YujinStudio wrote:Normally I like to have the rough approved, but seeing as you're looking for speed you're probably relying on us to make that call.
Darkmir wrote:First of all, it should be accepted by one and all up front that there is no set of instructions that will help you define a style. The goal of this post is to do two things;
One, to suggest tips on how to proceed, and methodologies, that may help you begin to lay the foundation of a perosnal style.
Two, to get others to discuss how they developed their style, and build a body of information about a range of ideas and suggestions that people can consider when they try to develop their own style. Because I'll tell you one thing for sure right now: "style" is like fingerprints. No two people will completely have the same style, or go about developing their style in the same way. It boils down to how you think about art, how you practice to develop your style, what you want to say with your art, and who you are as a person.
The first thing you have to accept, and the hardest thing for a lot of amateurs to deal with, is that you CANNOT develop a original style until you learn how to draw well on a fundamental level. You need to have co-ordinated co-operation between your brain, your eyes, and your hand, and need to be able to competently render characters and background elements in a dependable, repeatable way, before you can even begin to think about style.
In other words: STYLE DOES NOT EQUAL TECHNIQUE, and TECHNIQUE COMES BEFORE STYLE... ALWAYS.
Style is like icing. Your style is not the METHOD by which you draw. Your method, and theory have to already be developed and in place. That creates the foundation... the 'cake', if you will, over which you place your style, like the icing on top of a cake. If the cake is dry, poorly baked and tasteless underneath, even the best tasting icing is not going to produce a good cake.
Once you have your skills honed to the point where you can render whatever you think of with repeatable dependancy, style becomes an expression of your taste, your philosophy, and methodology of conveying shape, light and shadow, movement, and action in your drawings.
Some practical aspects of style to consider:
LINE QUALITY: You can use lines that are rough, and sketchy. You can use lines that are smooth and clean. You can have bold dark hand, or a light, delicate hand. Your work can be intricately detailed, or you can work in a lose, cartoonish style. Whether you work in graphite or pen & ink, or acrylics or oils, or with colored pencils, or even in the computer, the way you weight and construct the lines in your drawings can go a long way to defining your style.
SHADE AND TONE: The way you develop tone, depth... light and shadow, can help to define your style. Your tonal work can be deep and dark, or light and airy. You can use hatching, in any of a variety of forms, or stiple, or washes, or soft tonal shading. You can use lines and linear hatching to develop contour and tone. Your work can be composed of a full range of gradient tone, or more posteurized, and comprised mostly of pure blacks and whites.
ARCHITECTURE: Here, I am refering again to line quality. Will your lines, and your figures, and the way you render and compose objects be mostly angular, and squared off? Or will it be built on curving, flowing lines with few sharp angles, and little conformity to a rigid architecture? Will you organize your renderings and compostitions in tight conformity, or will your they be lose and fluid?
DYNAMICS: Will your drawings, and your characters, be tense and rigid, with the action "cutting' itself out of the page, or will they be fluid and full of motion, and seem to flow off the page?
All of these are aspects of how an artist might begin to structure the way they draw in an effort to assume a distinctive original style. From the most intensely executed, hyper-realistic graphite illustrations, to the loosest, most rapidly executed cartoon renderings, all "original" illustration displays a style that is formulated and applied by adjusting and controlling all or some of the aspects described above, plus dozens, or hundreds, of others.
Sometimes an artist's style is defined by the tight control of technique on a micro level, with many many little aspects of technique being applied in almost exactly the same way from drawing to drawing. Pencilers on comic books do this, for example; controlling the way they develop the anatomy of a character, and the line weights, and the linear detailing, on a very fine level, so that their charcaters are instantly recognizable form page to page, and issue to issue, of a book.
Sometimes only a few aspects of technique are controlled or modifed, but in a very distinctive way by an artist, to express their style. A natural landscape artist, for example, might use a repeated technique to render flowing water, or leaves in the wind, in the same repeatable way from painting to painting, so that a fan of their work could identify a piece as having been done by a particular artist because of the way certain parts of the painting were executed.
Whatever type of art you do, and however you ultimately wish to express your "style", it should be apparent now that you can't work on style until your fundamentals are really strong. Because style is really a matter of taking learned, practiced techniques, and placing a specific type of control on them so that they look the way you want them to.
In other words, style is not the way you learn to draw. You learn to draw first, and then build a style second, on top of your already good drawing skills.
Once you get to that point, your style can say a lot about you as a person. If you are an illustrator, and you are a strong willed, out-going, high energy person in your day-to-day life, your style is liable to be bold, and dynamic, with lots of direct action and in your face emotion and movement. Your composition may be clean, and simple, with easily interprested action and dynamic flow. Your line work might be confident and fluid, with long, smoothly drawn lines that flow into each other. Your color work may favor bright, bold color schemes, and may lean towards the use of more primary palletes.
On the other hand, if you are shy and withdrawn, your style may include small, tenative strokes, which build up together to produce a complete illustration. Your image dynamics may be constrained, or tense, with movement being shown in a limited, held back way. Your colors might tend towards the use of muted tones and a lot of grey, with very few highlites.
These are very simplistic hyypothetical examples designed only to show how who you are and how you feel and think can directly affect your style. The trick is; the more you consciously, pro-actively think about it... the more you directly review "how" you draw, and "how" you compose and execute your drawings, the more you will be able to control all of the myriad little techniques and component elements of your art that ultimately become the vehicle of your style.
You may, for example, look at your characters and decide that you are going to make the legs a little longer than is normal, and that will become a part of your style. Just remember that if your desire is to have a destinctive, identifiable style that people can recognize as yours, and you adopt a technique like making the legs a little longer thsn normal, you have to do it in all your figures; male, female, fat, skinny, young old, short or tall. The same type of exageration has to be evident in ALL your work for it to be considered "style".
As a general rule, and most certainly in the case of "pop" art, for things like comics, and video games, and animated movies, Maintaining the elements of your style throughout ALL of your work is mandatory. In the movie THE INCREDIBLES, for example, the distinctive way the characters had larger heads in relation to their bodies, and very small feet relative to their body size, no matter what the size of the character, was carried through on every character, throughout the entire movie. All illustrated work which tells a story in pictures, and is episodic or periodic in any form at all, requires that a completely recognizable, totally distinctive style be maintained from the first page to the last.
Hopefully, some part of this may help you to get your mind in the right place when you start to think seriously about putting your style together.
I am sure everyone else has lots of good advice on this subject. Let's all share what we found ourselves thinking about and working on when we were developing our style. What were the techniques and methods you saw yourself working to control and repeat when you were putting your style together? How did oyu go about finding, and nailing down, your style?
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