ratcreature: navel-gazing RatCreature (navel-gazing)
[personal profile] kass prompted: "Would you talk about how you created your Ratcreature avatar (did it evolve into the current recognizable form, or have you always drawn it this way?) and what do you enjoy about having a customizable avatar of yourself?

This is going to be a bit rambly, because the origins of my avatar are something of a confluence of things.

I got my LJ in September 2002, and at that time I already had chosen "RatCreature" as my pseud for my website and generally for posting in places that were indexed by search engines, though I had used my first name on mailing lists earlier. On my website I had initially a color-shifted picture of a rat as image to go with the pseud, but that wasn't very fannish or personal and I wasn't invested in that. Icons were an important marker to recognize people, so I wanted mine to be unique and recognizable (I didn't really think I needed more than one initially, little did I know, heh), and a picture of a pet didn't fit that. Also at that particular time I didn't actually keep rats, though I had before.

Of course many fans chose pictures of their favorite characters/actors and such, but I wasn't comfortable to represent myself through photos of other people or objects or something like that, I wanted my icon to be *me* and completely mine not just a rat, but I also didn't want to use a photo of my face, in part because my LJ was for my fannish pseud not about RL. On blogs and on LJ as well many artists choose a drawn self-portrait as avatar, so I decided to do that, even though back in 2002 I hadn't drawn any fanart. There was much less fanart then, and all the art I've seen for the online media fandoms I'd been in had been very realistic art, so not suited to my style or abilities at all.

But I had drawn goofy cartoons a lot in school when I was bored in lessons, which teachers generally tolerated because I wasn't disruptive and could still follow the material and participate even while getting a lot of drawing done. Being lazy by nature I appreciated that I could get good grades without much effort and had strongly resisted any suggestions that I ought to skip grades, and I liked my classmates too for the most part, so I got a lot of doodling done. Anyway, the things I doodled were mostly funny creatures with big noses, initially just with feet and no arms, and some had trunks like these in this very old drawing. I've also always loved anthropomorphic animals, and comics with them. Not quite a furry inclination (I've never been into cosplay), but the Mary Sue self insertion characters in my early teenage fantasies looked like this.

So I generally didn't draw cartoon humans, but anthropomorphic animals and odd creatures in my cartoons. By the time I was finishing high school I regular drew creatures that looked quite similar to my avatar to represent humans, not just me but humans in general, in cartoons for our school paper and such. So naturally in our end of high school yearbook ("Abizeitung") on which committee I was (and suffered much frustration) on my personal page I drew myself like that, rather than as a cartoony human resembling me.

Anyway, when I needed a default image for LJ a few years later I thought back to that, and pretty much took the image from the second panel from the old personal page above, removed the braid, because in 2002 my hair was short and I wasn't wearing a braid like in high school, and made it smile, but I didn't really start drawing RatCreature icons just yet, I had just modified that one picture.

So I had my first icon, and it was good as default, but of course fans did a lot of things with icons on LJ in 2002/2003, There were icon memes and icon makers doing certain themes and such, and being as much of lemming as the next fan, I wanted to participate and have icons like the other fans had, but I still wanted my icons to be unique and immediately recognizable. You can see how that is something of a problem.

One of the prominent icon things at that time that many people had were [personal profile] lanning's "zen fen", with calm pictures and such. I wanted one, but still didn't want to represent myself by an object, like a pond or a zen garden. Also, in kerfluffles I'm not actually very zen (then even lessthan now), so I thought it would be funny make mine a little different, and in February 2003 I drew my zen...or not icon. You notice how the angry posture is pretty much copied from the typical Donald Duck outburst, a scan of which you can also see on my personal high school page. I think I've gotten smoother drawing my avatar with practice since then.

That sort of broke a dam, because the same month I made my first fandom themed avatar, Batman!RatCreature, because I was very much into Batman comic fandom then, and posting about that, and it seemed easy to dress up my avatar with a Batman costume, to have a fandom icon and still a recognizable image that would be me. Sort of like virtual cosplay. Free LJs had three icon slots back then, iirc, and in the Batman GIP post I said "BTW, were I using this LJ and not my blog as main journal, and thus paid for a LJ and had more icons, I would have more different moods and actions with my cartoon personality." (I had started a blog on my own website earlier and was still posting there and on LJ).

Of course with other fans being awesome and enabling, I was promptly gifted with some paid account time, and drew Happy!RatCreature as a celebratory response the same day, and the next day followed Spiderman, Superman, and a tv watching RatCreature, and that has expanded to now 136 icons.

What I still really like about my decision to stick with my avatar in variations as icons, is that all of my icons are recognizable as "me" regardless of their topic or fandom, once you are familiar with their basic "premise", even if you haven't seen that particular icon before. I like that my picture can always be me yet still be flexible and express my mood, so I don't have to be a Sad Panda one day and a Grumpy Cat the next in my images, but I am sad RatCreature and a grumpy RatCreature etc. It does take a little more effort to make new icons and to adapt icon memes and such to my theme, so that can be a bit frustrating at times, but it can also be really fun, and it has been inspiring me to draw. I'm not sure I would have started to draw anything in fandom without first venturing into fannish drawing through these doodles where I couldn't really do anything "wrong" or not get characters right or anything like that, because it is just my avatar.

GIP

Nov. 25th, 2013 02:24
ratcreature: RatCreature as Iron Man (ironman)
Well, no progress on yuletart yet, but I did manage to draw the Iron Man icon. (In the end I simply ignored the nose/faceplate issue, just coloring it like the faceplate -- just assume that if Tony had a nose like that he'd be able to invent armor seamlessly covering it or something.)

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
Four more people commented on the drawble post I made last week:
four images )

In unrelated good news, Leo's weight loss seems to have stopped or at least slowed since Friday (he moves around while I want to weigh him which increases inaccuracies), and he's been a little livelier and ventured out of the cage more the last evenings, climbing and checking out all his favorite spots instead of just sitting in the cage like a picture of misery. So I hope that he maybe wants to hang in there a little longer despite having lost his brother and last rat company.

GIP

Jul. 16th, 2011 02:22
ratcreature: RatCreature as Neal Caffrey (neal)
The last post indicated that the combination of a hat with the handcuffs would be enough to make Neal!RatCreature recognizable for people. So I hope that worked.

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Jul. 7th, 2011 01:17
ratcreature: RatCreature as Methos (methos)
A Methos!RatCreature, and for once my icon's hair does not look worse or more unnatural than the canon version. I decided to show the skull facemask as the obvious prop, even though such a mask would not fit my avatar. Just pretend it would sit above the nose somehow, or something...

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Erik Lehnsherr (erik lehnsherr)
And now the Erik!RatCreature.

pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Jun. 27th, 2011 01:13
ratcreature: RatCreatures as Magneto (magneto)
Magneto!RatCreature has been slightly trending ahead of Erik!RatCreature in my earlier poll so I finished that one first. But I'll probably finish the other too.

pencils and inks behind the cut )
ratcreature: RatCreature is conflicted, and ponders under the influence of hovering angel- and devil-RatCreatures. (conflicted)
I decided my existing X-Men icons of Cyclops and Wolverine aren't really suitable for X-Men First Class, and that I needed an Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto icon. The only problem is that I'm not sure whether to icon Magneto!RatCreature with the helmet, which has the advantage of being recognizable, but otoh helmets don't work that well with the ears, and look always silly, or Erik!RatCreature, which is less easily recognized, but fits better with XMFC and whose look I prefer. So which do you like better for an icon?

pencils sketch behind the cut )

Poll #7395 Erik!RatCreature or Magneto!RatCreature?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 12


Which sketch would make a better icon?

View Answers

Neither works.
0 (0.0%)

Erik!RatCreature
3 (25.0%)

Magneto!RatCreature
5 (41.7%)

Simply icon both.
4 (33.3%)

ratcreature: RatCreature takes a quickening (quickening)
My poor rat Leo (the one who has been struggling for some months now with antibiotics resistant myco) has stopped eating this weekend. I could coax him to eat a little bit of scrambled eggs today, but he hasn't been eating anything else since yesterday. If this continues, I will have to put him down very soon. :(

So I've been distracting myself from my rat-related heartbreak by finishing that second Highlander icon, for which I'd done the pencils a while ago.

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Apr. 23rd, 2011 22:56
ratcreature: RatCreature as Duncan MacLeod (duncan)
I was looking to distract myself with something that takes concentration, because I'm worried so much about Linus but can't do anything to help him. So I decided to draw something, but felt too frazzled for anything complicated, so the only thing I could think of was making myself a new icon. And because [personal profile] sholio has been posting about Highlander a lot, and to comment I only had my ninja icon, the first thing I could think of was making myself a Highlander icon. Hence I give you Duncan!RatCreature.

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Jul. 12th, 2010 11:11
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spock melds with RatCreature as Kirk. (mindmeld)
I've been trying to draw this one for a while, but always abandoned it, because it turns out that noses of this size are quite inconvenient when drawing a mindmeld position. Well, I guess in the RatCreature!Trekverse there's nose-nose contact on top of the hand-head contact with mindmelds and they transmit not just thoughts but also the flu...

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Jun. 7th, 2009 00:25
ratcreature: RatCreature as Uhura (uhura)
Here's my finished Uhura icon. Now I only need some idea how I could make a Kirk!RatCreature recognizable...

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Apr. 21st, 2009 22:50
ratcreature: FAIL! (fail!)
I was a bit unsure what kind of motif to choose for a "Fail!" icon. I decided to go for this one, because my avatar is a toon, and the classic toon failure is to run forward without realizing that it lost the firm ground, while the audience sees the calamity coming way earlier.

Then while drawing this, I realized that this is actually not unlike the typical "fail!" you run into (or commit yourself sometimes) in internet discussions. Also, the cliff motif is consistent with my "flail!" icon which shows a RatCreature teetering on the edge of a cliff, flailing its arms wildly, and which for some reason (probably the similar texts) got mistaken for a "fail!" icon several times. So I thought I'd make both a set.

pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Jan. 4th, 2009 00:45
ratcreature: RatCreatures as Don and Charlie (numb3rs)
I needed a Numb3rs icon. I hope they are at least sort of recognizable. Somehow Don and Charlie aren't the easiest to realize as ratcreatures.

larger version behind the cut )

GIP

Dec. 14th, 2008 16:00
ratcreature: RatCreature as Merlin (merlin)
I made a Merlin and an Arthur icon, because I'm full of squee from the season finale, and thrilled that Merlin will get a second season:
Merlin!RatCreature Arthur!RatCreature

pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Nov. 18th, 2008 22:15
ratcreature: RatCreature is nitpicking. (nitpicking)
I felt the need for a nitpicking icon. Belatedly it occurred to me that I'm not sure English has the expression about "finding a hair in every soup" for people who nitpick to find something to complain about. Still, the imagery is fairly clear, I think, so I went ahead with my motif for visualizing the activity.

I also made another icon with a RatCreature that hasn't heard right, both for the literal meaning (seriously, how can people on tv series, trained actors, mumble this much?), as well as the figurative one:


larger pencils and inks for both are behind the cut )

GIP

Nov. 10th, 2008 22:25
ratcreature: RatCreature as Minbari (minbari)
[livejournal.com profile] popfantastic's recent post reminded me of my B5 love, so I drew a Minbari!RatCreature.

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Linus: Dear Great Pumpkin,... (linus)
Still in time for Halloween, here is Linus!RatCreature, waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Unfortunately I have never been in any pumpkin patch, much less in a sincere one, so I've never gotten anything from the Great Pumpkin, but I guess there's always hope with these things...

larger inks and pencils behind the cut )

GIP

Sep. 7th, 2008 23:10
ratcreature: RatCreature as Steampunk character (steampunk)
I present you with a Steampunk!RatCreature. It lost a bit in the tiny icon size, but I hope the steam powered ray gun still comes across.

larger inks and pencils behind the cut )

GIP

Sep. 3rd, 2008 16:00
ratcreature: RatCreature is molested by tentacles. (tentacles)
I can scan stuff again, so to celebrate that I've finished the tentacle rape icon that I drew a while ago inspired in part by the SGA episode The Seed.

larger inks and pencils behind the cut )

GIP

Feb. 22nd, 2008 19:35
ratcreature: RatCreature as Sarah Connor (sarah connor)
I don't think I have posted yet about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I'm enjoying the series quite a lot so far. Thus my new SarahConnor!RatCreature icon.

larger inks and pencils behind the cut )

GIP

Nov. 28th, 2007 11:15
ratcreature: RatCreature as Aang (aang)
I just had to express my love for Avatar the Last Airbender with some icons:

Aang!RatCreature Zuko!RatCreature

larger pencils and inks behind the cut )

GIP

Aug. 19th, 2007 02:05
ratcreature: RatCreature as Borg (borg)
I've decided to go without a caption after all, so I could leave my Borg!RatCreature a bit larger. If you want to see the full effect, I put the larger and uncut inked version behind the cut.

large version of Borg!RatCreature )
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
I decided to make a Borg!RatCreature icon, because I thought it might be good for fandom pimping post, even recs and such, maybe. (Also Borg are kind of cool to draw with the tubes and machine parts and such.)

I have finished the pencils (see below), but now I'm wondering whether or not the icon to be should have some text. I thought about maybe the obvious, like "Resistance is futile!" or "You will be assimilated." but then wondered whether that was even necessary? Or maybe someone has an idea for something wittier? I am indecisive. Help? Opinions?

pencils of a Borg!RatCreature )

GIP

Aug. 13th, 2007 20:50
ratcreature: RatCreature as Ronon (ronon)
I've drawn a Ronon!RatCreature for my SGA icon set.

larger pencils and inks are behind the cut )

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