The Eyes Have It
Do you love getting fanart for your stories? Do you love brightening other authors' days? Then Smeargle Swap is the event for you! Similar to how Catnip Circle is a review swap, Smeargle Swap is a fanart swap. How it works is simple: submit a story you'd like someone to make art for, then receive a random story back. Read that story, make a small piece of art for it, and get a piece of art back in return!
Smeargle Swap is a recurring event that can be run by anybody in the community! Check the most recent post in this thread for sign-up info for the current event. It will give you a cutoff for sign-ups; before that time, send the organizer a private message with the fic you'd like to receive art for, any content warnings that apply to it, and also any content warnings that you don't want to read, and you're in! Once the sign-up period closes, the organizer will randomly pair up all participants, then announce the pairings on Discord and in the thread. At that point, you have until the round's final deadline (usually 48 hours from assignments) to read at least one chapter of your assigned story and make a small piece of fanart for it. Once you've done that, post your art to the story's thread and send a link to the organizer so they know you've completed your assignment!
Please note that this event is welcoming to artists of all skill levels! The point of this event is to have fun spreading appreciation for the stories in the community, and the short turnaround is intended to stop people from getting too fussy with their work. Whether you've never made fanart for someone before or are an accomplished artist looking to unwind with something quick and low-stress, we'd love to have you!
Have more questions or want to run an event yourself? Check out the FAQ below. Otherwise, happy creating!
Information for Players
What kind of art can I submit?
Any kind of visual art is welcome, as long as you're able to get it/a picture of it uploaded for your author to enjoy! Digital or traditional drawing or painting, 3D modeling, graphic design, photography, sculpture--any of it is welcome for this event. The only thing this event does not accept is written work: drabbles, poems, reviews, etc.
How complex should my art be?
The organizer sets a minimum target whenever they run this event (e.g. everyone should submit a sketch, everyone should submit lineart), but if you'd like to try something fancier, feel free! However, please keep the time limit in mind. This probably isn't the place to flex your full painting with background skills.
How much of my assigned story do I read? Do I have to read this entire two million word epic?
You only need to read one chapter of your assigned story! Unlike Catnip Circle, it's possible to be matched with a story you're already caught up on; in that case, no reading required! You can create your artwork based on what you already know about the story.
There are some kinds of stories I really don't want to read. What if I get assigned to one?
For this event, we're happy to make sure that readers aren't asked to engage with content they find triggering or otherwise difficult to handle. When entering the event, please let the organizer know if there are any content warnings that you want to avoid (violence, drug use, sexual assault, etc.) and they'll be sure you don't match to a story that contains them. If the story you're assigned does turn out to contain something that squicks you out, please contact the organizer immediately and they'll arrange an alternate for you.
However, part of the point of the event is to be introduced to new stories you might not have checked out otherwise; if you simply don't like shipping fics, for example, you can't ask to have those excluded from your pool. If getting matched to a story in a genre you don't like is going to ruin the event for you, it may be better to set up art exchanges with other authors on your own, rather than play roulette with Smeargle Swap.
What if I can't get my art done in 48 hours?
If something comes up and you won't be able to finish your artwork before the deadline, please let the organizer know as soon as possible. Sometimes things happen--it's no big deal! However, you will not be able to participate in another round of Smeargle Swap until you complete your piece. If you are persistently late with your artwork, you may be barred from participating in this event in the future.
Help! I can't think of what to draw!
If you're facing down art block, here are some potential drawing options
- Your favorite scene from what you read
- A favorite or interesting character
- Some aspect of the worldbuilding: a fan-made location, pokémon, plot-relevant item, piece of technology, etc.
- Part of the story's setting
- An advertising banner for the story
- A "deleted scene": some predicament you imagine the characters might get into, but which isn't actually in the story
- A piece that captures the story's themes or atmosphere
If you're really stuck, feel free to send the organizer a message and see if they can help you think of something.
I want to participate but don't have a story/don't want art for my story. Can I submit someone else's story instead?
Yes! Be sure to get permission from the other person first, but as long as the author's fine with it, you're welcome to submit someone else's story.
Does the story I enter need to be posted on the forums?
Information for Organizers
If you want to organize your own round of Smeargle Swap, feel free--you don't need anyone's permission!
First, announce that you're opening sign-ups on Discord or send a PM to a staff member on the forums to announce it there for you. Make a post in this thread with all the necessary information: you'll need a deadline for sign-ups, a deadline for artwork, and places for your list of stories and assignments. If you like, you can also specify the baseline sort of artwork players should submit for this round (e.g. sketch, flat colors) and an optional prompt or theme. You can use this site to create countdown clocks for the end of sign-ups/art submissions without worrying about timezones.
When sign-ups close, you can use the Catnip Roller utility to get a quick assignment list. Simply enter the names of everyone participating, as well as the names of who they shouldn't match with, and then hit the big button. Update your post in the sign-up thread with assignment information, then ping the players on Discord (or ask a staff member to do it for you) to let them know to get reading!
As the art deadline approaches, it's a good idea to give people a couple reminder pings to let them know to get their artwork in. If people end up running late with their artwork, follow up with them privately to see what's going on.
If you have any questions or run into problems with your event, feel free to ask @Negrek for help!