you should bring it up, and I don't want to make anyone who has brought it up in the past feel guilty over it ^^ Seriously, no one had any way of knowing it affected me this way. I just thought it fair play to be open about how much it wounds me to hear that. You are more than within your right to feel that way about my work and vocalize your opinion as such, and I am more within my right to take issue with it.