All of the freaking above. I'm a horrible nerd. ;_; I don't even like Pokemon that much, which makes it even more bizarre. But here I am, fan arting away like I'm getting paid for it, and I just can't stop it. I love so many other video games way more than Pokemon, but guess what gets drawn the most? Why do I do this?
That's what I end up thinking on some days, anyway. Other days I just don't care.
So here's the rundown. First of all, I don't think Pokemon as a species are characters. They're way way way too bland to be characters. This actually works in the favor of those with creative minds, though. Thing is, Pokemon can be characters, and that's the fantastic, possibly addictive thing about them. I forgot where I said this, but I gave an example that each Pokemon is just a template that has to follow a set of biological rules (as long as the Pokedex isn't just making stuff up), and from there you're good to go. Ash's Squirtle acts the way he does because that's his personality. Not every Squirtle acts that way. Meowth is an easier example, and Meowsie as well if we go that far.
Essentially, whatever personality you give to a Pokemon, you can't be wrong, because you're not generalizing the species at large, just one of them. And that's a lot different than drawing art of already established characters like Mario where you can't do too much without going OOC. It's like having a cast of cats. There is no one cat, there's plenty of them, and I wouldn't expect them all to act the same unless they were functioning as a hive mind.
Most Pokemon I draw now are based off of comic characters, I hardly draw Pokemon for Pokemon's sake anymore, it's just not enough for me being sort of weaned on characterization from animations, graphic novels and comic books. After I bought the Pokemon 4 Komas that only star the Pokemon, each of them with their own personalities, I couldn't go back. It's just too meaningless for me.
And I'd also say a good majority of said Pokemon I draw actually are living interpretations of the ones I had in game, which makes me an even bigger dork. :B I've been drawing the same characters since Red/Blue, another set from Gold/Silver, and then another set from Mystery Dungeon (though I don't draw the latter that much anymore). If nothing else, you can call me consistant. And maybe a loon.
That's also why I love characterization in other people's art, and love reading dumb Pokemon comics people make. I'm shameless, I am. orz