well maybe i'll sound elitest, but ive always been a fan of the idea; draw how you draw, dont look too closely at others work and dont worry too much about finding your "style". it comes on its own but if you're looking at others work too closely to learn you're only learning somebody elses path in the road of art and not your own
I did look at others work to get inspired as i started out, but mostly i looked at photographs while i worked, not art. i was given a bit of advice like 8 years ago, and ive always held it pretty high up on things to remember, and i share it often.
when you're learning how to draw/paint, you should look at LIFE. figure study classes if you can, photos if you cannot. in other words, paint a river by sitting next to it, not by looking at another artists painting of it.
EDIT: yes there is something to learn and digest with looking at others works. but when you start your own art, put down theirs!
learning how to draw by looking at other peoples work ends in something not only fairly unoriginal, but it also causes you to not only absorb their strengths but also their faults as well. this is paramount!
when you look at life, you're not only learning the basics and foundations of art, you're also developing your own style as you choose how to interpret what you see.
this comes from talk lately about how other colorists, primarily at zenescope have been copying my style i used predominately for so many years with them.
i noticed it at first, and denied it. im not a narcissist. but a few other people close to me seem almost as concerned about it as i am, and they brought it up unprovoked.
hell, anyway, if you've noticed my style changing thats mostly the reason why.
i can see and understand the argument that copying is how you learn, but thats a common argument that people dont really understand as they use it. they dont understand that copying to learn doesnt mean on somebody elses artistic struggles. and yes, painting classes have taught how to impersonate classic painters for generations for learning purposes. but if those art teachers were any good, they would teach how to paint using whats around you, not whats in front of you, so to speak. for instance, do you think those genious classic painters learned what they know from looking at others paintings? was the statue of david carved by looking at another artists painting? think about it. and to be fair to that line of thought, should you look to the statue to learn anatomy? the answer is undoubtedly no, look at life as Michelangelo most certainly had. look the the statue as inspiration in your aspirations.
but hey, if anything, i'll look on the bright side. its pushed me, or shoved me rather, into striving to really work hard on what my art really is, and to plant a seedling that grows every day now. life study being my sunshine, photo resources my water, and my passion being a little love to help it grow.
Thank you for this entry. This makes me want to do my best while sketching the images from my mind and photos. It scares me when I see some of my latest drawings that almost look like someone elses' style--especially because it is purely unintentional. After reading what you've written here, I feel I will give art another chance and I won't give up. (I was nearly discouraged continuing to be a deviant because of this issue--as I don't want to look like I'm copying! >.<) Long story short, your entry is like a breath of fresh air and your artwork is AMAZING. I'm sure you get that a lot. You've inspired me to continue. Thank you, and I hope you don't mind that I'm adding you to my watch list! ^^Keep up the awesome work!
I've started off trying to draw as realistically as I can. But now I want to give a more cartoon/manga style a go. Do you think that fan art is a good pathway to creating your own style, or how would you suggest going about moving from realism to cartoon/manga?
i've been realizing this for a few days..and with a little research i think its true that to be a true artist is to study life. and i really appreciate what you said, i really appreciate that you shared with us what you've experienced.
i don't know why people keep questioning themselves or others about this, i guess people are scared about what path they are taking, and where it will get them...
But to be honest, i don't really give a f about copying or not copying, i guess you just like something, you really like it, and you tell yourself, well i could have done that, cause it's totally the kind of thing i like, so why not taking inspiration of it.
Saying "don't look too much at peoples work" is like telling people that if you want to be good, you have to be alone, in a dark locked place, to develop your art, sometime you go outside and look at nature, just nature, nothing else, and then you return in this dark place to draw what you saw. i'm not in that, and honestly you are not in that yourself.
When i look at your work, i see a lot of things that has already been done, it doesn't mean you copyed it, not at all, it just means that in our days, you are surrounded by a particular culture, with anime, comics, movies, even a car design, or the coffe machine you have, every thing around you have a particular design, even people have changed, cause they are not wearing the same clothes as in 1900 etc...
I really think that looking and comparing other art to your own is not a mistake, i think the mistake is thinking that you are unique just because you don't look at others people art.
this is not a critique or something else, just i think people ask themselves too much about it, just draw, just create, make what you like goddamnit, and everything is gonna be alright, listen to teachers when they say "look at nature", but never listen someone who tell you not to look at something, even if it's manga or cartoons...
you're telling successful people to turn around and telling them that what they do is wrong. maybe i am too, but to get somebody to think differently for a second, thats a good thing, you cant fool me that it isnt.
I am the type that learns from coying other people, but it's more or less just the challenge of using real life and seeing how they interpret it into lines. I love being inspired by other people "oh you can do it that way too" and all the such. But when I draw, I really do have my own style. I don't try to form my style into someone else's though I started out with "My fanart has to look EXACTLY like the original art" but my own art has always been it's own.
I agree with what you're writing though, I have a really strong own style, but you need to start from life, you can't just copy your way forward; you won't get the understanding of colour and shape if you just copy. Life is the only thing you can really get a true impression of how "it's supposed to be". Copying is an artform you should only take to after you've learned how to draw, if at all. I'm just a monkey see, monkey do, kinda person. I want to try what other's do, and it may influence me, but I don't intend to use someone else's style.
This journal is inspirational and honest. You bring up fair points that make a lot of sense and I feel like sharing this with others. I'll make sure to make a journal linking to your's Thank you Nei for sharing your thoughts on this subject.
I couldn't suggest a figure-drawing class enough. It's seriously the best thing you can do for yourself as an artist. And contour drawings, which I've always thought were bullshit until my figure-drawing class (where I still thought it was bullshit, until that one day when I realized, holy crap, it works). I think if you're going for a certain technique, you can get away with studying what a multitude of artists do to achieve that technique, so long as you're not going to just blatantly copy their style. Like, I can draw realistic faces, but I want to draw people with big French comic-book styled eyes, so I study other French comic book artists to see how they fit big eyes into a normal-sized head, and maybe I'll sketch a couple copies of some faces to get a feel for it, but then I'll work on it myself and try to get something that I can achieve without looking at Their work first...
ToolKitten, If we ever end up at a con together I would love to buy you lunch. I have been preaching the draw from life is key my entire adult life and it is crazy how many people want to argue that you don't need it. I'm glad you said what people need to hear.
I've wondered what it's like to be a "famous" artist, now I know thanks to you. Imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery, but it also says something about the artist being imitated too doesn't it?
I'm glad you're pushing yourself with each picture you make, it's inspirational to many!
I think it's great to learn from others in an inspirational sense, but absolutely learn and watch from life... I know you mentioned it earlier in a comment, you have to learn it for yourself. Going through the motions of figuring out a solution or a style provides you with so much more than a shortcut.
If you want to learn from others DA is a great place as a forum. I would also suggest finding Drink and Draws or groups to chat with other artists. Conversation is better than a picture.
PS - I saw you in NY. So fabulous to see all your prints up close. You were fabulous.
I respectfully disagree. Different people learn in different ways. My clinical view of things means that looking at something in real life doesn't mean as much to me as seeing a similar piece of art and working out how the artist put it all together. With the issue of the other artists at the same company developing similar styles, I wonder if it's just a case of your stuff being popular, so maybe they are doing something similar 'cause that's what sell comics in their eyes
I guess I’m responding from a business perspective, in terms of the general comment line that the imitation of your style affects you professionally as a sellable and unique skill.
From looking through your gallery often (I can't draw our colour so I’m always in awe of your work, and it makes me smile on days when our creativeness in the studio is doing my head in lol) and speaking to Charligal about what your work and career entails, I am aware that your style of work is like a qualification on a resume, or a high profile cases win list on a lawyers profile. It is the stuff that shows that you are the best person for the job, you are an industry leader etc. etc, it’s makes you employable. Although I would ask you to step back from the personal hurt for a second and look at the big picture.
You have a style that is in all other words best described as "successful" in your industry, yes? You must look at this "successful style" as a "required skill base" in the business world. Because that is what your managers, and employer are seeing it as. Not an artistic style, but a skill that their business requires. Your style has become a part of their brand. It has become a recognisable look and feel of their brand, which means it has become an important and valuable asset to the business. Your artistic style is now worth money to them, a lot of money!! This is a good thing for you.
Although you need to be aware that the people who read the comics you work on do not look at the comic and say hey this is ToolKitten's work (sorry I don't know your real name), they look at an open page over the shoulder of somebody on the train and say that's a "whatever the company name is" comic. And the reason they may buy the comic is not purely because it's your work, they will buy it because of the story, the layout, the illustrations and colouring, and the reputation of the comic itself. You are part of a package that sells the final product.
So once you look at yourself from an asset point of view you will realise that you are both a valuable asset, and a major financial threat to your employer. To break it down: 1. You style is visually recognised as the company’s style. Your style makes them money and is an important part of their brand. This is GOOD for you because your needed by them. 2. If you leave and take your style to another company you take a part of their brand with you. This is BAD for them. Which mean this scenario is a major threat. So what they are doing is safe guarding themselves purely from a brand identity point of view. Your style has become such a valuable asset that they cannot risk leaving you the only person able to do that style. What if you fell ill and could not work for 6 months, what would they do? They couldn’t not put a comic out for 6 months could they? So they have to have people who could continue the publication in a similar style to ensure business viability.
I would ask you to look at this from the positive side. Your style has now been defined as in demand. It is valuable. As an artist you will appreciate that part of the style of your work is about the tools and how you use them, the other part is about how you interpret things, and the emotion of you when you’re working. No matter how much they train somebody to imitate you it will never be spot on. Art is 60% media, 40% heart.
The best way I can explain the head space you need to get into is to explain it based on my situation; I am Charligal’s manager. I train her every day with the knowledge I have of our industry. Right now if I’m not at work some things can’t be done because I have the knowledge and skill to get a certain result that Charligal doesn’t have the skill or understanding to get yet. My job is to train her so that on my days off she can do everything that I can. I am basically training her to imitate me, copy what I can do exactly. But no matter how much I train her she will never BE me. In 5 years if we went for the same job they would always pick me over her…because they want the master, not the understudy. No matter how much she learns to do everything that I can do I will always be the more skilled. As she learns what I know, I’m always learning more and growing my skills more.
I don’t know you personally, or much about your industry although I’m sure it works the same as most industry models. My advice to you is to professionally reposition yourself. Your no longer a colourist (I think that’s what you would be called), you are now an industry leader in colouring. You are the father (or mother in your case) of “whatever” comic colourist style, the founder of the visual colourist style of a famous industry icon. Sell yourself differently. Businesses may want to have backups of your style but they will always still want the master. The others will always just be an understudy. Build a brand around who you are, create yourself into a business. Make sure people know who created the style. Be famous. Write books, collaborate with other line workers (again I have no idea if that’s what they are called) make calendars, run workshops, seminars, blogs, turn yourself into a the famous star that you are. Step out from behind the comic and build yourself into a business. You want to make it so that people refer to that style of colouring as “Toolkitten style” (again I don’t know your name). When your understudies walk into an interview with their portfolio there work will be defined as “Toolkitten style”.
I’m not sure if this is going to make sense. It’s so much easier to talk to people than to type this sort of motivation into a comment box, and I’m not sure if this is the advice you’re looking for. The bottom line is you can’t stop them from training others to imitate your style, it’s smart business; But you can reposition yourself to take advantage of the professional platform this gives you.
I understand that it can be frustrating from a artist's point of view when this happens. So i can see why it affected her this way. The fact is the business went about it the wrong way. They should have been upfront about thier reasons and thier intentions and maybe commisioned her to help with the interview and HR process to find the right people.
Yes I definately agree with you on that. I work in the advertisement buseness, and so my point of view on that subject might be less "drastic". I have learned that when a client with money wants something he will buy it, no matter how much I neglect it.
It will happen because by this moment this is about the client not about me. As hard as that might sound.
Really well said and important. It's actually these and similar reasons that pushed me to start providing stock photos here on DA as well as the art on my account. For one, the reference I provide helps me with my art as well as helping countless others and for two its really rewarding to see artists grow on their own.
Agree to it! But what can I say, how can I disagree? xD You are right but sometimes you look and copy others works and as you get better you even see the mistakes and you start to look up how you can do it better and then you go to the nature for it. But to do so you have to have the passion for it... and patience
Bloody sweet jesus lizard...OK, eh heired awe. It's not an option it's a fact. However, people doesn't really want to struggle. They just want to go and get something out of nothing. Then enjoy the benefits from it. It's shit, but that's how it is. If they really wanted to do something well done, they would have done it properly. I.e. looking for an intrutor. However, we see it on a daily basis here in DA.
CHildren copying whatever cartoon they're into, tracing, or whatever, then claiming they're learning. And worst of all, they pretend to fool others into thinking they're doing actual improvement into it.
THAT'S A BLOODY BUNCH OF BULK. AND ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN KNOWS IT!
Maybe it sounds like a denial reaction, but thinking that you can save them all is just a joke. Those who have been out there, in the actual world, knows that a children drawing anime-like doodles won't get past the lobby at any company. Sure we now have internet and hosting site where you can get the chance to show up your stuff with little or no investment. Still, one thing is a thousand horny tods looking at your stuff, then giving you a blowjob; and another completely different thing is these thousand of kids actually going to a magazine store and purchasing your stuff periodically!
I love all these words written above by Toolkitten. I love them. And I try to put them into action. And I've also said them several times before.
But what I've seen is the bloody same anywhere you go. So, these words should not be told out loud trying to open everybody's eyes, but being told to anyone who's willing to listen. Trying to make it universal is just a waste of one's time.
yeah i call it ignorance though, how can an artist know if they dont know how they should be studying, unless they go to school. kind of a good reason to reach your 50k watchers with the journal and spread some information around, hmm?
the earlier you can wake them up the better, right?
you can read comments below and understand my words have helped people already, even if just a few, so dont give me some bullshit that its hopeless and a waste of time. if you dont agree with me or learn from the journal, its been a place of great art discussion, which is one of the best things i can hope to live for.
My lady, please allow me to post my humble opinion on this one
Doesn't it tell us something when artists from the very same publishing house that you are working for are mimmicing your style?
I would rather ask, instead of telling them what to learn or not learn from, in what ways their work for your publishing house holds responsibility for their actions. As a matter of fact, it is no secret that companies that have defined a brand for themselves are most interested to keep that brand up and recognizable. A lot of publishing houses are hiring artists who have a somewhat comparable style and subject to their art to market their niche/ brand better.
So for Zenescope growing big with your dear work, I can very well imagine that they are looking for artists who can do like the good master - like you.
So what is it actually that makes you feel intimidated about that? Is it the feeling that you could be replaced by someone else? Is it the anger about your hard work that others now seem to profit from? Or is it, though still hidden, the upcoming idea that a publishing house e.g. client might always tend to do what they think will sell their product best? (Which therefore could then again come into conflict with your views upon your art and art in general?)
So are we really making a discussion about education here? And then again, why should something that has been taught at very well known schools for generations be all wrong all of a sudden?
You've a point, sorry for meddling, but you only have a point. And it's that the reason for that statement above is the fear for competition. More specifically, the fear for a "chinese-like" competition. You know, something that looks like the real thing, but it's in no way comparable to it.
However, what I understand from your last lines is this:
-Copying is not bad. After all, people does it. So that means it's a right thing, isn't it?
No it's not. I did like to see those instructors making their students copy other's artwork, and not practicing over the real stuff. It all sounds like that unsuccesful self-proclaimed artist who has nothing else to do but trying to leech up from the little they know. And it's a fact. You go to qualified institution, and their certified instructors won't sit you in front of a Monnet replica and command you to copy it. They'll use the excesive fee you paid for these classes to hire somebody to stand naked for hours so you can try to draw/paint/mimic him.
Thousands are the stories of famous artists hiring prostitutes so they could make paintings. Probably it's romanticised to the point you could think they did it after having learn all their techniques. But it's a matter of fact that it was part of their developmental process.
However, you go to that guy intructing at a community center, he'll probably bring a Da Vinci replica and tell you to "draw". That's a joke, and whoever can paint or draw like a pro knows it. None of them will ever tell you "yeah, I learn to make photorealistic photoshop paints just by staring at a famous paint for days". That's ridiculous.
So you have eperiences with teaching and know what students struggle with and how to teach them? And further on you're a pro in art history, I'm impressed.
"-Copying is not bad. After all, people does it. So that means it's a right thing, isn't it?"
Well that is what you said I supposedly said. What I actually said was: "Doesn't it tell us something when artists from the very same publishing house that you are working for are mimmicing your style?"
The question I was making was a question related to business. And you relate it to art school and teachers. How does this come together now?
They way you wrote it. Besides, knowing a bit about something doesn't make you an experts of the trade. But it helps-you should try it, instead of making snarky comments like that. After all, having a bit of advantage over others isn't a crime, boy.
well, when what made you famous is making somebody else famous it feels wrong, and i stand out less as my own artist and people are literally mixing us up to some extent, it damages the brand that is my art. no im not a special snowflake, but it was still what makes me what i am as a colorist. i am hired for the work i do, and i have that work because of how hard i do work, and people who copy they come along and take the glory.
look at it from a marketing standpoint, and brands. companies to some extent can actually sometimes sue for that.
and im a progressive thinker, you can be one of those guys swearing he still only uses real paint, or you can open your mind and see your own world.
You know, every once in a while, I come across a sketch or painting that I think is just great and life-like, and I it to the same folder as photographs thinking to get a better idea of where to start when drawing from life, because I struggle with that. (I have little time for art and it's a lesser hobby than some things-- I'm really still learning the basics.) Then I inevitably go back later and find myself irritated-- why did I save this? What was the point? This is a neat drawing, but it isn't life and doesn't look like life in some ways, so what could I possibly learn from this? Anything I learn is questionable, because that artist may have it wrong. I could be attempting to learn anatomy from CLAMP and not even know it's wrong for a while... and then I'll just have to unlearn and relearn later, making it even more difficult to get it right. No point to that.
i used to have the hardest time drawing from life! there is so much information, its ridiculous, when you look at photos you get a little overwhelmed yeah? i got over that hurdle by simplifying things. one thing that helped for plant life, for example, is seeing the forms simplified in a line art flowers book i got at barnes and noble.
this is where my journal comes into play, because i did look at what is somebody elses art to just see what the shapes look like in line art, open my mind as i stated earlier, so then i put the book down, and get to work. and now i can draw plants from color photos i took or from my mind, and im happy with them
Hm. I keep seeing this being more and more of a problem with the artists I follow. Ebas has been having same problems with artists copying lines and ideas. Atleast though, most fans are able to tell the difference, and we appreciate the original works and authenticity. Trust me Nei, definitely can't feel what you feel- but as a fan its disappointing to hear people attempting to imitate your work.
As someone who's struggling to develop style this resonates very deeply, especially coming from someone whose art I admire so much and that I've been guilty of looking to for style influence. I've always learned by imitation of others' work; saying learn from life to create an interpretation of reality and find your own personal style is probably the best piece of advice I've heard. Thanks, Nei. Your words are definitely appreciated.
It's important to note that nearly all of the master artists from the recognized periods of classic art learned and taught with copying as a major component of training/education. Copying the works of their teacher was an extremely common part of their training. It wasn't until the modern era that we see the shift away from copying as part of the curriculum.
I agree with the main points of your journal, but I felt I should clarify the above point.
Personally, I think copying/referring to other artists' work can be extremely useful. You can learn from their mistakes as well as learn from their strengths. Yes, some people take it too far and it becomes emulation, rather than learning.
At the end of the day, having your own unique and original drawing style is critical if you plan on doing any sort of work in the industry.