First, some art! Above is more art from my project that I am doing with Alex Konstad, Popped Culture. To see more, travel over to My Blog.
My girlfriend Allison and I decided to go and grab breakfast this past weekend. I live in Santa Monica, and there are thousands of unique and strangle individuals who make their way through the city every day. Allison, being fantastic at picking such characteristics from said people, wanted to draw so I suggested that we eat breakfast outside at this one diner so she’d be able to see the city.
As we were awaiting our meal, I couldn’t help but watch as she sketched away. I found myself trying to pick apart her art (in the most humbling of ways), figuring out how she goes about certain shapes, poses, or gestures. Before I go any further, I’ll have to embarrass her and show her gorgeous work so you can see why I was so inspired: Allison’s art.
After she was done, and inspired by her recent art-rush, I asked if I could draw in her sketchbook. As she passed it off to me, I flipped through the pages and got to work. However, it wasn’t working out. The reason was because the entire time I found myself trying to mimic her style, due to how much I appreciated it.
As an artist, I want to be as spread out as possible when it comes to styles. I like to imagine that I can render my hyper-real stuff for LMS, or the cartoony stuff for Popped Culture. Or even traditional between digital. But as I tried to draw or create like her, it finally hit me that her style, as beautiful as it was, wasn’t mine.
Every artist has their own unique and individual style. If you know how to recognize it, and can perfect or master it, that’s what allows you to stand out before anyone else. There’s a reason people flock to artists like Geoff Darrow, Mike Mignolia, Kim JungGi and more. What’s important not to do, is try to mimic someones style because you simply enjoy it.
I found myself doing a lot of that when I was earlier, being inspired by some of the above and others. It wasn’t until high-school where I (kind of) figured out what type of artist I am and what I excel at. And instead of trying to create like someone whom inspires me, I instead try to do my rendition of it, in my style.
What would a cartoon look like if designed by me?
Instead of “I want a cartoon that looks similar to ______’s style.” and then only using that as a guideline. I feel that limits you. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can’t be inspired by others, by all means, absorb every piece of information from the artists around you–and then some.
What I’m trying to say is that figure out what makes you unique and different than the rest. What separates you? If someone draws or creates something that’s popular, don’t go and do the same exact thing. Take the original source of inspiration that inspired that artist, and then create it through your eye perspective. You can call a copy a mile away, especially if the artist has recognition.
I see too many fads go in and out, and the majority of newcomers latch onto them without thinking twice, only due to them being popular. I could write another few paragraphs on how tired I am of civilian-cloth wearing robots or the over-designed exo-suits. But instead, I challenge those to be their own artist, with their own style, and their own background.
This industry is absolutely bloated with been-there, done-thats, and now is the best time to separate yourself as an artist, myself included.
Best of luck.