Is there something wrong with only wanting to write or draw certain things?

Graciano_Durai asks: I tell myself from time to time that I’m into something. I have a knack for drawing (NO HUMANS), Knack for Writing (War/Romance/Dystopia Fiction, NO HUMANS), but I keep replacing people with anthropomorphic animals, and my friends call me a “furry” Even though I ponder the question from time to time, what is it exactly, and could I be one?

Hi Graciano_Durai –

Well I have to admit, I’ve never heard a human called a “furry” before, but I can sure say one thing – if anyone’s a furry, I am!  I’m furry all over, even on my tummy (where some dogs are bare-skinned).  I love my fur, and I find that almost everyone loves the fact that I have it (though Handsome does sometimes yell out that he wishes I didn’t shed quite so much – especially when he’s wearing that nice black suit and I jump on him and cover it in white hairs!).

What hits me about your question is that you are discovering that you have a true artistic voice, and you have certain interests, and you are developing a style.  This is guaranteed to mean two things for you.  First, it is a glorious, wonderful occurrence, something that should be honored and envied.  All the greatest creative artists in the history of the human race had just these qualities: Homer loved lyric poetry, was fascinated with the Trojan War and its aftermath, and wrote in a style laden with symbolism, metaphor, and passion.  Van Gogh loved painting, was interested in landscapes and faces, and had a unique and fascinating style of painting that was and is unmistakably his.  Elvis Presley loved to sing, had a deep fascination with country music, gospel, and blues, and found a way to mix those genres to create some of the most loved recordings of all time, and change the course of popular music.  Isn’t this great?!

Okay, then there’s the second thing this means: People will criticize you for exactly these strengths!  I know, it’s insane!

I can’t speak for what nonsense Homer might have gone through – no one knows – but poor Van Gogh never sold a painting, and was chronically depressed, while Elvis’ popularity and uniqueness also made him a despised and (initially) heavily censored artist, blamed by millions for everything they saw as wrong with youth and the world.

My point is that it is exactly an artist’s strengths that are most criticized.

Now maybe you’ve got some growing to do in your drawing and writing.  Nothing wrong with improving at your skills.  But when people complain that you’re only interested in stories and drawings about animals, then they’re really talking about what makes your work special, and yours!

Let’s see, who else can we think of who stuck or sticks with animals in their work?  Well, Aesop of course – no humans in his fables, and I suppose he’s one of the, oh, maybe ten most famed writers in the history of the planet.  Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows remains one of the most beloved books ever, and Richard Adams’ Watership Down will likely join it over time.  And of course, A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh does have one little boy in it, but the rest of the characters aren’t just animals – they’re STUFFED ones!  Then when it comes to drawing, of course there are so many cartoons and comics centered on animals – from the classic movies about Mickey Mouse or Tom & Jerry to present-day works like Finding Nemo or the comic strip Pearls Before Swine.  These are all HUGE successes – in anyone’s eyes.

And then… you have people in your life who put you down for this, and call you names.

Well, Graciano_Durai, here’s my advice.  Sit down one day with a book of the gorgeous art of John James Audubon (who spent his life painting birds), or rent a video of Walt Disney’s Bambi (his own favorite of his many amazing movies), or read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.  And just sit back and smile – knowing that the people who are making fun of you today will likely be telling their children and grandchildren, many years from now, “I knew him way back then!”

(And please, of course, never forget – this advice came to you from a very, very furry dog!)

Can’t wait to see your work sometime!


PS:  Hey speaking of that, if you have any pictures you’d like to send in, I haven’t had any art from Pack Members in a while – I’d love to put a picture or two of yours into the next edition of our monthly newsletter The Pawprint!

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