This is just something I've noticed which has been bothering me. First off, please read this DISCLAIMER:
I am not saying that the submission rules some groups have put up for artwork are bad or stupid or whatever.
I am not saying that groups with the submission rules mentioned below are narrow-minded or evil.
I am not saying I am in the right and everyone who disagrees is in the wrong.
These are my opinions only.
If you disagree, reply civilly and let's work towards a solution together. We are on the same team here.
I've been noticing quite a few groups, especially large ones that get a lot of submissions daily, creating rules limiting the "quality" of artwork that they accept. Now this is totally understandable because these groups get a lot of submissions every day, and if they accepted everything, it would be no different than the front page of DeviantArt.
What bothers me, however, are that many of the rules are about the "quality" of the artwork. There are things like, "it needs to have a lot of details," "hard perspectives are a plus," "no two-tone shading," and "no black-and-white drawings." It's fine to set up rules like this to limit images to reflect the theme of the group, but to use these rules as definitions for what good art is is detrimental in my opinion.
I've submitted and had my drawings declined before. Confused, I went to the group's page (which, admittedly, I should have done before submitting) and saw rules about quality like the ones stated above. Please don't misinterpret this as a rant from a bitter person who had their artwork declined. I am okay with being declined as I've had a lot of both criticisms and critiques about my drawings and am generally not the type to care about small things like this. I am sharing this bit of information with you to let you know that I have experienced this and had I been younger and not had all the great art teachers I've had, I would have followed these rules religiously. I would have believed that good art must have heaps of details, dynamic perspectives, tetra-tone shading, and all these other things.
This brings me to my main concern. There are a lot of young, developing artists on this website. There are also a lot of those with low self-esteem. To have these arbitrary rules be taught to them as definitions of "good" art is detrimental to their development. Certainly, there are amazing artwork that have things like intricate details, powerful perspectives, and life-like rendering. I don't claim to have the slightest clue what "good" art is, but I do know that it isn't limited to those rules. Can you say that Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix is not moving, deep, and powerful simply because the lines are few? Can you say that art deco isn't inspiring simply because many of its images feature limited palettes? Restricting the definition of "good" art -- if there can be such a definition -- to a few rules, especially rules as rigid as the ones I've mentioned above, is like me saying there's only one way to live.
So, where do we go from here? I don't have any great solutions. I'm not against groups having rules on the types of artwork they accept. By all means, feel free to write rules like "We only accept artwork with a lot of details," or "Only submit colorful pictures here." People who appreciate those things should have a central place to find artwork like that. And I'm also not saying that groups who have written these types of rules are narrow-minded or evil. I'm sure they wrote them with good intentions and simply didn't realize that young artists may misinterpret them. I just hope that these rules can be changed. Writing them like they define "quality" artwork is misleading and will stifle creativity in the bud.
I know this is long and I apologize for that. Please, if you feel the same way, let your friends know. If you have any other ideas for solving this dilemma, let me know. If you manage an art group, please consider re-writing your rules to whatever with which you are comfortable but that also hopefully encourages young artists to explore what art means to them.
Be kind, be understanding, and be open to new ideas. Let's talk about this.