Help For An Aspiring Concept Artist
 
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    Help For An Aspiring Concept Artist

    So I have decided I want to some day become a concept artist, but I have a long way to go.

    So far I only really draw in the manga style which leads to quite unrealistic drawings, I would like to know how to further my learning (I'm 16 btw so art college isn't an option for another few years) through preferably independent methods, though I'm completely open to suggestions.

    Things I really need to learn are colouring & shading, anatomy, correctly drawing clothing and probably a lot more, heck, my linework could probably use some work I was wondering what would be good practicing regimes are and I'd like to know how you guys improved.

    Since I was very young I always had a love for video games and as such my dream is to be a concept artist for a video game company designing characters, weapons etc. so I would also like to know if there are any good ways for beginning artists such as myself to get experience in the field and to what standard I need to be at before I even think about that.

    It's probably important to note I don't use software, just good old pencil, paper and the odd time ink.

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  3. #2
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    Pencil and paper is great to learn. People learn differently, so you'll have to find the method that suits you best. Drawing from life is pretty well always recommended here and do some Master Studies. Start a sketchbook thread to record your progress and visit others. Listen to what people say, and take what you can - it can be overwhelming at times with too much advice. Take your time, enjoy drawing and don't be bothered by making crap stuff a lot of the time - we've all been/still are there.

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    Its better that you learn to draw with a pencil first; working digitally is often a skill of its own best saved for when you already have a grasp on the basics.

    Now, when it comes to manga/anime, nothing is wrong with any style. However, you can't confuse style with technique or skill, and often it is used as a crutch to hide one's own lack of ability. It might look better than it would without the style, but it hurts you in the long run.

    That said, one area where you can get a lot from anime is in looking at the background art. While looking at it also study perspective and color theory from wherever you can find instruction. If you can understand and work out a 2-point (or to really go crazy, 3-point) perspective while you are still in high-school you'll already be doing fairly well for your age, and it will help in getting the attention/acceptance of the right art schools if you choose to go that route.

    The real trick when you are starting out though is going to be the human figure. For this anime will be more of a hindrance than you can ever imagine. Now, if you can find a local community college that has figure drawing classes in the evenings that allows hs students that will be your best bet. If not, study everything that you can find online.

    Composition is important too, but from what I remember of when I was young, it was a bit nebulous for me to grasp until I was in college. That might have been that I didn't have a good teacher until then, or it might have been that my mind just developed in that way. Whatever the case, if you can stick to figure drawing and perspective for now you'll be doing well, and if you can get composition too then you'll really be rocking it.

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    Thanks for the replies I am actually trying to move away from the manga style (except for recreational drawing) and more over to a style more fitted to concept art; though of course, I'll always have experience in Manga for if I wanted to draw characters in a JRPG style.

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    You should not be thinking in terms of style. That you do shows that you have a lot of work ahead of you.
    Concentrate on the fundamentals or representational art (perspective, anatomy, composition, colour theory etc.). Style will come with time and is all surface without substance if you're missing the fundamentals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    You should not be thinking in terms of style. That you do shows that you have a lot of work ahead of you.
    I don't entirely agree with this. Thinking in terms of style means that you are at least thinking about visual representation. The trick is transcending style, not avoiding it or being tied down by it. For example, both Dean Cornwall and Hiroshige were both amazingly skilled in terms of composition, but their styles were different.

    Concentrate on the fundamentals or representational art (perspective, anatomy, composition, colour theory etc.). Style will come with time and is all surface without substance if you're missing the fundamentals.
    Even within representational art there are different styles. N.C. Wyeth's style of painting is very different from Ingres'. Yet both were masters of representational art in their own right. The point that I'm making, once again, is that style can still be addressed, but that it has to be done so properly.

    While it is true that style is surface (often without substance, though not always) it should not be treated as something that "will come with time." That is just as bad as excuses clung to about how something "is my style." Nobody owns one style, and a good artist can move between styles as necessary. It's like icing on a cake; just because the cake (substance) needs to be there does not mean that the icing is not usually necessary and an art form in its own right. Knowing how to make icing for birthday cakes which are done in one style does not mean that there is no need to also know how to do the icing on a wedding cake.

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    But Bededikt is saying don't think about style FIRST. Not don't ever think about or work on style. Because you aren't going to get anywhere without understanding the "substance" well enough first. Seems pretty basic stuff. Maybe a misunderstanding?

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    What Whirly said. What I'm saying is, also, that once you have your fundamentals safely in place, you can (to a professional standard) switch between just about all styles at will.

    Which makes you a much more versatile asset than someone who focusses on style without substance and is essentially a one-trick pony.

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    ah, slight misunderstanding on my part. sorry about that.

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    I meant I learned to draw using manga and I only draw manga at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleSandwich View Post
    I meant I learned to draw using manga and I only draw manga at the moment.
    Well then, it sounds like its time to learn while looking at something else. If you can copy Manga linework well then it should not be too difficult to transition to looking at some of Stan Lee's work; it might be easier than jumping to some of the more painterly old masters that we would tend to direct a newer artist towards. You'll find that his work shows similar line quality to some forms of anime/manga, and more importantly he deals with a stronger understanding of human proportions and anatomy. Pay attention first to proportions and poses, find the 15 major shapes (head, ribcage, hips, upper arms, lower arms, upper legs, lower legs, hands, feet) and block them in using basic shapes, (limbs as cylinders, ribcage as egg shape, etc etc) looking at how they work in 3D space and taking note of landmarks like the lower ribs, solar plexus, hip ridges, stuff like that. After doing that for a while you should also study up on some basic skeletal and muscular anatomy.

    As I stated before, there are some great examples of background scenery in some manga/anime, so if you've been looking at the right ones you haven't hurt yourself too much at all. If you look closely, there are some similarities that can be found between Miyazaki's art and western artists like Moebius.

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    Thanks for the help Peter Stan Lee's work would be perfect to draw reference from as it would help me draw more complete characters with a higher variety of features than manga (Also it's a great excuse to draw some of my favourite characters and alternate versions I can think up)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TurtleSandwich View Post
    Thanks for the help Peter Stan Lee's work would be perfect to draw reference from as it would help me draw more complete characters with a higher variety of features than manga (Also it's a great excuse to draw some of my favourite characters and alternate versions I can think up)
    Ok, just remember that as a beginner the details are not the main thing you need to be looking at just yet, instead focus on the basic shapes that make up the forms and poses. When drawing from his characters your work should look something more like this:

    Help For An Aspiring Concept Artist

    This is a technique that you can use when looking at any artist who has a firm grasp on the human figure, whether it be Stan Lee or Michelangelo. The best way to work is in a figure class with a live model, but you won't always have that available. I know its tempting, but avoid getting poses from fashion model photos or porn; it might seem like a good idea as they reveal a lot so you'd think you could get a grasp of the human form there, but there is a lot of photoshop foolery that goes on in those which screws up the image for gaining insights into figurative anatomy. (If you feel like looking at it for your own reasons then that's your business; just don't go there for artistic purposes.)

    edit: also (almost forgot) never ever EVER trace.

    Last edited by Peter Coene; August 27th, 2014 at 08:52 PM.
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