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Submitted on
May 4, 2012


11,088 (7 today)
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Once upon a time, on a little internet island named dA there lived a naked tribe of artists. They dressed in nakedness and painted themselves with bodypaint, revelling in their creativity and their nakedness.

One day, the most clever of the artists, who also had the biggest head, created a magical tool called the 'airbrush' tool. And it was wonderful. With this new tool he painted portraits and artwork on his naked hiney. All the other naked tribesmen and uncensored women rounded round his round posterior to gaze and marvel at the creations.

One of the tribesmen spoke... 'I wish to do the same as our most clever, and big-headed kinsman, where can I illegaly download this airbrush tool so that I too may paint portraits of my favourite anime characters, game characters and ponies?' The most clever of the artists replied, and he shared his secrets, and soon, all of the tribe, with various levels of skill, adorned their peachy posteriors with pedantically painted portraits of people, and all was good.

Only... it was a bit... samey.

*closes book* So there you have it.

Now what on earth am I talking about? I've been on dA aaaaalmost as long as it's existed, which is a long time, so I know stuff, so when I say that being on dA can brainwash you into trying to create one particular art style, trust me, it's as close to the truth as I can aim. That's right- if you're an artist here, you'll most likely end up trying to produce in a certain style. (I'm not going to show examples, it might seem like flaming someone. You probably understand without examples)

dA makes you think: COLORING IS AIRBRUSHING:
The truth: The airbrush is -one tool- and can only do so much.

The style people most frequently aspire to use is a style of -coloring-. You see, all the 'best art' has been airbrush-painted to death. (I'm talking about pictures which you would define as 'airbrush' or 'painting' - not cel-shading or comicbook art) A highly detailed, airbrushed picture can look awesome- so you want to do it too, right? Thing is- everyone else thinks so too.- you see the problem.

Do it for fun, to improve your skills, because you feel like it---- but don't do it just because it's considered the most 'awesome'. Chocolate cookies are awesome but there are 12 in a packet and they make you sick if you eat too many. Try some other flavours. They might suit the occasion more. Not everyone likes chocolate, anyway!

The truth: You can do a lot more with a camera.

Another similar case is cosplay on dA. A lot of the anime cosplay shots you see have the colors brightened and have the anime's logo in the corner to make it look more like a cover. It looks good... and the popular people do it- but be aware... you CAN be more creative than this.

If you go to other sites, like - you'll find more raw shots. If you look on asian sites, you'll find everyone likes to take their photos from above and adjust brightness levels to reduce blemishes and make their eyes pop. Different sites end up encoraging different styles.

The truth: This is the most damaging thing you can possibly think!

The same thing happens A LOT when people try to create their own art style. People are often scared of 'copying' and try to build something from thin air- all the while chanting a mantra of 'realism is best, realism is best- even for an anime style I should pay attention to realism instead of the series I like...'

NO. As Stan Lee, (if you don't trust me, trust this guy) has said, "a style is everything you do wrong". If you aim for realism you end up doing more things 'right'- which means you have no style atall. Your mistakes are most likely going to be flat eyes, boring hair and hard to identify characters- and THAT will be your style (as well as the style of everyone who thinks like you). Here's two self-portraits in the 'original' styles I see most frequently on western sites and conventions. Yes, a racial divide does exist (caucasian people more often try to use what they consider 'westerness' to define their style instead of a typical anime face)

Needless to say if you're mixing something like that with over-airbrushing, you've reached the epitome of dA averageness. You might be skilled, kudos. You might draw fish-people with umbrellas for legs dancing on rainclouds- original concept, I admire that. But I would be far more interested in you if you painted in a less average style.

I know there are other 'artistic standards' that permeate dA (and other sites! It's not alone) too, so maybe you can have fun and point of the ones that you've noticed.  -If you can't think of anything, at the very least I hope I provided some good advice =3 (and if my advice is useless, Stan Lee's is good!)
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Tenyume-Kasumi Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Good thing I'm not very active on dA then. xD So I'm glad to say my style is still my own. But I can see what you're getting at. Especially regarding the airbrushing bit.
Capricornicis Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Pfft. I have no idea where I am when it comes to this journal. I love airbrushing or digital painting and I love to draw stylized realism. :shrug: I know I don't have fully original style, but I really don't care to have one right now.
HersheysRocks Featured By Owner May 6, 2012
So... apparently I have no style...

I was pretty aware of that, I suppose. I'm honestly not particularly fond of my art, and I could probably name fifty different flaws with it in general...

It still oddly hurts seeing it slapped in my face like this, though orz

(I suppose the saddest thing is that I don't try for perfect realism and have been trying to form a style for years and... it still looks exactly like your drawing).
Weird-Devi Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well,I dont really have a style(or at least I dont think so) but what I do is,I often draw what I feel looks right,and often I feel that some parts just dont work.Then I try to follow some other style untill I understand the basic of how that works and why it looks good that way.When I then know how it works,I somehow just try to draw as I normaly do then I add what works and see what happens,and it keeps on like that untill I find something that I enjoy(I even learn something new at completely random before or after I take a shower as I see myself in the mirror : P)
And I dont really use the computor stuff since...its complicated.I only draw hand drawn stuff basicly so I suppose it becomes my own style in a way,kinda in the same way as every person have their own specific writing style.
DestatiDreamXIII Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I started out following my favorite manga artists. Then I tried combining the things I liked most about each style. Now I sorta have my own style :meow: (and it's not realism, I fail at realism...)
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Way to go! :heart:
IridiumFlames Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student General Artist
I don't know, man. I know I'm not very popular on this site, so I don't try to copy what other people do as much as I try to improve personally. When my stuff matches what I see in my head, then I'm doing good. (but heck do I need more realism practice, I can't draw musculature for anything)
neokid93 Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
Your story was very entertaining, I don't think I really "fall" too far into any style right now, mainly because I don't believe I'm good enough to even emulate half of the popular styles. I'll draw one thing one way and then do it completely different when I try again, it's one of the reasons why I have trouble redrawing my OCs. ^-^;
Narsilion Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
haha I loved this!
...I don't even know what the airbrush tool is.. is it in Photoshop as well? lol I solid-color everything.. I hope I'm not being a boob-averageo. D:
Kirabook Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
XD Heh, I don't think I have a style yet at all, and I'm always trying new things waiting to find something I like to settle on.

As for coloring, it's the same deal. I color 1 way for a while *or try* then I decide to try something new. I haven't really delved into the airbrush stuff yet I don't think, but it's probably on my long list of "To Try".
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