There’s a movie based on viral internet spooky horror phenomenon Slender Man coming out soon (August 24th, to be exact). For those of you who don’t know, Slender Man was a simple concept created via photomanipulation for an internet comedy forum (yes, I’m part of that forum and I was there to witness the legendary birth) by user Victor Surge (Eric Knudsen). It’s classified as “creepypasta” (Creepypasta derives from the term copypasta, which is a take on “copy-paste”, but that’s a discussion for another time), and was originally created in response to a Photoshop thread where people were making ordinary photos into creepy ones. There, Slender Man was born. From out of that came the Marble Hornets story, along with tons and tons of fanart and fan pieces which developed the story of Slender Man and what he might have been.
For some reason, at some point, I decided to do a fan piece for Slender Man. I don’t usually do a lot of fanart, but I remember sitting in one of my digital labs at college and opening up Photoshop out of boredom and doodling my first Slender Man piece. I drew it with a mouse which made it really rough and not so great (or so I thought). It came out scribbly, and on a whim I uploaded it to my DeviantART account, and my Tumblr. It didn’t do well on Tumblr so I shrugged it off — some dumb thing that took me two seconds to make. I didn’t really think much of it. But on DeviantART it started to garner comments and favorites like wildfire…
Don’t know what was so impressive about it! But it’s still, to date, one of my most commented on and favorited works. Some time, a couple of years later, I was getting fed up with the foot traffic that piece was getting. I could do better, I thought. This was in no way indicative of my drawing style. So I drew up a second piece, a lot cleaner and a lot more effort into it in 2012.
Again, didn’t do excellent on Tumblr, but for some reason on DeviantART, it really took off… Not was much as the first one, but still far more than my usual art does. I just kind of left them there and didn’t really think much of it. Every once and a while I’d get requests to use it in a blog (which I’m happy to do as long as people give credit and link back to me) here and there, it just kept racking up favorites and comments and the like. Eventually they tapered off and I stopped getting new favorites or comments, so I just sort of forgot all about it.
Then the other night I was looking at my Pinterest analytics and I noticed a lot of reposts of either of my Slender Man works. I decided to reverse Google Image Search and lo, I found quite a few uses of my Slender Man works, including, but not limited to: free wallpapers available for your phone, used to promote 4 (!) game-type apps for your phone, used without credit or link back on more than one blog, used on various creepypasta wikis, and other things. After firing off a couple of DMCA emails (I don’t mind when people repost my things with proper credit, it’s when they try to profit off of it that I get upset), I started to think… Maybe I should put this up on my site somewhere so if someone GIS searches for it, they can find the original artist. Yes, they’re still up on DeviantART and Tumblr, but a blog post would do nicely, wouldn’t it?
I also started thinking… This art (among others) has been around since nearly the beginning of the Slender Man craze. It’s kind of crazy to think that maybe the creators of the new movie used my art as sort of conceptual art to help them build the movie poster and the actual visuals for the film. A very likely possibility! Neat, right?