Am I censoring my own Dragon Sex Calendar?
I've gotten a couple emails recently from customers who were wondering why a couple of pieces of artwork had pixelated areas. See the images of the artwork in question below, followed by an explanation:
Ever since the inception of the calendar, the idea has always been to have the artwork be silly and to make people giggle--even if the artwork is presented in a beautiful, high-fantasy style. The intent has never been to make "dragon porn" per say, though if someone is "turned-on" by the artwork, that's great. Seriously, to each their own. I am a sex-positive person and this is a sex-positive product.
I work with artists from all over the world. In fact, to the majority of artists I work with, English is their second language. Communicating to said artists that the artwork "shouldn't be too graphic," can be difficult since I am in fact asking them to create artwork showing dragons having sex. I basically ask them to create art that is hard R-rated, or Skinemax®-style. I tell them "no dragon boobs, dicks, or vaginas." Even though I've very clear about my expectations, the occasional nipple or dick slips through. Which is why I end up pixelating those portions in Photoshop.
When it comes to marketing the calendar, pixelation can actually be a benefit. Last year my Calendar was featured on DangerousMinds.net. The header image they chose to use (at the time, it's different now) was the artwork used for October of the 2017 Calendar. While you could tell the dragons were having sex, there were no dicks, boobs, or vaginas showing. But, the designer who created the post decided to pixelate the "sex area" anyway, which ended up adding what I felt was a lot of humor to the image. Rather than pixelation being a censoring tool it ended up bringing a lot of humor to the artwork. See the comparison below.
Marketing the Dragon Sex Calendar can be tricky, especially on social media. Facebook and Instagram are pretty clear about the type of imagery that is allowed to be used for marketing purposes. This year, in fact, I had to pixelate every "sex area," even if nothing X-Rated was happening. Being careless can result in bad things. For instance, the original Instagram account for the Dragon Sex Calendar was shut down last year. Pinterest closed my account out of the blue a week ago for showing "uncensored" scenes of dragon sex. I need to tread very lightly when it comes to marketing, which is why I play it safe and pixelate everything.
I hope this helps to explain! I'm not really censoring my own products, rather I'm ensuring they stay R rated--which was the original intent.
Please comment below if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!