turtles
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: what is "style"?  (Read 8157 times)

Offline /gage/

what is "style"?
«: July 26, 2009, 04:33:50 AM»
I've always had this problem with my art, and that is that I find  I can draw in anybody's styles, and whomever's art i admire most at the moment is who I draw like. To eliminate this problem in my commissions, I simply reference only photos and focus solely on the anatomy of the picture, and try to get complete line-art realism. I feel like this makes me a bad, unoriginal 'draw-er', and not even worthy of being called an artist.

How does one develop style? What do I do if I don't have one? How do you choose a focus and stick to it?

I've heard so many ideas and theories on style, some people say its a combination of the artists you admire most, some say its just the representation of your experiences in an artistic way. I've always been a lost cause on style, ever since I joined deviantart and found out that people even have styles, way back in like. 2004 or something. Some people seem to have such unique styles, especially people I consider my good friends, like panic-room, ruskova, anarchy, manthers and lolbeth! I just don't know how they got to that point.

tl;dr what is style?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 04:43:27 AM by Corgi »

 
        

Offline Anarchy

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #1: July 26, 2009, 04:50:24 AM»
I think style can be extremely subtle. Even when you attempt 'extreme realism' some of your style will ooze through, whether it's something so simple as the way you hold your pencil and the strokes you make, or as complex as a particular shading technique. You develop your personal style constantly subconciously, however it is possible to develop conciously as well. I prefer to just let my art do what it does, I don't think or worry about style. I hope that eventually it will evolve to be something unique and recogniseable this way, and it will feel so completely personal on a mental level because I didn't think about it, I just.... did.

Honestly, I'm sure almost everyone has a different opinion on style. I guess it's a little like religion for us artists. I guess my 'advice' is... just go with the flow!

Offline Lazer

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #2: July 26, 2009, 04:58:03 AM»
yeah I find my mannerisms towards style come from two things: my ultimate goal for how the painting should look (am I emulating a style, am I not?), and what techniques I use (am I using a developed technique? am I trying something new and hoping it looks good?). between those two your style is chosen for you, practically.

Offline /gage/

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #3: July 26, 2009, 05:04:48 AM»
yeah I find my mannerisms towards style come from two things: my ultimate goal for how the painting should look (am I emulating a style, am I not?), and what techniques I use (am I using a developed technique? am I trying something new and hoping it looks good?). between those two your style is chosen for you, practically.

Hmm... what do you mean by emulating style?

Offline Tate

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #4: July 26, 2009, 05:21:35 AM»
As shameful for me to admit it as it is, my style is heavily anime influenced. Or, was. It influenced me to do more accurate anatomy, compared to say sonic stuff, or billy and mandy style stuff. Then I met another artist, SpamTheFox, irl. I started moving toward the way she drew faces, instead of painful animu faces. I also started drawing furries because of her. Then.. well, I think the only other major influence in my style has been Edwarde. Any time I'm around him, any time he doodles and is happy, I tend to learn things, and be influenced by him.

Everything else that's influenced my style in more minor ways is when I want to draw something, but don't get it right the first time. I look around, see someone who does it in an attractive way, and take it, fiddle around with the idea, and make something out of it like I like. Like when I first started trying to draw canine anthros a few months ago, I looked at Wolfnymph, and liked the way she did hands, and tried to fiddle that into something.

There's nothing wrong with subconsciously being influenced by someone else's style. Though I guess you think you're basically copying them. :/

Offline Lazer

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #5: July 26, 2009, 05:32:06 AM»
Hmm... what do you mean by emulating style?

"emulating style" is a nice way to say "copying the way someone else does art/someone's technique."

if you've ever taken an art class, you've done it. I remember when I had to "emulate" van gogh. god that was terrible. impasto takes so much time.

IPGD

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #6: July 26, 2009, 10:13:23 AM»
Don't worry about style. Unless you're trying to purposefully emulate another artist's work for whatever reason, don't even think about it. Style can be something that either helps you or completely screws you, and the latter usually comes about by over-thinking it. Forcing yourself to be more "stylish" will not make your art any more interesting, just overworked.

Sookan

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #7: July 26, 2009, 10:50:25 AM»
there is nothing wrong with focusing on realism. you'll find that you naturally tune yourself to drawing figures and shapes in certain ways, even if it's only the degree your lines bend, or the length of your strokes. (basically what anarchy said, right)

being dyslexic, i find copying other people's styles very difficult. i tried to when i was younger, and i completely fucked my direction, which is why most of my feral art looks like a 5 year old pissed on a sheet of paper. i'm trying to head back to realism with it, to sort of undo all the fangirlism of my early and pre teens.
i also hated art class. too much work, too much attention on drawing like other artists.

emulating styles is probably something i wouldn't advise anybody do unless they're confident about where they are, where they want to be, and how they want to get there. just do whatever feels best.

Offline binkari

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #8: July 26, 2009, 11:11:02 AM»
It's difficult to define style because it's always changing. Oftentimes, "styles" are defined by the viewers more than the artist themselves. For example, I don't think I have a very distinct style where people will say "hey, Binkari totally drew that," but others have told me that they can recognize my work from a mile away. Oddly enough, I actually don't find that comment particularly flattering.

The more you concern yourself with "finding" a technical or idealistic style, the more you hinder your own growth as an artist. The same goes for drawing one particular genre. To me, being known as "the artist that draws really cute chibis of sea turtles with flower pots on their heads" (for example) is a bad sign that you're pigeonholing yourself.

Emulation is one way to discover a style you enjoy, experimentation is another. Either way, the more you draw, the more you'll develop your "personal" style. Even then, your style can and should evolve, whether through improvement of technique, or expansion of ideas.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 11:13:06 AM by binkari »

Offline Sebbi

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #9: July 26, 2009, 11:35:33 AM»
I agree with the majority of the posts here!

I especially like the "go with the flow" portion and I can really understand where you are coming from. My own personal 'style' has been a combination of, like Masha, seeing what I like and trying to put that into my own perspective. It is also like Anarchy said; you're going to have differences in pen strokes, color choices, and simply how you perceive your world and apply that to your art.

The fact that you're going out of your way to both experience the world of stylization AND attempting to apply your own perception speaks volumes. There is an artist I like to watch on FA called Faint and in one of the journals he mentions that the only way he got good at what he does was to draw, draw, draw. Doodle when you can. Because of that I just carry a little notepad and pencil around with me and practice. 

I personally love the way J. Bernal (excuse teh pr0nz) draws his furries. It's got this cartoonish quality with these wide, adorable faces! Some diss on it, but it's a preference. However, I'm also in love with how certain styles of anime are portrayed (See: CUTEANIMEOMFG). So...I kind of play in my comfort zone. If I happen to expand my skill, then so be it! The quality of work I practice now I'm content with only because, like some have said here, it's not worth stressing yourself and getting burnt out over. I only know this because I want to eat CrimsonSacrifice's (DA) face and absorb her abilities to draw monstrous critters and it stressed me out when I tried to be JUST.LIKE.HER. and couldn't do it. Damn hands D:<

If you draw, it will come D8

Also, be comforted that all artists have emulated or are emulating other styles through their work. We all take a little piece of those age-old geometric structures with us!

Offline Talzhemir

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #10: August 01, 2009, 10:22:00 PM»
A 'style' is a combination of features or exaggerations that work well together.  It's an optimum that humans may find appealing at both an instinctive and cultural level.

Typically, in the development of a style there are one or two key changes  which lead to secondary changes that go well with the earlier ones.

We're able to watch styles develop, and track the changes.  Sometimes they are gradual, incremental, done bit by bit.

For instance, in the early development of the manga style, the eyes were enlarged.  At first, mouths and noses were made larger and more prominent.  Noses were very long and nearly touch the mouth.
http://www.madman.com.au/wallpapers/herlock_1280.jpg

The style evolves as a product of many people working with similar imagery.  In Japan and Korea, everybody reads comics, and thousands of artists followed the general look.  Over time, the artists made the noses smaller and smaller.  By 1980, noses were tiny little carats. < < <
http://www.hellslife.com/sailormoon.jpg

Sometimes the changes are conscious, and deliberate.  Generally they come from spotting a feature that is likeable, and deliberately incorporating it more.

Studio CLAMP, the group of artists who created Sailor Moon and other popular series later created Card Captor Sakura.  While the big eyes are cute, they have a tendency to make a face look crowded, even without the vertical line of the nose.  To compensate, CLAMP gives their most recent characters extremely wideset eyes (they nearly touch the outer edges of the face).  The overall facial shape for the younger characters is a squarish form pentagon, to accomodate this wideset look.  (And, notice the nose has become even tinier.)
http://www.an-sky.com/images/Card-Captor-Sakura.jpg

Do these optimums really "work"?  Yes.  Here's an example of a Chobits manga cover (Chobits is also by CLAMP), and a knock-off.  Arguably, this isn't plagiarism, because, in the imitation, the artist has undone CLAMP's signature look.  The eyes are large but not set so far apart; the face is the older style 'heart'.
http://comipress.com/files/images/articles/2007/07/plagiarism/clamp/clamp2.jpg

While both pictures have something going for them, viewers will tend to sense that the face on the right is an uncomfortable in-between, while the one on the left, although it's wildly unrealistic, hits that comfortable optimum.

Just about every artist goes through a phase where they take a style and cleverly think to improve it by "toning it down".  They think it's too unrealistic.  Styles don't react well to this kind of treatment because what you usually get, then, is the Uncanny Valley effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

----------

Because they are optimums, styles can spontaneously reappear.  Here's Charlie Brown when he FIRST appeared:
http://www.wmucomic.com/peanutsstrip.gif

Over time, the artist, Charles Schulz, gave Charlie Brown a larger and larger nose.  The eyes crept close to be right on either side of it (and some characters have little lines to either side of those dot eyes).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Peanuts_gang.png

THIS optimum is a license worth billions of dollars even today.  They are likenesses over which many a court battle has been fought.  Charlie Brown has a face that, according to a study around 1980, 90% of Earth's 6 billion people could recognize by name.
http://www.etc3dot.com/images/Lucy_and_Charlie_Brown.jpg

But, while the details are uniquely "Peanuts", the proportions are an optimum that the world has seen many times before:
http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/03/3603-004-7BFCB24F.jpg
http://www.belize.com/images/archaeology/belize-maya-sun-god-jade-head.jpg

-----

To some extent, a style is also what people have become used to seeing.

In Central America, the cradleboarding fad went on for millenia.  Pieces of wood were tied to the heads of infants to give them a flat forehead and a long pointy skull.
http://ahotcupofjoe.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/pakal.jpg

This style brought about changes to how people wanted noses to look.  They wore golden nose-bridge ornaments to enhance a single line from forehead to tip of nose.
http://www.precolumbianwood.com/images/aztec.18.jpg

You can clearly see the look that the people of Bonampak found beautiful from their extensive murals:
http://markamusic.com/Maps/BonampakMural.gif

Meso-American people also hung a bead or ball of wax over a child's nose to make them cross-eyed.  They thought that was especially attractive, too.

These things look strange to us simply because we didn't grow up with them.  If you had grown up in Burma, amongst the Padaung, would you find brass neck tubing and a long neck more attractive?
http://news.softpedia.com/images/news2/The-Giraffe-Women-of-the-Neck-Rings-2.jpg

Many of the Padaung women are horrified by how American and European women love to wear painful and unnatural footgear, and think this looks frighteningly deformed:
http://www.steadyhealth.com/articles/user_files/11361/Image/high_Heel_Shoes.jpg

Sometimes a style is so well-optimized we don't even realize it exists.  Take ballet, for example.

The dancer doesn't just extend her foot, she balances on the very point.
http://www.freewebs.com/dance2thetop/pointe%20shoe.jpg

Doing this by itself makes the neck way look too short.  So the dancer elongates and flattens their spine, especially the cervical (neck) vertebrae, and pulls their shoulders downwards.
http://www.treehugger.com/bill-mckibben-rebecca-kelly-ballet-dancer-adirondack.jpg

This, in turn, gives the dancer long gorilla arms, so, instead of letting them flop around, the arms are held outwards and curved.
http://www.ljb.org.uk/images/ballet3.jpg

We know from art that the ballet style wasn't always like this:
http://images.easyart.com/i/prints/rw/en_easyart/lg/5/7/Ballet-Dancers-Edgar-Degas-5798.jpg

nor was the dainty build of the typical dancer the ideal feminine shape at the time:
http://images.easyart.com/i/prints/rw/en_easyart/lg/2/5/Ballet-Dancer-Edgar-Degas-25238.jpg

Often, art is taking something difficult and highly unnatural, and making it look effortless and natural.  Like, for instance, a dainty girl with the corpse of a tortured nearly-naked full-grown man in her lap.
http://stldesignworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/michelangelo27s_pieta_5450_cropncleaned1.jpg

-----

Most styles are variants and hybrids.  If you're doing your own take on an existing thing, that's still your own style.  But, if you're worried it isn't strongly "your own" style, maybe you're being too hard on yourself.

I believe that, in some ways, creating a unique style is akin to designing a vehicle that uses something else besides wheels and seats, or founding your own ethnicity of cooking.

It can be done; it's difficult; only one person in a couple billion will ever do it; and when they do, there's no guarantee others will like it.  People like the existing styles partly because of culture/fashion, but also because of some deep-seated instincts.

In other words, whether other people like a new style is a crap shoot.

Who liked the look of Dave the Barbarian?
http://images.tvrage.com/shows/4/3249.jpg

The Flintstones?
http://www.ainacarruth.com/files/page0_blog_entry81_1.jpg

Betty Boop?
http://sitemaker.umich.edu/portfolio.goamy/files/hello-betty-boop-web.jpg

Alphonse Mucha?
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3198/2476512754_98e7de11f7_o.jpg

Invader Zim?
http://content9.flixster.com/poll/16/38/163899_ori.gif

The Simpsons?
http://weblogs.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/blog/the-simpsons.jpg

Mike Mignola?
http://www.starstore.com/acatalog/Hellboy-comic-figures-l.jpg

P. Craig Russell?
http://frpeneaud.free.fr/artists/Russell/ImagesRussell/Curse%20siegfried.jpg

Alexander Calder?
http://www.egodesign.ca/_files/articles/blocks/818_centre_pompidou_alexander_calder_usa.jpg

Just remember that style doesn't come overnight.  The stunning optimizations of "Lion King" (1994)
http://www.puzzleheaven.co.uk/kids150/28075lion%20king.jpg
is the sum total of art by hundreds of individual cartoonists, and work that goes back thirty years.
It draws heavily on Disney's "Jungle Book" (1967)
http://animationarchive.net/Feature%20Films/The%20Jungle%20Book/Model%20Sheets/ShereKhan01.gif
and a little-known piece of manga called "Kimba the White Lion" (about 1950-1965).  Lion King was a shameless theft of Osamu Tezuka's work.

http://www.geckoandfly.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/the_lion_king_simba_kimba03.jpg

http://www.geckoandfly.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/the_lion_king_simba_kimba07.jpg

http://www.hemmy.net/images/movies/kimba01.jpg

With extremely few exceptions, most of what you think of as a particular artist's style is an amalgamation of predecessors you were born years to late to even know about.

If you're a beginner, I suggest you start by copying the styles you like best because then you're more likely to draw more.  If you're an experienced artist who gave up copying, I suggest you copy even more from artists you enjoy.

NEVER be afraid that copying will prevent you from being artistic and developing your own style.  Creativity doesn't get held back like that.  The only thing that prevents skill and style from developing is, not doing much art at all.

How many pictures have you actually drawn?  Five hundred?  Two thousand?

As Chuck Jones's teacher put it, inside each of us are ten thousand crappy drawings.  The trick to being good at it is to get those ten thousand out first, and then the great stuff will come.

What does it matter if three hundred of your ten thousand are tracings of Marvel characters?

Try copying this picture of Spiderman,  and think about what I've said about 'optimizations', and you will probably learn something about what 'style' is.

http://www.terminally-incoherent.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/amspider-man-brock.gif

It helps to be familiar with what is being depicted so you know what is an exaggeration and what is factual.  For example, Spiderman's physique is based on the anatomy of the incomparable ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev.
http://www.russianlife.com/archive/bar73.JPG

Don't just observe a certain bodypart is drawn a certain way.  Ask yourself WHY is it like that-- what does it balance, and what does it complement? 

Then consider what will happen if you incorporate *only* that feature without its "companions".

You'll probably be able to form your own style better if you have a clearer understanding of *why* you like the ways a particular artist does things.


--Talzhemir

======================================
"Krishna Rides Geruda" Iron-on T-shirt design, 1996
http://www.thegenieslamp.com/Fur/hawk9.gif
« Last Edit: August 01, 2009, 10:50:09 PM by Talzhemir »
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

Offline Suzy

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #11: August 02, 2009, 12:11:59 AM»
That's an excellent explanation. I really appreciated the ballet part. As a dancer, I feel stupid for not noticing some of the things you pointed out. It will definitely help me in the future.

However, I don't really agree with the tracing/copying. It's alright to start out that way, but I don't think it will benefit you 10,000 times. There is a certain point where I believe that you must start branching out from that and attempting to create a figure yourself in order to apply what you learned.

You've obviously done your research. I'm impressed.

IPGD

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #12: August 02, 2009, 01:41:20 AM»
Quote
Do these optimums really "work"?  Yes.  Here's an example of a Chobits manga cover (Chobits is also by CLAMP), and a knock-off.  Arguably, this isn't plagiarism, because, in the imitation, the artist has undone CLAMP's signature look.  The eyes are large but not set so far apart; the face is the older style 'heart'.
http://comipress.com/files/images/articles/2007/07/plagiarism/clamp/clamp2.jpg

While both pictures have something going for them, viewers will tend to sense that the face on the right is an uncomfortable in-between, while the one on the left, although it's wildly unrealistic, hits that comfortable optimum.

Just about every artist goes through a phase where they take a style and cleverly think to improve it by "toning it down".  They think it's too unrealistic.  Styles don't react well to this kind of treatment because what you usually get, then, is the Uncanny Valley effect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley
I think you're mistaking your own personal preferences for the actual Uncanny Valley. It takes a lot more than that to make something actually creepy -- usually, flattened color and use of linework alone are enough to keep something out of the valley (you can make something unsettling in a flattened style, but it will never look real enough to sit in the valley). Something that doesn't appear at all three dimensional is never going to reach that level of "real, but just not real enough" that defines the Uncanny Valley.

Let's take this CGI woman. It looks real, like you could reach out and touch it -- but you can obviously tell it's not quite human. Just looking at a picture of it is pretty creepy.



Here's a direct trace, using line instead of value to define the form:



Ugly? Yeah. Creepy? No. All the important features are there -- the vacant stare, the weird mouth -- but just the transition between how those features are rendered makes all the difference. It's simplified, but nowhere near as stylized as the image on the right; if a direct trace from a perfect Uncanny Valley candidate won't cut it, a marginally less bug eyed animu drawing with gradient shading sure as hell won't either.

I personally don't find the example you gave unsettling at all. I mean, the one on the left is so stylized it looks more like a Pekingese than a human being, so of course the one on the right looks realistic in comparison -- but it's still extremely stylized, and no one would ever stop to think "wow, that looks real, but I know it's not and it's unsettling" like they would with this CGI woman. It wouldn't even make a very good creepy doll.

Realistic-proximity styles can be done very well (far more realistically than that, even) -- you don't have to like those styles, but it's not the Uncanny Valley and suggesting that the art of people who decide to draw this way will somehow be universally reviled due to a biological defense mechanism is wrong.

Offline Hugo

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #13: August 02, 2009, 02:28:52 PM»
http://comipress.com/files/images/articles/2007/07/plagiarism/clamp/clamp2.jpg

While both pictures have something going for them, viewers will tend to sense that the face on the right is an uncomfortable in-between, while the one on the left, although it's wildly unrealistic, hits that comfortable optimum.
Are you kidding? The left-hand face actually hurts my eyes because of how alien-like the eye placement is.

Style isn't something that everyone likes, it's a personal choice made by the artist that the artist (sometimes alone) finds acceptable.

Offline Kono

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #14: August 03, 2009, 08:56:52 AM»
I'd say style speaks more to specifically how your artwork looks. One of my friends commented that my animals look like a realistic cartoon. The irony being I mostly draw wolves, but the only things I've watched about wolves are Balto and Wolf's Rain. Neither if which my art looks like. Balto is too disproportionate and Wolf's Rain is too realistic.

I fall somewhere between the two without actually looking like either(would frankly cry if my art looked like Balto; I liked the movie, but the anatomy was very unrealistic).

It comes naturally, so I would say thinking about it does you no good. Our style is influenced by everything we do and see. So that means my style is everything I ever seen had a baby on my papers(sometimes school papers, which I bet my teachers find annoying xP). And somewhere down the line, somebody else will probably be influenced by your style, and yours will become a part of theirs. So really, why worry if your current style reminds you of someone else?
Kono | Applejack | Departure
Hiring Patchers for New Pony Dream

Offline Suzy

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #15: August 03, 2009, 11:22:23 PM»
http://comipress.com/files/images/articles/2007/07/plagiarism/clamp/clamp2.jpg

While both pictures have something going for them, viewers will tend to sense that the face on the right is an uncomfortable in-between, while the one on the left, although it's wildly unrealistic, hits that comfortable optimum.
Are you kidding? The left-hand face actually hurts my eyes because of how alien-like the eye placement is.

Style isn't something that everyone likes, it's a personal choice made by the artist that the artist (sometimes alone) finds acceptable.

Agreed. I found the left picture so much more pleasing. I like CLAMP and Chobits was good art-wise, but the eyes were always odd to me. I thought they did that on purpose to give a slight hint that they were robotic.

Offline Talzhemir

Re: what is "style"?
«Reply #16: September 14, 2009, 03:07:07 PM»
>>Ugly? Yeah. Creepy? No

YES.  They're BOTH creepy, and that's very relevant.

The uncanny valley is NOT a piece of art being "too realistic". 

It's a piece of art so realistic that the unnatural aspects are thrown into sharper contrast.

The rendered character was creepy because the eyes had a freaky expression, not merely because it was rendered.  That's precisely what PUT it into "uncanny valley" territory, that "flaw".

The drawn version is still pretty damn creepy.  It has the same "I like to poopie in my pants! do you???" facial expression.

We find CGI characters in the Uncanny Valley mainly because many CGI artists actually aren't very good artists.

But, the Uncanny Valley effect can turn up in oil painting, a bronze sculpture, and, as you've just wonderfully demonstrated, even in what looks like a pencil sketch.
I type fast.  Try not to mistake my wordcount for actual excitement.

 

anything