A trend I noticed now that I have a tumblr
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    A trend I noticed now that I have a tumblr

    Is it just me or do a lot of (amateur?) digital illustrators tend to paint the same blank-faced woman staring straight at the viewer?

    Variations on this theme include headshots, branches/antlers coming out of the hair, physics-bending headresses, bedroom eyes accompanied by slightly parted lips, etc...

    Maybe it's just because I'm new to digital illustration but that is something I see a ton of. Thoughts?

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    Pics or it didnt happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bodied View Post
    Is it just me or do a lot of (amateur?) digital illustrators tend to paint the same blank-faced woman staring straight at the viewer?
    Variations on this theme include headshots, branches/antlers coming out of the hair, physics-bending headresses, bedroom eyes accompanied by slightly parted lips, etc...
    You mean Audrey Kawasaki?
    *rimshot*
    Name:  15gfaz8.jpg
Views: 1114
Size:  352.3 KB
    (they're pretty but they're all the same girl in valium)

    Anyway I've seen people draw stuff like that for a long time (stylized headshot = easy) in about everywhere but I'd guess repetitions can be easier to notice in Tumblr's constant and neverending stream.

    "I eat comics and poop stylization"
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    I know a few artists who do this (and do it incredibly well) and a lot who try to do it and end up being derivative, just like any other bit of subject matter in art. I personally enjoy these types of portraits.

    I didn't know it was a huge trend though. I guess it's similar to drawing concept art designs with unrealistic armor all the time. Or drawing pet portraits. Or drawing girls with big breasts. In other words, a common theme that can either be done really well, or really badly.

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    Hipster drawings on tumblr are the new animu on DA

    Amateurs will do things amateurly no matter what exactly the motive is, its usually an attemp to copy the most popular trend because the their only contact is with the surface of things. much like someone without much knowlege of music only knows the musicians that appear on Mtv. So if Kawasaki and Mark Ryden and Sakimichan are the top most reblogged artist on tumblr, well, guess who they will reference.

    And thats fine and natural as taking a piss, they do it on tumblr, and they do it on DA, and in their art schools and they do it in their sketchbooks here because thats part of being amateur and how most start out.

    As for the artist themselves the amateurs are copying from, if they want to draw that stuff and people like it , good for them. Aren´t we all trying to get to that?

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    It's been happening before tumblr. Look at a lot of the girls in Imagine FX or Ballistic or other Fantasy illustration showcases.

    As stated in the post, it's because you're getting an easy stream of it. The more you look into genres you will see a lot of repetition in a lot of things, because there are more artists of many levels and more ways to get exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    You mean Audrey Kawasaki?
    Shucks, it's THAT artist. Same face over and over again, and she brutally rapes the facial structure...

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    I like Audrey's stuff quite a bit, and judging by her sales, I'm not alone. But yes, she has legion of imitators.


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    I know people who LOVE Audrey's art. I like it. Some of it is very nice. It's true that she's gets repetitious, though.

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    I'm afraid we could find repetition in many artists' work who have been around awhile and done enough work. Part of succeeding in the gallery world is familiarity. When someone wants a Kawasaki they most likely want that face shot and not a pug's ass, which I actually can paint quite well.

    In illustration, gallery art, design, etc. there are always things within genres that seem pervasive. When I first started getting shows in the pop surrealist world I was surprised by the number of bunnies. I had been painting rabbits for years because of the role they played throughout my life so I fit right in. Of course I'm being a bit facetious but there is a language and are certain symbols that can be attributed to most any direction in art. The pretty stylized asianish face will always have its place in the pop are world in part because of Audrey Kawasaki.

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    Yes, she considers her consistency a great asset. It is brought up in her artist's statement. It is also a frequently mentioned selling point in her work. Consistent style or theme or mood is something that helps build a fan base for an artist, as well as to help get gallery interest (which she has plenty of, obviously).

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    It's been around for ages, and is an easy trap to fall in to. Passivity is a lot easier to draw than expression, and retain attractiveness. The parted lips, the doe eyes with a thousand-yard-stare somewhere between disinterest and post coital, are easy to make look appealing. It can be great if done well, but can also make the subject look rather drugged...

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    Main point to consider is that Audrey is selling herself as an artist, in design personal "style" is not much of a thing, in art it is everything, artist are supposed to repeat their forms and patterns, because they want that signature, their leit motiv.

    And i also like Audrey´s images, not my super ultra fav, but one of those on my wall wouln´t look half bad.

    Also Sakimichan gets lots of undeserving crap for someone who obviosly has skills and makes a lot of effort posting new stuff constantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDSart View Post

    Also Sakimichan gets lots of undeserving crap for someone who obviosly has skills and makes a lot of effort posting new stuff constantly.
    You don't need to mention her a lot. I know other artists that get the same kind of crap too She's not a a prime example imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    You don't need to mention her a lot. I know other artists that get the same kind of crap too She's not a a prime example imo.
    oh, i repeat myself don´t i?

    White knighting is not my thing, but i guess shes the name i keep noticing being singled out lately, not just here.

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    I've never noticed this trend on tumblr. But then again I mostly just follow architecture, natural science and fashion blogs.

    In my opinion there's only so many variations that one can do with a portrait....and if an artist only does portraits well they end up getting repetitive.

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    I dunno, I can't say I'm a fan of Kawasaki and Mark Ryden... to me, it's not that they don't have skill, but that they just slip into a "style" so the consistency bothers me. Think Garfield the comic strip.

    A trademark is good but my personal opinion is that it shouldn't be a crutch (and that conceptual trademarks seem to be stronger and age better than visual ones). Again, just my opinion, I did like pop surrealism when it first surfaced but now new pop surrealist artists adopt the visual language without really exploring it.

    Personally, I could have liked Kawasaki, but seeing that she paints the same thing over and over just irks me to the point where I don't find that I like it at all. And really, that's why I get a little fatigued looking at pop surrealism now. It seems to be just rehashes of the same stuff. Cool at first, but do something different now! I guess I value a little bit of visual risk.

    Edit: bcarmen... so you can paint pug asses? I'd like to see that

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    The fine art and illustration worlds have always had trends and always will... Often what happens is someone comes up with a unique "look" or unusual themes and gets attention, their work becomes popular, and suddenly everyone wants similar work. So other artists start doing similar work, because hey, that's what sells...

    Though personally if I see one more ironic deer/girl with antlers/jellyfish in shades of hipster acid, I think I'll scream.

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    I actually find the whole woodgrain thing more overplayed than the subject matter.


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    Quote Originally Posted by bodied View Post
    I dunno, I can't say I'm a fan of Kawasaki and Mark Ryden... to me, it's not that they don't have skill, but that they just slip into a "style" so the consistency bothers me. Think Garfield the comic strip.

    A trademark is good but my personal opinion is that it shouldn't be a crutch (and that conceptual trademarks seem to be stronger and age better than visual ones). Again, just my opinion, I did like pop surrealism when it first surfaced but now new pop surrealist artists adopt the visual language without really exploring it.

    Personally, I could have liked Kawasaki, but seeing that she paints the same thing over and over just irks me to the point where I don't find that I like it at all. And really, that's why I get a little fatigued looking at pop surrealism now. It seems to be just rehashes of the same stuff. Cool at first, but do something different now! I guess I value a little bit of visual risk.

    Edit: bcarmen... so you can paint pug asses? I'd like to see that
    Even glimpses of my pugs' asses command high fees.

    If you go back in history you will find that most painters/artists tend to explore in series or directions. Some of those directions can last longer than others some can last a lifetime. You need to remember in the scheme of things that Kawasaki is a very young artist and Ryden is not all that old either.

    Mark Ryden is a completely different ball of wax than Audrey Kawasaki. For one thing he is an excellent painter. Kawasaki's work, for now at least, is about decorative image and not as much about paint. If you look at Ryden's body of work it is very diverse with repeating images as symbols. He has achieved something far beyond Kawasaki so lumping them together is a mistake.

    So give me a genre and an artist you really like and we can find repetition and even mimicry.

    Is it just me or do a lot of (amateur?) digital illustrators tend to paint the same blank-faced woman staring straight at the viewer?
    And by the way Audrey Kawasaki's work isn't digital. Not sure why she came up other than the portrait repetition thing.

    Last edited by bcarman; May 7th, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
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    She isn't digital, true, but I think what I dislike about Kawasaki's work is the lack of diversity... for goodness sake, it's all the same composition! Central female face with lacy bits flowing around. I know that many artists work in series (Francis Bacon being one of my favorites, and lord knows he stuck with a theme for years like the popes or heads) but it's just... repetitive. I dunno. I guess I'm just tired of the mystic female with the bedroom gaze thing. Some of these new illustrators have great skill - just wish I could see what else they can do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I like Audrey's stuff quite a bit, and judging by her sales, I'm not alone. But yes, she has legion of imitators.
    I have nothing against her technique or skill, and I see why a lot of people like this stuff... but good gravy, the same face and the throng of imitators!

    And yes, consistency sells. Being a one-trick pony can be beneficial if your trick is in demand. Besides, it's easier to remember a gimmick than to get familiar with an illustrator's full skill set.

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    For what it's worth, she CAN do other things. She has sketchbooks on her site which, if I recall, exhibit much greater variety. Similar style, still, but more risky poses and faces and even regular studies and life drawings which aren't so heavily stylized.

    She also does a lot of craft projects. I don't think she's a one trick pony, I think she just has one FAMOUS trick that gets a lot of attention. Not her fault. It's a pretty trick.

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuppyKitten View Post
    I don't think she's a one trick pony, I think she just has one FAMOUS trick that gets a lot of attention. Not her fault. It's a pretty trick.
    The bane of popular artists everywhere. It's like Maxfield Parrish and his "girls on rocks"...

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    And like Boris and Julie who get asked to redo their National Lampoon poster over and over and over...

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    I guess this is a good ethical question. If you knew that you could make say at least $100,000 a year and achieve a certain kind of celebrity repeating a kind of image over and over, or at least a stylistic approach over and over, would you? Of course the question would suppose that you were skilled and good enough to have the choice.

    My career has been a test of this in some ways. One of the reasons I ultimately chose teaching as part of what I do is that I can jump in any direction and still feed the family. I've had opportunities and cues which would have taken me in very lucrative directions but eschewed them. Sometimes I regret it mostly not.

    I think many of these very visible artists have learned the marketing game which the internet provides. They have grown up digitally and working cyberspace is natural to them. Even if we see artists whose images seem to never change, we never know if it is the extent of what they can and do do. I said do do. It's easy to criticize but what would you do if money and fame were being waved in your face.

    Last edited by bcarman; May 7th, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
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    Honey, if I had a picture that made bank like "Daybreak" and its eternal spin-offs did for Parrish, I'd take the money and run...

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    Yet Parrish abandoned girls on rocks in 1931 and painted nothing but landscapes for the next 35 years.


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    I would take the money to paint something over and over if the subject matter continued to interest me and I could find little surprises in each image to entertain myself with, absolutely. I don't have the self-discipline to spend a life time painting things that bore me, though. So my answer to bcarman's question is "Yes, I would take the money, until I didn't want to anymore."

    Which is apparently what Parrish did when he switched to landscapes. Some artists will stick to a theme for a handful of paintings in a series, some will stick to a theme for 50 years. I don't see a problem with either as long as they are challenging themselves and happy.

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Yet Parrish abandoned girls on rocks in 1931 and painted nothing but landscapes for the next 35 years.
    AFTER painting his due quota of girls on rocks.

    Though he could probably have retired on "Daybreak" profits and left it at that.

    And as puppykitten says, after a certain point he didn't need to paint for the market and could pretty much do what he liked... Hell, I sure wouldn't mind being in that position.

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