This is something I see a lot. Everywhere; I see it on threads in forums, I hear it spoken among artists, I even see it written as comments on people's work. "Stop drawing anime," "anime kills young artists," and "anime wastes an artist's talent." Hell, there are entire Facebook/LJ/etc groups and communities based upon these ideals of hating anime and the artists that draw it.
But if they're allowed to have a group, I could make a group based on hating realism and how awful it is. I would never do that, but I want to make a group called "Draw whatever you feel like, however you feel like, and don't let anyone tell you different." A group full of individuals who don't need to be told what to draw, how to draw it, and are completely content doing what they're doing.
And it'll be fabulous.
Alas, there are still plenty of people who insist that anime and manga artists, whether experienced, popular, successful, unknown, or still budding, should drop their pencils, pens, markers, and tablets, step away from their work, and draw realism. Sometimes, it's suggested to abandon anime entirely.
Many argue that realism and drawing from life will help one become a better artist. It probably will make you a better artist... if you want to draw realism. Now, I am not saying anything negative about the style, but some artists simply do not want to become better at realism. It simply is just not in their scope of interest. Possibly-could it be?!- that someone wants to improve at
"But your anatomy might improve with realism!" Anime is not a form of art where artists throw caution to the wind and draw neglecting all forms of 'rules' and 'guidelines' of art- or at least, it is not the only one. People can do the exact same thing with realism. If one wants to improve in drawing anime, then perhaps they should draw anime, just as a person who wants to get better at realism should draw realism. The omnipresent reply to this is "you will never improve if you draw anime all the time."
I also believe that this mode of thinking can be applied to almost every form of art. One could say "you'll never improve as an artist if all you do is take macro shots of a water drop on a flower." It is basically saying the same thing. I can see how the concept of 'broadening one's horizons' is important, but one can still improve by doing and drawing the same thing over again. What's that called again? Oh yeah, practice.
"You'll never be taken seriously as an artist if you draw anime." I hate this comment with a fiery passion of two dozen Rapidashes. It is incredibly rude to the artist, and also the entire international community of artists who also draw anime. It is a slap in the face to every single one of them. So one is not a 'serious' artist if they draw anime? What about all of the successful manga artists in Japan? Across the world? The ones who have published books and sold them in a perfectly functional market? What about artists here on Deviantart? What about ever-popular *cherriuki, *mikeinel, or *rannsama? Are they not serious just because they have some pieces submitted in the "Manga & Anime" category here on Deviantart?
Of course, some people even have the guts to say that drawing anime does not take talent. My only response to this is, "if it doesn't take talent, then why are there so many 'bad anime artists'?" Assuming an artist who draws anime cannot possibly draw the human figure, use negative space, or do other fancy artsy things is absolutely bollocks as well. People can be multi-talented and choose to draw anime. They exist.
Lastly, another very large component to the "stop drawing anime" argument is how boring/lame/unoriginal it is. While 'boring' and 'lame' are opinions that differ from person to person, I take issue with 'unoriginal'. Yes, if you draw an existing character from an anime, exactly how they are presented in the show, whether tracing or not, is somewhat unoriginal. The same can be said for someone drawing a sculpture or building.
However, this is not the case with most who use this point as an argument. Drawing the samev"big eyes, tiny nose and huge mouth" should not automatically mean all anime drawings are the same and completely unoriginal. I could turn it right around and argue that it is unoriginal to draw the same "realistic body" every time. If artist A and artist B both draw realistic female bodies, the results will still look different and be in each artist's style. If artist C and artist D both draw an anime girl with big eyes, a tiny nose, and a tiny mouth, the results will also look different and be in each artist's style.
Sometimes, some people just do not realize that some artists draw what they want, how they want to, and it makes them happy. Art isn't always SRS BSNS to everyone; for some people, it's a hobby, for many, it's a career goal, and to others, it is a career. This is one of the most important points to me. I draw because it makes me happy. It's my art, and I'll do what I want with it.
So, is anime art? Is it original? Does it slowly chip away and crumble the very foundations of the gothic-style cathedral that is art itself? You decide, but please, for the love of all that is mighty, do not decide for another person.
If anything, don't drop and abandon what you want to do, but rather expand. Do both anime and realism, take photos, sculpt something, dabble in animation. Maybe you don't want to draw just anime; you won't know until you try. Do everything because everything will help you develop.
*all "you"s are general
**anime/manga are referenced to as 'styles', as done by the masses
***may not be clear or freeflowing, I have been awake for three days and three nights now.