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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!

dA makes you think: COSPLAY IS SATURATION ENHANCEMENT:
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 cosplay.com - 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.

dA makes you think: ORIGINAL STYLE IS BASED ON NOTHING BUT REALISM:
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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:icontenyume-kasumi:
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.
Reply
:iconcapricornicis:
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.
Reply
:iconhersheysrocks:
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).
Reply
:iconweird-devi:
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.
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:icondestatidreamxiii:
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...)
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Way to go! :heart:
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:iconiridiumflames:
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)
Reply
:iconneokid93:
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. ^-^;
Reply
:iconnarsilion:
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:
Reply
:iconkirabook:
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".
Reply
:iconlyran-wolf:
Lyran-Wolf Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I like this. i really do like this :D
Reply
:iconnamidame:
namidame Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You're right in some way. But for example, I like fantasy and this kind of things, but I like drawing in a manga style near to realism (Well, more or less), but I do that because I like, and I like a lot realism too. Does it mean I'm "falling into DA"? What is true is that I'm afraid of coping something without meaning too, that's horrible, there are a lot of things done, and I don't know them, so I maybe draw something similar to another thing I didn't know that exist...
I do that style because I like it, and usually people I know values much more real style. Some of them tell me that all my drawings are alike, and that I should do something more realistic. In fact, one person near me has told me a lot of times that I should stop wasting my "talent" drawing manga style, because I'm able to draw in other "better" ways. It's true that I really like realism, but I'm not able to do it well, and I enjoy what I'm doing at the moment, so I won't change until I want, and I'm sorry for those who don't like my style. I think that defend a style you like isn't bad. I don't think that realism isn't original, and I like some other very differents styles, that I consider also original. The style is important, but it's too what you draw and how you do it.
Well, don't pay me much atention ^^; and sorry for my English...
Reply
:iconthe-grey-one:
The-Grey-One Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I once had to do a portrait for a digital art class in HS and my professor made me redo mine because the style looked too anime. Actually, what I'd done is use paths to trace a picture of myself(which we were allowed to do). XD
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:iconnamidame:
namidame Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Something similar has happened to me some times -_-... But well, I suppose in that cases you have to do the most realistic style you can do ^^;
Reply
:iconpickles12:
Pickles12 Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
I really enjoyed that ^_^
Way to encourage originality :highfive:
Reply
:iconriku-of-darkness:
Riku-of-Darkness Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I can't draw worth a lick, so while this lesson is entertaining and instructive, I'll never be able to apply it to my work. ^^; Thanks for sharing though! :heart:
Reply
:iconsepseriis:
Sepseriis Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not just by looking at dA that people fall into the last one - my old art teacher used to say this. I don't remember which one she was or if we even had the same art teacher in school. But yes, non realism was not art, computer drawings were all copied, cartoons were stupid, draw anime in class more than once and she gave you a detention =.=;

Oh, on the cosplay ones as well. There is a really really nice cosplay photograph of a friend of mine, and she refuses to believe that is what she really looks like (like, really really pretty), even though its a raw photo. The lights on the stage were so strong it makes it look like the photo has had the lighting messed with...and she says they all have it messed with so she's not really pretty. Hrm...
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Probably the same one... if it was the crazy one... I never tried to draw anime in art class for some reason.

XD aren't stages designed to meant to have flattering lightning? Maybe the levels were messed around with in the picture afterwards, but I can't imagine a photographer sitting and airbrushing all their shots.
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:iconmyotpismylaptopandme:
myotpismylaptopandme Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Eh... Do I try and make my art work look like others on Da? Probably a little bit. But the roadblock for me is that I'm still learning how to draw. I'm constantly doodling and trying to get better and while I'm doing that I will get sudden bursts of inspiration. "No, this is how you draw an arm!" Then every drawing after that will have that style of arm until I learn how to draw that better. So in my defense, since my style is constantly changing(I hope its for the better) and I don't know how to even use an airbrush, I think its safe to say that my work has yet to fall into the generic Da category. Besides, there is also a large majority of my that is traditional art, such as sculptures, paintings, drawings with colored pencils, and a few wacky mediums that end up looking very neat.
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:icontherustyrobot:
TheRustyRobot Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
...You are great at writing hilarious stories.

I often look at other people's styles and think, "Those eyes look really interesting" or "That nose looks really cool" and then try it for myself, and maybe tweak it a bit. If I like it I try to do it more often. However, since I do this and see many awesome different styles all the time, my "style" is constantly changing.

Thanks for posting this, it really made me think.
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:iconkdm13:
kdm13 Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I... Have absolutely no idea if I have a style of my own or not. ^^;

I'll just go on the side of caution and say probably not, it's not like I draw all that often anyway.
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:iconcocoamintkitty:
CocoaMintKitty Featured By Owner May 5, 2012   Digital Artist
Mnn... be careful on the whole " ORIGINAL STYLE IS BASED ON NOTHING BUT REALISM " section. While its true that some peoples art can become very static because of it... thats where they have to learn how the face works and how to do poses outside of the normal " lets just stand here and look pretty " that normally works for anime pinups really well. A foundation in realism is p. important... even if you dont stick to it. Hell.. my faces are this anime/semi-realism hybrid because i love how anime can push expressions ( especially anger ). It's all about what you learn and how you apply it.

The lucky ass bitches are the ones who can get damn near right without that need to study... but a lot of those artists that Ive seen are knee-deep or higher in anime to the point that Im turned off by the unnessicarily big-sparklesparkle-desu-face.
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Oh yeah, those guys who ignore realism aren't going anywhere either...

But admit it, you didn't get your style just from realism! *nudge* Your faces all have this... particular-ness about them. And the noses especially. I can recognise your style in a lineup because you do odd little things like that.
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:iconcocoamintkitty:
CocoaMintKitty Featured By Owner May 6, 2012   Digital Artist
Oh Ill totally admit that my style is very anime-influenced...But Im still trying to get my realism in there. Like I said.. I like how Anime gives emotions that aren't the typical "sweatdrop " shit...maybe more towards Avatar:Airbender
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
*looks at Avatar* 何か...これは米国のアニメーション見てよね. That is Avatar is only anime influenced- so being anime influenced by something that is anime influenced can't really count.

Your style does remind me of Avatar though, (but not as kiddish) it's definitely defined as comicbook style with manga influence.
Reply
:iconcocoamintkitty:
CocoaMintKitty Featured By Owner May 6, 2012   Digital Artist
Am very proud of it uwu <3
Reply
:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
So, when'd you last paintchat?
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:iconcocoamintkitty:
CocoaMintKitty Featured By Owner May 6, 2012   Digital Artist
ahahah like an hour ago. I pop in here and there. I either just chill or draw..rarely do i rp or make something serious.
Reply
:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That's a shaaaame... roleplay is missed.
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(1 Reply)
:iconkiryuseiji:
Kiryuseiji Featured By Owner May 5, 2012
Lolz I agree.. also, Im not sure if its copying or what, but a lot of people have the same "thin anime characters surrounded by abstract artistic flowers/swiggles" style recently. like someone said, I dont think its bad for everyone to do the same thing, but striving to do something different should be the goal, I think. for people who are starting out, I think they should avoid the same coloring/drawing methods because its hard to get out of. But startinng something new is also difficult... Its hard to find artists that are willing to keep improving themselves
Reply
:iconmidnightscastedangel:
MidNightsCastedAngel Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student General Artist
dA makes you think: ORIGINAL STYLE IS BASED ON NOTHING BUT REALISM:

Oh my God. I've actually fell into that sinkhole, and not realized that I was sorta...wrong. This is really resourceful for any dA artist...makes you think how much you fall into this category. I've not airbrushed to death, I'm actually trying to find a decent way to cell shade. So I just keep drawing.

Here's an example of the 'realism' style I was testing.

[link]
[link]

Do you mind if I share this Nekoni? And actually, I'd like to chat more if you have the time XD or have like a skype or something. Maybe you'd have more information about art to share?
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I don't mind atall ^_^

Yeah those style attemps are about right. I've done that too (when I thought I drew too Narutoee- well I knew how to fix that!) So have a lot of my friends (no offence to them). It's when you relax and start accepting influence from styles you like that you find your own. X3

Well I have MSN, but tbh right now I'm having a month of supreme focusedness to finish the first chapter of my manga, so you'll actually be able to talk to me more easily on dA for now (notes and stuff is okay!)
Reply
:iconmidnightscastedangel:
MidNightsCastedAngel Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Ahh, I get the idea. I'm just trying to make my teacher happy since I'm in fine arts.."Make your own style anime is a already developed style yatta yatta yatta." Americian cartoon-ish styles just aren't my taste. They look weird, or too simplistic, or too realistic, or too geared towards children.

XD And okayy~ I'll chat here then.
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
HAAAAAAAAH Teachers are the bane of existence itself! -No I'm being mean, but the truth is teachers are only teachers- they're not guaranteed experts, and they probably don't have a doctrate in art styles. And honestly... honestly- -no-one- 'creates their own'.

If they're making the hands and feet huge, for instance, they've probably seen it somewhere and LIKED IT. They've also seen that women are often drawn with enhanced eyelashes. They've seen that when a character is suprised, the size of the pupils change (which doesn't happen in real life). All these bits of style are ingrained into our subconciousness so we can understand drawings.

As for fine art... history's full of styles. It's just they call those 'movements'... because calling it something different apparently makes it something different. XD
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:icondaidairo:
Daidairo Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Much as I agree with this journal, there's something else I'd like to add:

Just because everyone else does the same thing doesn't necessarily make it bad. =)
Reply
:icontalespirit:
talespirit Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Never mind originality....where can I learn to paint my hiney with an airbrush?
Reply
:iconblu-kitsune:
blu-kitsune Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You might draw fish-people with umbrellas for legs dancing on rainclouds-
I suddenly want to draw this now.
Reply
:iconaxel-the-firedancer:
Axel-the-firedancer Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i agree even if i haven't got a personal style, if you see my gallery you'll notice a ton of "order of the stick"-style drawings. i simply admit that, i have no style, i have no talent 4 drawings. if i ever find my style...well i will thank you :) (and stan lee)
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:iconthirrinaki:
Thirrinaki Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is something I had already noticed, I'm glad to hear it from someone else. There is a lot of mass effect on the site. It sure is bothering me sometimes(you spotted some good points with cosplays and airbrushing), but I guess that's what happens when you're part of a community, and also trying to learn (that's my case).
Reply
:iconr-o-x-a-s:
R-o-x-a-s Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haaaa.. Ha...ha.. .__. *so guilty of this*

*skitters away and hides*
I see it whenever I draw. My expressions and colouring have gotten a lot better over the years but. Mpph. .-. It's still so god awfully stiff, and forgettable.
Reply
:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Don't worry, if you feel that... you just need to relax and try some crazyness!
Reply
:icongaramondbodoni:
GaramondBodoni Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional General Artist
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!!!!!! Man what was amusing!

This is why I use dA as a place to do and see fan art, and very very occassionally use it to peruse original art :)
Reply
:iconasagi-k-kurosaki:
Asagi-K-Kurosaki Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional Writer
I've never noticed this, I see tons of different styles on DA, but then maybe I've just never taken into account things like this :shrug:
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:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
^^; I managed to unwatch around 40 people because of it. It's just where you hang out, really.
Reply
:iconasagi-k-kurosaki:
Asagi-K-Kurosaki Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional Writer
Wow :o I guess so..
Reply
:iconmachapanta:
MachaPanta Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Great journal, but why are you not on MSN? *clings*
Reply
:iconnekoni:
nekoni Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Watching One Piece and typing journals =X
Reply
:iconmachapanta:
MachaPanta Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Speaking of One Piece, I've been meaning to talk to you more about my Otacool panel, but I keep forgetting. We had talked about the creator of One Piece being a complete Pirate Otaku, and that writing about what you love makes it better. I was wondering if you could help me expand on that, and if you knew any other examples?
Reply
:iconmachapanta:
MachaPanta Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Student General Artist
Ah, well if you message me and I do not reply, I'm at the Emergency Room getting new medicine for my migraines.
Reply
:iconamandas-sketches:
amandas-sketches Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"who could forget a face like this?"

*raises hand*

I can.
Reply
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