TRSE: How To Draw Tutorials:
Copied Styles; Present-Day Fan Artists Main Problem
An Article by Elysse (Email: Elysse Elyssasonic@aol.com)
As JeffreyA. has said in his article about varying drawing styles, nobody has the same style. Unfortunately, not everyone considers that.
I've been browsing through art sites such as Fan art Central and DeviantART, and I have noticed a couple of artists that haven't a style of their own. Many times, these artists used to have their own style, but started copying someone else's styles. For example, I remember a certain comic-book cover artist that had an interesting style, which was somewhat anime-like and unique. Sadly, last year, he dropped his style, and started drawing with a photogenic (meaning looking just as the original artist drew it) and unoriginal style, in which it looked like the box art from the video games that the comic (which this artist drew the covers for) was based on.
There is more than one reason that people do this. Usually the artists are intimidated and buckle under the harsh criticism from those that can't understand that everyone sees and draws differently; as a result, most of these people give off negative comments about how the artist draws the hair and what effects they use, while shoveling praise to those who copy the color and drawing styles of the official artwork, using programs such as Flash and Photoshop (NOTE: I have nothing against computer coloring programs, I'm just saying that many abuse its privileges and it doesn't look like they were the ones who actually drew it) to ink and color their fan art, making it look exactly like the way the original artist drew it (this is the photogenic and unoriginal aspect). That's not the only reason. Sometimes, artists need to find where they stand in the many styles people use, so they copy off someone else's usage of art programs and many other things.
If you have trouble finding your style, or have trouble with similar issues:
Try practicing with different styles; if you find one style very appealing to your taste and/or you find it easier to manage, try using that style. If you draw differently in different areas, such as the finger shapes and shading, then try to develop that to create your own style.
This tip comes in handy at times, and sure to add originality to the style you are developing, so you don't copy. It's all in how you like it!
Jeffrey Anderson's Comments:
To quote Calvin of Calvin & Hobbies, "Nobody understands the art."
I strongly agree with Elyssa for there is quite a
diversity in the drawing styles of Anime series and Mangas (no anime/manga
is drawn the same!), but for some reason, some people are somehow blind
to that (as if all anime series look the same to them) , and started making
fuss about how an artist should draw this and that. I had few such silly
cases with my own drawing style, and the best example would be the issue
of leg length (or "Barbie proportions"). They had been saying that the
legs in my drawings should be longer just like Naoko T.'s style. Well,
the problem is that I don't like unnaturally long legs (let alone absurdly
idealistic Barbie proportions), and I prefer to give the characters more
natural look (like shorter legs, etc..). Another good example is that there
are many artists who prefer to keep their drawing styles simple, and yet,
some people pester them telling them that they should get "fancy" with
their drawings (more complicated inking, coloring, excess detailing or
anything else beyond the artists' abilities). What if the artists
don't like to go fancy with their drawings? What if they don't have time
to do that? What if they couldn't afford equipments like Paint Pro 7 (costs
way over $100)? Etc, etc. etc. etc.... Those kind of people know
nothing about true nature of art, making them rather inconsiderable of
the artists' preferences and their situations.
As for photogenic method, that is getting to be a serious concern in terms of creativity, I had received several fanarts which the artists almost perfectly copied Naoko T.'s artworks in a way that those fanarts can be easily mistaken for traced drawings. Those are kinds of fanarts I'm not impressed with because I already have seen the original pictures. So being very good at photogenic copying will not demonstrate one's creativity nor one's natural drawing skills. If one is copying the artist's style, then this one is also copying the artist's mistakes too!! If one want to do drawing based on an original drawing, then this one must do that in a DIFFERENT way!
The novice artists can take a look around and study others' drawings to get just ideas WITHOUT trying to copy their art styles like that of Naoko Takeuchi. Naoko Takeuchi's drawing style is very unique compared to other manga artists, and with the popularity of SailorMoon, several manga artists started showing up with their drawing styles influenced by Naoko T.'s mangas. Tokyo Mew Mew manga is a good example which I can tell right away that the artist of Tokyo Mew Mew was influenced by Naoko T.'s art style, but the difference is that this artist used Naoko T.'s concept to develop her own drawing style in her own way without mimicking Naoko's style.
So don't worry about what other people think of you. Don't even bother with trying to meet their expectations, nor let them force you to draw their way. Just experiment and learn to draw on your own way and at your own comfortable pace. After all, the artists do best when they're not under pressure, and being able to do what they want to do. If you're creative as you think you are, then you can prove that by being able to to draw independently. ^_^ That's the only way you can develop your true creativity and drawing style.
One more thing about imitating others drawings: don't give me this "It's the only way I can learn to draw!" excuse! Use your brains to develop your own ways of drawings by experimenting/playing with it. Believe it or not, you'll learn faster this way (in terms of creativity, identifying patterns, eye-to-hand coordination, and mastery of drawing tools) than just copying others' artworks.