What is a recolorer? A recolorer is a person who takes a picture from a Sonic the Hedgehog game or television show and makes it into their own boring fan character. A fan character, by the way, is a character made by a fan, both the original artists and recolorers. The fact of the matter is recolorers are lame, uncreative art thieves that have no business on the internet at all. Or, at least, that is what I thought. The real truth is that recolorers, for lack of a better term, are harmless, very creative, and probably one of the most misunderstood art forms in the world. I intend to prove this statement.
People think recolorers are just lazy because they do not draw their pictures. They say that only a few colors are changed and the rest is left the same. They also think they are unoriginal . . . a dime a dozen. If you have seen one then you have seen them all. They think recolorers have no imagination and cannot come up with their own stories. They feel that recolorers are always “trying to be Shadow the Hedgehog.” The background story always has them losing their families or love ones, just like Shadow. They are always trying to do the ultimate thing, just like Shadow. Many feel that the characters in the stories just seem to pop out of nowhere. There is no story to introduce them or any story-line that seems to bring them in to the story. They come in out of nowhere, saying “I am your long-lost relative. Where I have been does not really matter; the point is that I am here now.” It is felt that recolorers steal pictures from television shows and do not really try to hide it. They do not really have permission or give credit for using these pictures. A lot of these people are judging too quickly. Most of these criticisms are only half-truths.
A lot of people think recolorers are lazy because they do not draw their own characters. This is false because recoloring is not easy; it is actually a lot of hard work. It is not uncommon to get hand cramps while recoloring. Some pictures can take over four days to recolor. Just because they do not draw the main body does not mean they do not draw everything. For example, the hair may be drawn longer on a character. They could add things like a hat or a tail. A majority of recolorers that I know will change facial expressions also. That is not an easy thing to do – trust me. These additions or deletions may seem like a small thing when you look at the finished product, but they take a lot of time and effort. Recolorers are not lazy. They just do work that can easily blend in with the beginning product. That can be a lot harder than just drawing one for yourself, because you need to make sure it blends well with what you are keeping of the original picture.
It is also said that recolorers are unoriginal or uncreative. But most of the time recolorers have very interesting and very in-depth story lines once you get into them. The character designs can also be very unique. While a majority of recolored characters are hedgehogs and foxes, they also have species that are not in the Sonic Universe, such as ferrets, unicorns, and mixed breeds. Also something that seems to be in right now with recolorers is that they are designing clothes for their characters. All of these take a lot of creativity. How clothes are designed and put on the character takes creativity. Once finished, it makes for an original design. New types of characters make for an original and a creative touch. Story lines for these characters would then also be original. The argument that recolorers are unoriginal or uncreative then seems really silly.
People always say that recolorers are “trying to be Shadow,” and who would not want to do so since Shadow is awesome! However, what they are trying to say by that is that recolorers are trying to copy Shadow. This may be true to a point. It is more like they are trying to compete with Shadow, which is understandable since he is the ultimate life form in the Sonic Universe, after all. Most of the time people just mistake a character trying to be awesome as trying to be Shadow. Most of these are not trying to go to that extreme and rarely do they make it too far in that attempt. Another way they say recolorers are trying to be like Shadow is to give them some type of tragedy in their background. Shadow had a lot of loss in his life. However, it is common knowledge that a tragic background can help mold a character’s personality. This is just mistaken, then, as trying to be like Shadow.
Another misconception that people make is that all fan characters just pop up out of nowhere. This one actually has some truth to it, but, in my experience, this is only done by amateurs or beginners just getting started. In most cases when there are characters that seem to pop up, they are actually guest characters from another series. Because their background is explained in that other series, they do not need much introduction when they guest star elsewhere. As a recolorer professes, as time goes on, they get better at introducing characters to a series. If you take the time to really look and study the story out there, you will find that most have a deep-seated background or, if they are just introduced, have a long, interesting story about who they are and from where they come. The complaint that these characters just pop out of nowhere, then, must be made by those who have not taken the time to really investigate these characters.
A lot of people think that taking pictures from television shows and video games is theft. In actuality, however, taking pictures from television shows and video games is not theft. One of the actual creators was asked if recoloring was ok. He responded that it was ok. So now, thanks to this, recoloring is ok for everyone. Really, if you think about it, no one is saying that they drew this character themselves. They are saying that they recolorered it. People then know that this character was taken and different things were added or taken away. Different colors or shadings were used. Tails, hats, or whatever were put into the picture, or they were taken away. No one is saying that they made this character all on their own. If they were to do so, that would fall under the category of art theft. What they are saying is that they recolorered this character – or whatever word that might be used to mean the same thing. Then people know that this means that a character was drawn by another person and then changes and enhancements were made to fit the story of another.
This concludes my essay on recolorers. I hope that you now see that recolorers work long and hard on their characters, even if they are not the ones who originally drew them. I hope you now know that most of the time recolorers tell stories that are unique and quite interesting. Although being like Shadow is something most would want, I hope you now know that most are trying to be either rivals or friends with Shadow, not just like him. I hope that you now see that characters do have backgrounds, if you look for them, or have long, interesting stories that explain them. And finally, I hope that you see that taking pictures from television shows and games is not theft when you are recoloring them.
I would like to close by stating one more fact about recoloring. A recolorers’ character comes from their soul. A tiny bit of the recolorer’s personality is in their character. So, if you insult their character just because it is a recolor, do not be surprised if they take it personally. I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my boring essay and I hope that I have changed your mind, or at least, broadened your views about recoloring.