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  1. #1
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    Realistic vs. Cartoon/Anime Style

    I've just recently taken a real disgust toward cartoons and anime in concept art. I personally don't find it nearly as respectable as realisitic art where form is so real it seems you can almost touch it. It seems I'm the only one who believes cartoony and anime styles don't belong in concept art because when I see people on this forum posting clearly distinct anime as concept, people simply applaude and there is NO critique at all for them. They just say "great!" and when there's someone who does a damn great job on a figure, people flood him with negative critiques on the smallest of problems (and no, I'm not talking about me).

    What I'm curious about is if I'm breaking my balls for nothing doing realistic drawings when game designers would prefer seeing anime and cartoons instead of realistic-looking figures?

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    No, I don't think learning to draw realistically is EVER a bad thing. In fact, for the most part I'd say it's required, since that's how you learn to understand things like form, light, and shadow.

    On a realistic drawing, it's completely obvious to most people when something isn't right. So until you can nail everything perfectly, it means your technique isn't where it should be, meaning you still don't have complete control over every mark you make. Until you do have this control, then your "cartoony" drawings will never be exactly what you're aiming for. You want things to be exaggerated because YOU meant for them to be, not because you can't draw properly.

    That's the short answer.

    Oh, and so-called "cartoony" work is no less valid than realistic work. You'd better try accepting that, or you probably won't get very far, since having that sort of mindset stems from something deeper.

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    Originally posted by danteort
    No, I don't think learning to draw realistically is EVER a bad thing. In fact, for the most part I'd say it's required, since that's how you learn to understand things like form, light, and shadow.

    On a realistic drawing, it's completely obvious to most people when something isn't right. So until you can nail everything perfectly, it means your technique isn't where it should be, meaning you still don't have complete control over every mark you make. Until you do have this control, then your "cartoony" drawings will never be exactly what you're aiming for. You want things to be exaggerated because YOU meant for them to be, not because you can't draw properly.

    That's the short answer.

    Oh, and so-called "cartoony" work is no less valid than realistic work. You'd better try accepting that, or you probably won't get very far, since having that sort of mindset stems from something deeper.
    Why I bring this up is because I don't find cartoons or anime nearly as impressive as realistic. I almost find anime an embarassment to art for its absurd styling. It never appears three dimensional nor does it even mirror the figure in any realistic fashion but it's considered flawless. Why is this technique so endorsed? When I visited the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the first thing the game art & design instructor said was he was looking for artists who could draw realistic life drawing. This pleased me because he even said he was not looking for cartoons or anime. And I see why but I don't see why this forum supports anime concept art so much.

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    I think concept art is a way of getting an idea across. Whether it is realistic or a simpler style doesn't matter. As long as what the artist wants to convey is understood I don't think it matters. Yoshitaka Amano, the lead designer for the final fantasy series started off with anime but his style has evolved into something unique and interesting.

    Last edited by SylkX; May 13th, 2004 at 12:33 PM.
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    This is what I think...
    There are things we deem visually beautiful and forms/shapes we do not.
    There is a reason why, and this reason, I believe, is a certain ratio (phi) between the forms, shapes, etc, of a particular design.
    Human forms, and other plants, animals, etc, all fall, on way or the other, along this fine line. So, when someone successfully draws something from life, we see that beauty shine through.
    When someone successfully distorts, or makesa "realistic" charicature out of real life, we still see that beauty, because the distortions probably fall somewhere between this ratio... and the closer it is, the more beautiful, or believable, it becomes, I think.

    So it is with cartoons. Whether or not they have "realistic rendering" is, I believe, a choice of style. Anime is a more rigidly set style than cartoons, anime's proportions have been somewhat loosely defined, already, constructing something, ideally, beautiful.
    All design falls into this.
    I believe both sides of the coin are great, because one attunes your skill of awareness, of becoming a crystalline filter between what we see and put down on paper, and the other traisn our ability to create within this framework of beauty that we call design.
    Creativity is a great thing.

    In this sense, I believe, we can observe the connections between life and "created" design, and the value of both.
    I also believe that studying life, life forms, and the abundance of design already available in it, can improve our own sense of style, allowing us to create from our imagination in a form that is believable.
    Not all cartoons, anime, or life drawings, in this point of view, are "Believable" then. It all depends on the skill of the creator.

    Just my thoughts on the subject. :chug:

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    Just a little note of my observances on this topic. Generally schools don't condone anime or comic drawing because people who do it often learn by copying already existing drawn materials exlusively. The ability to "draw hair just like dragon ball z" doesn't necessarily help you learn to draw any other kind of hair or hair style, or anything else, for that matter. However, some manga/anime/cartoon artists actually study from life and use their knowledge of anatomy and proportion to make stylistic decisions when they draw from imagination, blending realistic and comic. You can almost always tell the difference between anime/comic drawing done by a person who can ONLY draw in that style, and similarly stylized drawings done by a person that could also handle a still life or live model without much trouble. Anime and cartoon drawings can display a level of skill with line, rythm, color, light, etc that just shows - whether the subject matter is stylized or not.

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    Well stated

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    It seems I'm the only one who believes cartoony and anime styles don't belong in concept art because when I see people on this forum posting clearly distinct anime as concept, people simply applaude and there is NO critique at all for them.
    where would be the point to critizise a stlye deciscion, other than "i (/dont) like it"? its much more reasonable to crit something thats goals been realistic appearence

    what is it that bugs you? that all those who draw cartoon/anime stlyed pieces get praise? aint that jealousy?

    i seriously question your goal here....

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    I think when people post life drawings or realistic drawings in here they're mostly looking for critique.

    Critique isn't the same as tearing something apart. Comments on what could be improved aren't negative, though it can be easy to interpret them that way. People who critique other people's work are, for the most part, trying to help each other improve. I just think that realistic drawing invites critique while stylized art really doesn't.

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    Originally posted by sone_one


    where would be the point to critizise a stlye deciscion, other than "i (/dont) like it"? its much more reasonable to crit something thats goals been realistic appearence

    what is it that bugs you? that all those who draw cartoon/anime stlyed pieces get praise? aint that jealousy?

    i seriously question your goal here....
    What bothers me about it is how much more difficult it is to draw a realistic life drawing versus an unrealistic anime drawing and have people praise only the anime drawing and tear the realistic drawing apart. Personally, even if the life drawing does indeed suffer a little, I give them more credit at trying to attempt to actually draw from life than try and make some distorted cartoon-like style that can be whipped up in a matter of seconds.

    My point is is that I don't believe anime should be as highly praised as life drawing simply because life drawing has boundries whereas anime is drawn flat and its bounds are unlimited; proportions are non-existent because the artist created no bounds for such imperfections.

    This is what irritates me: how these dime-a-dozen anime artists create this cheap style that anyone can do and get their asses kissed for whatever they lash out. I'll admit that I'm damn jealous of the attention they get but I'm not at all jealous of the quality of their work. I mean I'll find posts where people just go on and on about how great the anime drawing is and then I find this one thread where a guy did a superb job of figure drawing and all I see is someone post "good job, proportions fit" and that was all. This really bothered me. Like that was all he was looking for, a flaw to point at and expose but finding none, he moved on, not at all commenting in-depth on the magnificent job the artist did as he would have if he had made a flaw.

    I'm just a little enraged right now and if I offended you, sorry, this is just my opinion.

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    you didnt offend me at all... im not into anime myself, but i know to make it look really good it takes a lot of knownledge.

    if you dont like some pieces... dont bother and move on. theres so much for everyones taste, i dont see the reason in stoping by by something i donot like anyway... or to think about it.

    do, observe and enjoy things you like, and dont put your time into things you dont.

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    Originally posted by ohGr
    some distorted cartoon-like style that can be whipped up in a matter of seconds.
    Chances are it took that artist years of study to get to the point of being able to whip out a cartoon drawing. Just because it only takes a minute doesn't mean it doesn't take talent.


    My point is is that I don't believe anime should be as highly praised as life drawing simply because life drawing has boundries whereas anime is drawn flat and its bounds are unlimited; proportions are non-existent because the artist created no bounds for such imperfections.

    That's EXACTLY why people draw cartoons, because the bounds are limitless!



    This is what irritates me: how these dime-a-dozen anime artists create this cheap style that anyone can do and get their asses kissed for whatever they lash out.
    Ummm, sorry dude but no, not just anyone can do it and make it work. A LOT of people can copy anime/cartoons and make it look pretty close to what the original artist drew, but to draw cartoons with your own style, and from your head takes a lot of skill to do properly. A good artist can see the difference between mediocre comic artists like Akira Toriyama and designers like Hayao Miyazaki and Katsuhiro Otamu. There are plenty of other good, and probably better anime artists out there, but I can't think of 'em off the top of my head.

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    I have a sort of similar feeling about anime but its also different; I quite like the look of professional anime, but I hate how all these 12-15 year olds are all trying to draw anime and then anyone whos half-good at drawing in that style will simply get 1000 replies of "great" "awesome" etc and no crit at all becuase these children on the most part dont even know/care about crit they just want people to say their arts good.

    It annoys me a lot because these people keep drawing in the same way making the same mistakes.. I've seen so many bad anime artists than any other form of art (including non-anime comic art) that are just doing what they learnt from reading a tutorial on polykarbon and their latest episode of DBZ. They never improve and that annoys me.

    I guess it probably shouldnt tho :/

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    Just a thought: Warhol got the very same sort of critique as his work became more well known, and in comparision to classical art technique, there might be some justification there. But, it's simplicity in that respect managed to carry a fairly significant social meaning, despite it's technical imperfections as seen by some.

    Additionally, Anime carries a powerful social significance in Japan, so there is some validity to it I would imagine. Technical prowess not withstanding.

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    Anime is a set style, way of portraying figures, etc...
    Cartoons are not the same as anime... they are only limited as far as their distortion from reality by the artist's imagination.

    Do you have a problem with the praise anime artists get or the praise cartoon artists get?

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    I think as far as pro art concepts in movies film, etc.... the concepts would likely be in the chosen style of the art-director.

    I'd imagine the concept art for half life2 would have alot of proportionally realistic subject matter (when conceptualizing the people anyways)

    and if the concept artist is working on the next super mario game, he wouldn't be drawing realistically proportioned humans/animals because it doesn't really fit.

    Unless the media that was being produced was going to be in an anime-ish style... there would be little point in them drawing in that style while making the conceptual work.

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    but warhol didnt have millions of children copying his style amateurishly

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    i see style choice as one more technique to give away information about the character.

    character for a military shooter in the line of the rainbow six games? style that fits best is something that looks realistic.
    character for a fantasy tactical rpg like ff tactics, advance wars or disgaea? not so easy... the whole concept of the game universe somehow dictates what style kind of characters can live in it.

    style also tells about the game, the whole scenario it is set in. proper style choice is just as much a detail to character design as costume details are.

    as for technical prowess:
    of course, there is more craft work in a fully rendered naturalistic drawing. the amount of sheer prowess is however the same as in a well done cartoon. you wont be able to draw your cartoon figure from every angle as long as you dont know what it looks like from every angle (same with anime btw... so much for anime being constructed flatly - not neccesarily).
    did you ever try capturing the very essence of a character in a strictly simplified drawing? in a naturalistic drawing, you can escape down the route of endless detail. this route, however is not available in cartoons. you can only draw a few shapes and features and they have to sit on the spot to tell their story.
    cartoons and naturalism are two different disciplines - they are related somehow but they strife for completely different goals.
    that is why the comments vary in threads:
    a cartoon/anime drawing is clear to focus on essence, stylization and such things, whereas anatomical correctness and trueness to detail is something the naturalist looks for.

    if you dont find anime tangible at all, take a look at prom's megaman redesigns.

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    on fire

    This thread put me on fire !!!!!:evilbat:

    Anime style is so easy to copy for most people
    because all the VISUAL INFORMATION has been
    analized and STYLIZED so with so few
    stroke lines you can obtain an expression and
    feelings that would be so hard to make
    with realistic images thats why new artists are
    attracted to this powerful style of expression

    its simple easy and you obtain good results
    in so little time and also some quality... and
    doing realistic is hard, you have to practice
    and study hard

    I in a far future i would i like to do anime style
    because thats what i love and like and now
    when i try to do it, i find it EXTREMELY difficult
    to accomplish such stylized and beautiful
    anime drawings, but the anime
    manga artists that i like are ACADEMIC
    and i am almost sure they practice figurative
    art, and YES theres a loooooot of anime crap
    but there are great artists too and good animes

    Drawings are "PLAIN" because of Japanese
    art culture, check Japanese art history and
    they tend to express more with so little...

    and Akira Toriyama is not mediocre he is
    for me the SHONEN manga KING of Japan
    his sories are fun to read and has great
    purity and technique and has one of the most
    original character style in the world !!!!!!!
    everyone recognizes him, why would he be
    mediocre....

    And some say thats anime is Plain, well
    i dare you to do some ""Plain characters
    like the ones ahead
    and rotate them, give them
    personality , depict age, mood,
    etnicy, angle of camera
    etc, etc, etc..." with so few lines
    (even though i know some CA members
    could do it :eek: and even better)

    Satoshi Kon is one of my personal Heroes
    and i wish i someday would be as good as him
    heres some of his drawings:

    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xw7s-kn/chara03.html
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xw7s-kn/chara02.html
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xw7s-kn/chara06.html
    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xw7s-kn/chara12.html

    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~xw7s-kn/pictures.html

    please continue the discussion its interesting

    Saludos a todos

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    Re: on fire

    Originally posted by gaboartpage
    and Akira Toriyama is not mediocre he is
    for me the SHONEN manga KING of Japan
    his sories are fun to read and has great
    purity and technique and has one of the most
    original character style in the world !!!!!!!
    everyone recognizes him, why would he be
    mediocre....
    Hey dude, mediocre was probably just a poor choice of words. I certainly don't think he sucks, I used to LOVE dbz with a passion. It was just the first name I could think of that I didn't like anymore. Yeah he does have a very distinct style, but its all a matter of taste i guess. I just had to post cause I thought it was funny the original poster was so annoyed by kids copying anime and getting praised for it . I mean...who cares? When I was a kid I did nothing but copy anime, and people always told me how good I was. I didn't get a big ego from it, and I eventually realized it wasn't helping me grow, so I moved on.

    The guy you posted is good, I wish I knew some of the newer artists. Pretty much the only books I read are by Rumiko Takahashi, and Katsuhiro Otomo

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    Gaussian3D, I think your insight into this issue is great. Not many people can analyse it as well as you did in that post.

    I've to add that it's easy for people to underestimate a certain style just because it has "fewer lines" or "less shades". Anime is a term used (outside of Japan) to mean the cartoons that come from Japan. And, it's not just one style. There's a multitude of them if you look carefully. Some of them are easier to draw, and some are harder. And, to draw the harder anime styles as well as good anime artists is no simple task. If you don't believe me, just try to draw Nobuteru Yuuki or Narumi Kakinouchi's style as well as them.

    As to the popularity of anime as a source for wannabe artists to copy from, think of it this way. They are just trying to draw something that they enjoy a lot, that they find beautiful and attractive. And, many of them would not even have motivation to draw anything at all if they haven't seen anime. In those cases (and I dare to claim there're many such cases), anime help them get onto the road to art that they may not have travelled otherwise.

    Yeah, I understand the feeling of seeing mediocre anime fan art getting tons of praises. That happens everywhere, though, not just with anime fan art. I read american comics when I was young. In those days, some of them have really crappy artwork. But I still see readers writing mail saying those are the best artwork in any comic. Such things occur everywhere, and frankly, it's no biggie.

    Please pardon my weak english and any grammar mistakes.

    Last edited by Aerythes; May 17th, 2004 at 08:03 AM.
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    Umm... My thoughts. Drawing for cartoons, animation etc. takes a VERY good understanding of form. Look at Vilppu's site (www.vilppustudio.com) He's an excellent traditional artist and yet he spends most of his time teaching animators. Cartoons may be easy to copy because of there simple lines, but putting life into those lines is not simple. Try it for yourself, If you can produce a super awesome character in a few seconds like ou say then I'll eat my hat (after buying one).

    My feeling is that concept art is about the visual communication of designs and ideas. If anime succesfully comunicates these ideas then thats fine, no need for some super detailed rendering.

    Sorry if thats been said already or something and peace out mr. Hatey McJealousy man.

    [Edit]As for people not receiving crits for anime drawings, I haven't seen this happen on this board so much. But it is silly, Yes you can do a bad job of a stylised picture.[/Edit]

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    My view on this whole issue is that art whether it is anime or realistic or whatever gives people some form of expression, some people find it fun and worthwhile to draw anime type drawings, they don't have to spend hours and hours to perfect it, I also feel that some people are just too overwhelmed with the perfectionism in realistic art that it scares them.

    I also take my hat of to those that actually draw thousands and thousands of single frame anime drawings to make a movie, or cartoon... that is a feat in itself!

    atleast anime drawings can be concidered art

    What gets me are those paintings of lines or spashes of paint or a toilet roll that is at a strange angle or someone that puked in a cup or a monkey that paints with his fingers.. etc etc, and then people pay thousands of bucks for it! Whats up with that shit?

    ciao

    I'm trying to think... but nothing happens.
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    I am bored at work so here are my comments:

    - I've done both realistic and anime stuff.

    I like anime precisely because you don't have to adhere to propotions in real life. Your imagination is your only bound.

    Realistic stuff is fun too from time to time, to get the details down and propotions accurate, get the colors right, that is a great challenge. But y'know, it's kind of imagination-less to recreate something you saw in real life.

    It's also fast to whip up something in anime style and communicate something to the viewer. To me, there is great joy in being able to make someone laugh, make someone's day better with an image. Most realistic pictures make you go WOW LIKE A PHOTO! but cartoons are the ones that split your sides laughing, and nothing's better than laughing till you cry ;o;

    - Yes there is a lot of trashy anime art around, yeck. I think of anime as movies, there are lots of crappy movies around but there are good ones. It's such a wide and diverse area there's got to be something you like.

    - yes lots of kids like to go AWESOME COOL etc etc at any anime image they see, especially if its a character they like. I've seen a lot of horrible horrible pictures getting praised madly and it is aggravating at first.

    But it's important to remember a lot of them don't have art training either so anything remotely art is impressive to them, just like anything remotely math/science is scary to an artist

    Just shrug it off and do your own thing. It's exactly like everyone gushing over Titanic but your favorite movie doesn't get any recognition, or those modern artists getting millions of dollars for an empty canvas. Just enjoy what you enjoy, and if others don't find it as chill as you do...hey what to do right?

    - Off my head, some good "anime" style artists to check out:

    theyre hard to find images for though...so maybe you'll only see crappy images from them online but rest assured they have some amazing stuff around~ maybe i'll post some later when I get home/am bored.

    Inoue Takehiko - more realistic than most
    Hiroaki Samura - poetic, almost fine artsy at times
    That dude who did the artbook Cannabis - forgot his name
    Akihiro Yamada - like Mucha meets Anime
    That artist for Castlevania - forgot name
    Jo-Chen (www.jo-chen.com i tihnk)

    Last edited by Derlaine; May 17th, 2004 at 04:42 PM.
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    Everyone in this thread is agreeance and doesn't realize it. The one underlying message in all posts is "anime is good when the artist who did anime learned the basics first". What I hate is the younger anime artists who only draw anime who refuse, absolutely refuse to take criticism. Then again I just hate that attitude in general so...

    P.S. I am willing to admit I can be immune to criticism sometimes too, but I normally feel guilty when I realize I have done such a thing to stunt my artistic growth.

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    this is a great thread. However, I'm going to reply to comments from pandawhipped and gaboartpage regarding Akira Toriyama.
    I couldn't believe it when you first described Toriyama as mediocre, pandawhipped, but I'm glad to see you explain your remark. And I was glad to see someone show their support for Toriyama, gaboartpage.
    We all know Toriyama's signature character design, but even his architectural, vehicular, and robotic designs are creative and unique. I know it's silly, but I'm actually turned off by the success of the DBZ cartoon (maybe this turned you off too, panda?). But I still love Akira Toriyama and the Dragon Ball manga (not to mention Dr. Slump, Sandland, his work on Chrono Trigger, and more). I'm doubly impressed w/ him because he also writes his stories, and he has such an imagination (people's hair turning yellow when they're mad??). Aside from my personal admiration, much of the current generation of manga artists list Akira Toriyama as one of their all time favorites and a major influence in their careers.
    If I come across sounding like an Akira Toriyama fanboy, it's probably because I am.
    Regarding the theme of this thread, I think developing artists can spend their time doing more constructive things than copying anime/manga (like realistic studies), but I did the same thing. As long as they're having fun, right?

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    Originally posted by WildSpruceMoose
    What I hate is the younger anime artists who only draw anime who refuse, absolutely refuse to take criticism. Then again I just hate that attitude in general so...

    I CANT AGREE MORE!! I just had an episode of one of those in another forum. Her style wasnt anime but it was actually very good, and she downright refused to accept any criticism - she even asked admins to remove me from the board for it (they publicly refused though, saying my crit was in fact very good) but still, it really pisses me off when people can't take criticism about their work.. especially these 'I don't learn about anatomy/lighting/etc because I do ANIME!' people.

    [I am a member of the Middle Class!]

    You can view my lurrvely new sketchbook here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?p=507266
    Have a nice day!
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    Originally posted by elboy
    I know it's silly, but I'm actually turned off by the success of the DBZ cartoon (maybe this turned you off too, panda?).
    absolutely. I remember when I was 12 finding DBZ stickers in the local laser disk rental store and nearly wetting my pants. Now its all over the place and just doesn't look as cool.

    Toriyama certainly does have a unique style, but I guess whether or not one likes it is just a matter of taste. I know he does the books really fast, probably doing a few pages a day, but it just became too repetative. Its the same thing over and over, and all the characters look so similar with their MC hammer pants. While he might have had a cool idea, he used it way too much, and everything he did looked like it came straight out of a dbz comic. I thought Chrono Trigger (and everything else he did) was dragon ball with new characters when I first saw it. To me it just became a gimic rather than a style.

    Anyway thats something that could be argued for hours (just like the topic of this thread) and no one would get anywhere or change their minds. Thanks for your input though elboy.

    I will say though, it was pretty obvious that Toriyama was not in charge of DBGT. Something about it just looked different. It was subtle, but it was there.

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    Originally posted by pandawhipped:
    I remember when I was 12 finding DBZ stickers in the local laser disk rental store and nearly wetting my pants.
    haha, good ol laser disks. and word on the mc hammer pants too. Reading my first post makes it seem like I think Akira Toriyama is the greatest artist ever (I certainly do not). I just really admire the guy, but I think that's been established. Sorry to turn this into an Akira Toriyama thread.
    I like the topic of this thread, but like pandawhipped alluded to, I don't know if there's too much more worth saying. That is, there are lots of valid points, but can anything be added that will actually change people's minds? No one has to answer. Just thinking aloud... or w/ my fingertips.... .ehh....

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    i personally look to the ones who obviously know what they are doing and choose to trun their style torwards the cartoony. look at Joe Mad! (battle chasers) and Yokito Kisiro(Battle Angel Alita) they are some truly awesome artists who just by looking at their work show great understanding of anatomy, composition and stylization. they have grown much further than many artists have and chosen to simplify, and make their work speak more for them. an untrainded eye might just see cartoony/anime figures but on closer inspection you can see the training beneath the flashy look.


    a lot of anime is crap just like a lot of american comics are... but thats because the artists had no foundation before they entered the field and did not build on it.

    same thing with 2d movies... anastasia and ghost in the shell both show two different styles of telling a good story in a truly breathtaking manner as opposed to some of the other truly crappy films out there. (you know the straight to video ones i am talking about)

    -dns

    Ottosketch.com
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