Art: How do I develop a style?

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  1. #1
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    Question How do I develop a style?

    Hi there, I need help!
    I'm practicing art hoping to become a computer games artist in the future, but I need to know how I can develop my own style.
    I missed out on any formal art training beyond GCSE level, and I need to know how I can find a distinctive style to call my own.
    Can anyone help me?

    Thanks
    Beck


     


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  3. #2
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    I'm practicing art hoping to become a computer games artist in the future, but I need to know how I can develop my own style.
    theres way more important things you gotta worry about before that. the good thing is, once you've got that stuff out of the way, you'll already have a style.

    practice a lot, and look at lots of different art. thats all there is to it.

     

  4. #3
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    you answered your own question with your thread title...."develop"
    thats how you "find a distinctive style to call my own"
    you develop it.

    theres not fast track really...

     

  5. #4
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    start posting work

    you got a long road ahead of you.

     

  6. #5
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    "Style" is all about rhythm of application, a fancy term for brushstrokes. The brush or pencil or stylus is an extension of you and your hand. It's alot like how your handwriting and your signature are unique to you. But when you were little and they were teaching you to write everybody had the same handwriting because they made us all use those grids and trace the letter the "right" way and then copy it over and over. Eventually you became confident enough in writing your letters that you broke away from that and started writing your own way.

    Style is the same way. It's not about color choices or subject matter, because those things are basically the same for all of us. Style is about making your own individual mark.

    I know it's frustrating to get "it just takes time". I'm still learning as well and people tell me that too and I don't want to hear it.

    I'm not so good with the advice...Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?

    my painting blog
     

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    yes the people in her answered your question, your style will develop on your own as you practice..

    copying an other person's style is pretty cheap so that's not what you want to do.

    a good thing to do is

    -do loads of life drawings and observe the world around you, remember what you like about your own drawings, remember what you like in people's faces/poses, architecture, culture etc...

    -look at as much artists(painters, illustrators, sculpture..) you can, remember what you like about. Don't limit yourself, keep an open mind about everything. It's not because you dislike an artists work in general, that you can't like a specific element in it (like the way he draws noses for example)

    -study anatomy/old masters/colors etc. etc.

    throw it in a hat, mix it all together..

     

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  10. #7
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    you look at other peoples art and find inspiration. An artist i have been following for ages has had a great impact on me. but i have my own twists in it-- so just draw-and draw other people drawings-and good luck. what ever you do----draw

    [CENTER]Ken's Sketchbook
     

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly
    "Style" is all about rhythm of application, a fancy term for brushstrokes.
    Yes, let's totally ignore iconicity vs. realism, proportions, color palette...
    Quote Originally Posted by Main Loop
    theres way more important things you gotta worry about before that.
    Because of course artists have to pass this test of having mastered the basics of art before they're allowed to have their own style, and we can just assume anyone who isn't already a professional artist flunks pld:


    I think that while the basics are worth studying, style is also worth studying. To study it: explore different historical art movements and individual people's art, make a list of the ones you particularly like, analyze their traits, figure out which ones you like, and experiment with putting them in your own work.

     

  12. #9
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    There are many things that are a part of style that one wouldn't 'get' if they were just studying someone else's work. Yes, Art history is important, but if you don't truely realize how to portray form on a 2d plane, then you won't understand how/where the oldies did it as well. If you don't understand color theory, you won't see the differences in Saturation or value, you'll just see "Red... Blue... brown... green... yellow.."

    Sun+shadow... Your style emerges through your understanding of the Basics, they are not seperate entities, like you stated.

     

  13. #10
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    Style is the byproduct of technique (or combinations of techniques) and techniques are developed because they satisfy an idea or concept.

    Search for the ideas and concepts, in finding techniques to express them you will naturally develop a style. It is a long process and when pushed artificially tends toward insincere mannerism or peculiarity.

    Good luck.

    -Flynt

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeldragoon
    Sun+shadow... Your style emerges through your understanding of the Basics, they are not seperate entities, like you stated.
    I disagree - I believe your style is mostly based on your taste and has little to to with your abilities. Even beginner artists can know that they love a particular style and want to produce that, even though they're not yet capable of producing much of anything.

     

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    Sunandshadow,

    I think Pixeldragoon has the right idea.

    Here is why I think so.

    You can know what styles attract you regardless of skill level. Yet imitation of the techniques that produce those styles, without the learned understanding of the concepts that those techniques express, will be poor imitations.

    An example:

    A former professor of mine told me a story about being asked to look at some drawings that people were attributing to Raphael to see if they were fakes or not. They had a very similar look. But the moment he saw them he knew they were fakes. The reason? He said the overlaps of certain line contours were not correct for the anatomy-a mistake Raphael would not have made.

    -Flynt

     

  16. #13
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    A poor work of art in a particular style and a good work of art in a particular style are still both in that style, as demonstrated by the fact that multiple people agreed that the fakes did look similar to Raphael's art.

     

  17. #14
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    Hah! Sunandshadow, I like your response. I guess I just assumed people wanted to produce good work with their own true style and not just knock-offs that seduce amateurs.

    Still a good response though.

    -Flynt

    Last edited by Flynt; July 26th, 2006 at 11:09 PM.
     

  18. #15
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    I needed this myself too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    look I dont know why I love you I just do
     

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    Artistic progression will happen without you forcing it. Over time, you subconsciously reject what doesn't look right anymore. Perhaps you've been drawing rather non-descript, pathetic ears for years and one day, you realize that the ears don't feel quite right.
    So you try it again. You finally figure out something that looks better. Not perfect but better. Tomorrow it'll be something else. And before you know it, you pick up a sketchbook from last year and say to yourself, "who the eff drew this crap?"

     

  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flynt
    Hah! Sunandshadow, I like your response. I guess I just assumed people wanted to produce good work with their own true style and not just knock-offs that seduce amateurs.

    Still a good response though.

    -Flynt
    Thank you - glad we're not arguing then. I think a lot of beginners don't understand why an original might be better than a knockoff - they just see something they like and wish that that coolness would come out of their own pencil. A lot of people get their start encouraging each other to do fan art of favorite characters, or drawing themselves as anthros or ninjas or whatever, or drawing someone they are mad at having bad luck or getting injured.

    Then the thought process evolved into wanting to become a famous and admired artist for making their own version of some popular piece or series of art. In this way style can form a large part of an artist's motivation, which is the main reason I hate the common attitude that students aren't allowed to have style - because removing their motivation takes away their joy of making art and might mean they quit doing art at all, and often means that they quit listening to teachers because the teachers insist on telling them to make art they have no motivation to make instead of art they do have motivation to make. But if they are allowed to pursue their own interests they will naturally start studying technique because they can see their stuff isn't quite the same as what they want to emulate. They still are mostly concerned with results and haven't realized that all art is the same language and rather than parroting a few words skill comes from studying the whole grammar and vocabulary. That's how formal art education is truly useful - by parading the history and variety of art before students more types of art may catch their interest, and they may see that there are underlying similarities and patterns between different artists and gorups of artists, particular movements and various media or cultural traditions.

    Some people who never have any formal art education even become good enough to sell their art without ever trying to do more than perfectly emulate one other artist or style. And I don't think this is bad - if people buy the art it must be making somebody happy, and as long as somebody's happy with the results can you really complain that the artist's attitude or mindset is wrong, just because they don't want to study the theory and breadth of art, or have glanced at art and decided that all but one kind is boring and not worth their time and effort to practice?

    Consider me: I dislike realistic art, pure and simple. I have zero interest in looking at or producing any realistic art. If realism were the only kind of art which existed, I probably wouldn't do art at all. But, I love iconic art. Lots of different kinds of iconic art: Neolitic cave art, Egyptian hieroglyphs and murals, South American heiroglyphs and murals, all kinds of tribal art, alchemical and magick diagrams and symbols, Ukio E, Art Nouveau and Deco, and modern anime and cartoons including kinds people never notice like logos, stickers, and tribal tattoos.

    As long as the subject is something iconic I am motivated to draw it, and as long as I am drawing I am learning, right? Yet, the number 1 thing I hear, from people who don't take the time to understand my goals or motivation, and can't even be bothered to point out a specific problem with my current work, is "Go study realistic anatomy." And some people get really pissy when I try to explain calmly why I'm totally not interested in doing that. Like it's a heresy to their religion of art scholarship that there are some things in art I don't want to study.

    Or maybe it's because people who get deep into the scholarly mindset where everything is about technique forget they they have their own subconscious biases. If you look at my anime anatomy thread in this forum you can see a real skeleton and an anime character who was professionally drawn and sold and popularly considered very attractive. (just ignore my skeleton in the middle). The realistic skeleton would NOT fit inside the anime character. Any way you look at it, anime proportions are not the same as realistic proportions, so if you think the real human body is the gold standard of correctness, anime art is always going to look wrong to you.

    If someone holds this attitude subconsciously, there is no way they can usefully critique anime art because they will be trying to push it towards realism, which will not be the artist's goal; if they wanted to draw realism they would have drawn that in the first place. Only people who are aware of their own biases, and who recognize that individual artists including total beginners have different STYLISTIC goals can really be good teachers who work with the student's motivations to help them learn what they want to and are ready to learn.

    So yeah. *blink* I somehow ended up writing an essay on why it's important to recognize the urge to produce work in a particular style as a basic motivation of many artists and a necessary bit of psychology for a good critiquer to understand.

     

  21. #18
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    "The realistic skeleton would NOT fit inside the anime character. Any way you look at it, anime proportions are not the same as realistic proportions, so if you think the real human body is the gold standard of correctness, anime art is always going to look wrong to you."

    I hate to hurt your feelings, but the reason anime humans look like humans is because... well, they use the human skeleton and human muscle structures...

    EDIT: Unless you are saying Correctness as in "Doesn't allow any distortion of that structure at all to be called correct", then I would ask who you are referring to.. I don't know of anyone on this site who wouldn't allow distortion of the human skeleton.

    Last edited by Pixeldragoon; July 27th, 2006 at 03:39 PM.
     

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    I think it's called practicing, as long as you keep doing what you're doing, you'll find your own style.......there is no tutorial on how to develop a style, it all comes from your heart and mind and soul

     

  23. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeldragoon
    "The realistic skeleton would NOT fit inside the anime character. Any way you look at it, anime proportions are not the same as realistic proportions, so if you think the real human body is the gold standard of correctness, anime art is always going to look wrong to you."

    I hate to hurt your feelings, but the reason anime humans look like humans is because... well, they use the human skeleton and human muscle structures...

    EDIT: Unless you are saying Correctness as in "Doesn't allow any distortion of that structure at all to be called correct", then I would ask who you are referring to.. I don't know of anyone on this site who wouldn't allow distortion of the human skeleton.
    Consider - when you critique someone's drawing by pointing out that the mouth is too big or the hands are too small, those are also distortions of the structure. How do you decide which ones are wrong and which ones are part of the style? If you find the style pleasing, you can say that the pleasing ones are right and the displeasing ones are wrong, but if you find the style displeasing it will all look wrong to you.

     

  24. #21
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    "How do you decide which ones are wrong and which ones are part of the style?"

    It's fairly obvious when a hand looks 'wrong' or 'right', or any other part of the body for that matter. There is no difference between an "anime" hand and a realistic hand, they are one and the same.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeldragoon
    "How do you decide which ones are wrong and which ones are part of the style?"

    It's fairly obvious when a hand looks 'wrong' or 'right', or any other part of the body for that matter. There is no difference between an "anime" hand and a realistic hand, they are one and the same.
    Well it could be that I'm worse than other people at seeing what's wrong with anatomy, but often other people say things look wrong which look fine to me.

     

  26. #23
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    Trying to force yourself into a particular style before you have developed a thorough understanding of the things that constitute it - proportion, anatomy, light, color etc, will only hinder your progress as an artist. Thinking you can skip these fundamentals and go straight into a style will pull you into the same trap as thousands of DA kiddies have fallen into - the superficialities of anime style are there, but there is no understanding of form or anatomy underneath, and the end result is not at all pleasant to look at. You can of course learn from other artists, the way that they use their pallette and brushstrokes or how they simplify this or that, and you will inevitably incorporate something of those artists that inspire you into your own work. I think the point is to understand what it is they have done and to what effect, rather than just blindly copying. Then you are learning from their foundations rather than the superficial. Think of it like a car...if you tried to build a car from just seeing the outside of one, there's no way it would work properly. But if you study the inside, get to know the workings intimately, then you are able to make it function as it should.

    The point is, style is secondary to the foundations of good art. It's really just an amalgamation of all those basic understandings like light and form that you have learned and interpreted in your own way. If you study a thousand photographs or people you are still going to have a different set of images than someone else who does the same, because your brain has developed differently in all the myriad ways that affect how you put a line on paper. Your own unique way of doing and seeing, as well as your particular likes and dislikes coupled with a sound knowldge of the basics will constitute your style without you even thinking about it.

    Last edited by waronmars; July 28th, 2006 at 05:12 AM.
     

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  28. #24
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    I think that even though anime proportions are different than real life proportions, there is still a certain correctness that is visible in those who know how to draw a realistic person and those who draw a anime person. Within some limits, the human body can be distorted in all ways thinkable (anime styled, very long limbs, charicature, etc). But still, an arm will still be two cilinders connected by some sort of joint in between. It's the knowledge of what is possible that makes those things still look convincing.

    (I think, prove me wrong if I am )

     

  29. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow
    As long as the subject is something iconic I am motivated to draw it, and as long as I am drawing I am learning, right? Yet, the number 1 thing I hear, from people who don't take the time to understand my goals or motivation, and can't even be bothered to point out a specific problem with my current work, is "Go study realistic anatomy." And some people get really pissy when I try to explain calmly why I'm totally not interested in doing that. Like it's a heresy to their religion of art scholarship that there are some things in art I don't want to study.
    That I have to disagree with. Even if you are drawing anime syle, you are still drawing humans, are you not? The example of an anime figure you posted is out of proportion even by anime standards, even then there is evidence that the artist has some understanding of anatomy. By blowing off figurative art you are making alot more trouble for yourself than necessary. You can't just not study anatomy if you want to draw people. Drawing a person in itself is anatomical, even a stick figure is descriptive of the human form.

    Also as long as you are drawing you are not necessarily learning. If you aren't making the effort to improve your understanding of the fundaments of art by studying etc then you are probably just ingraining bad habits.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow
    Or maybe it's because people who get deep into the scholarly mindset where everything is about technique forget they they have their own subconscious biases. If you look at my anime anatomy thread in this forum you can see a real skeleton and an anime character who was professionally drawn and sold and popularly considered very attractive. (just ignore my skeleton in the middle). The realistic skeleton would NOT fit inside the anime character. Any way you look at it, anime proportions are not the same as realistic proportions, so if you think the real human body is the gold standard of correctness, anime art is always going to look wrong to you.
    That character is out of proportion even by anime standards, yet he still is an abstraction of the human form. Just like the ancient greek sculptors used a heroic set of proportions for their men, something like 9 heads high rather than the average 7.5, so do anime artists. The proportion and structure is still there, it's just distorted somewhat.

    Like it or not, the real human body IS the gold standard of correctness. Every person sees hundreds of other humans every day, you see one in the mirror, and you know what a person should look like. Every time you look at a piece of art with a person in it, you subconsciously compare their proportions to the ones you have in you head, and decide whether it looks 'normal' or not. Even a drawing of a stick man gets the same treatment as Hussar's latest realist painting. Personally I look at the pic you posted and think he has too long legs. Sure, you say, that's my realistic bias, but the truth is, if you draw a person on a page you are subjecting yourself to the constraints of what is acceptable to the average person proportionally and anatomically. I enjoy watching many anime movies, and don't mind looking at well done images in the style, so I don't think it's my realism nazi bias that's at work.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow
    If someone holds this attitude subconsciously, there is no way they can usefully critique anime art because they will be trying to push it towards realism, which will not be the artist's goal; if they wanted to draw realism they would have drawn that in the first place. Only people who are aware of their own biases, and who recognize that individual artists including total beginners have different STYLISTIC goals can really be good teachers who work with the student's motivations to help them learn what they want to and are ready to learn.
    I think this is just a total cop out. Any style of figurative art is subject to the same rules as realism. Light falls exactly the same in an anime drawing, gravity is the same, cloth folds the same way, just stylised to some extent. Saying any kind of figurative art is independent of realism is absolute bullshit. This idea that beginners should emulate x style is perhaps one of the most damaging misconceptions for young artists. A style is an abstraction of reality, therefore you need to understand reality in order to create an effective abstraction. Even Picasso, that quintessential abstract artist, could paint realistically.

    An artists' style, be it stylised, realistic, or some where in between, is the culmination of all their work and effort and influences. You don't start the journey of art with a style, you feed it and nourish it as you go with study and imagination and a whole lot of hard work. If you really want to draw anime, if that is your absolute life's work, then move in that direction, but copying anime outright in every drawing you do is not unique or special, you're just doing exactly what thousands of other kids have done before, blindly drawing with no motivation or understanding. There is a whole lot more to art than just pretty pictures.

    Thinking that because you want to be the best anime artist ever is cause for only ever drawing anime is stupid. You have to do the hard slog through anatomy and light etc and just like everybody else. To paraphrase a great artist (the name escapes me atm) "To be a good anime artist, first you must be a great artist."

    And apologies for this dreadfully inarticulate reply, if anyone managed to read it all...

    Last edited by waronmars; July 28th, 2006 at 06:16 AM.
     

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  31. #26
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    To answer the title:


    There's a floating style stick that beats you repeatedly when you least expect it, so watch out.

    DON'T CLICK THIS
     

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    It's weird when someone says 'I like your style' and you think 'What style?'

    (i promise i won't post any more)

     

  33. #28
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    There is a very interesting debate going on here regarding the joy of doing one's own thing, vice the maximization of artistic knowledge. All very fascinating.

    Here's the crux, here, though: Beck wants to go into an established industry.

    There are a couple different things you can do:

    1. Work on making a style so distinct and appealing, that you will be hired. However, if you don't have the foundations to grow and fulfill changing requirements and different products, you won't stay hired. Note: there are terribly few artists who are able to develop this super-style to begin with.

    2. Become an artist with a wide understanding of art. This will allow you to emulate almost any style you wish. You will have a broad basis of worth and can be an asset to any number of companies. In addition, in the learning, you might develop that unique style, which really comes from your personality and world view.

    I can fully understand your point of view, Sun. You rage against the institutional chains you percieve creeping over your delicate, unique individuality, afraid that their only purpose is to tie you to the faceless masses and remove everything that makes your art yours, that makes your art fun, that makes your art the wallpaper to your soul.

    I still feel that you're not getting it, though. While regimented suffocation by artistic fundementals certainly can stifle any desire to continue learning (as if you were being taught to swim by constantly being drowned), that doesn't make the fundementals universally evil. By balancing the correct with the fun, you can go a long way.

    I think the danger is far greater by not studying. If you're only looking at one type of style, your growth is severly limited, and there is a far greater potential to become frustrated at being unable to draw what's in your head.

    True, you could go your whole life and be completely delighted with what you're drawing, but there are very few people able to make a living this way.

    War, Pix, and Jens said it well.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogfood
    I can fully understand your point of view, Sun. You rage against the institutional chains you percieve creeping over your delicate, unique individuality, afraid that their only purpose is to tie you to the faceless masses and remove everything that makes your art yours, that makes your art fun, that makes your art the wallpaper to your soul.

    I still feel that you're not getting it, though. While regimented suffocation by artistic fundementals certainly can stifle any desire to continue learning (as if you were being taught to swim by constantly being drowned), that doesn't make the fundementals universally evil. By balancing the correct with the fun, you can go a long way.
    Erm, that's not really how I feel about the issue. I don't think that fundamentals are evil, or that institutional chains are restricting my individuality. I'm a hopeless non-conformist, I can't even find the box much less be trapped inside it. Instead it's the inflexible and zealous attitude of people toward studying art which annoys me because it makes them unhelpful at critiquing my stuff. I'm not just an artist, I'm primarily a writer (fiction, non-fiction, and song lyrics), and also a video game designer. And I've asked for and received criticism on all these various endeavours, but only on my drawing do I run into the fact that people seem unable to critique the elements I ask for critique on.

    I can tell my writing group, I would like this piece to be critiqued for character, and they can ignore the spelling and the plot and focus on what I asked for, and they're very friendly about it too. But so often you see artists with this wierd sadomasochistic attitude that criticism should hurt, that amature artists being critiqued don't deserve respect because they aren't 'real artists', and that if the fundamentals aren't correct it's unthinkable to temporarily ignore that and critique other aspects of the work. But that's essential to being a good critiquer, because people can only learn what they're ready to learn, in the style of learning that works for them.

    I think more artists need to study Montessori educational theory, because currently art educational philosophy seems trapped in the grammar school/academy model of drill and vicious lecture, with not enought thought given to creating a positive learning environment and working with individual motivations, abilities, goals, learning styles, and readiness to improve in a particular area.

     

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