My students aren't on Deviant art, but I know all about it- I am a
young enough art teacher to have been an anime obsessed high school
student myself, once upon a time.
I absolutely agree with the statement that the kids who draw Japanese
animation use it as a sort of therapy, due to the repeated themes of
the unpopular teen overcoming unusual and trying circumstances. I
believe that, like all things, anime should be done in moderation. It
is sad when a creative student gets stuck in that anime rut, and
becomes unwilling to try other things. I knew a girl in my art
conservatory in college who was still stuck there. Her thesis was a
Japanese anime theme, but she did not go very far with it, and she was
ripped to shreds by our peers when we had The Big Critique.
However, there are also many many artists who have made a career as
both animators, illustrators, and fine artists in the contemporary art
world out of Japanese style cartooning:
this was always one of my favorite examples of a contemporary Japanese
artist who uses his style and skill as a true art form, and not just a
Students need to understand that such an art form can exist as fine
art, but only if they push it beyond the usual boundaries. If all
they want to do is school girl drawings with big sad eyes, they should
consider how they can utilize elements of technical skill to make
their drawings more original both aesthetically and thematically.
Their favorite animators definitely did a TON of work in life drawing,
anatomic studies, and realistic rendering. Anime artists, like any
successful artist, must learn the rules before they can successfully
So if your student is trapped in the anime dome, maybe explaining this
and showing them some examples will help motivate them to step out of
the trap, and want to challenge themselves.