Monday, May 28, 2012

Developing an “Art Style”

a.illusions - kyleI haven’t gone around to writing about Komikon yet because I can’t seem to get into the mood of taking photos of my haul. But I can’t sleep, so I decided to write about another topic.

When Misaki-chan and Suoh-san kidnapped me and I went for coffee, they began a little interview since it was the first we three meet IRL. ^^;;; I’ll admit, it was nerve-wracking, but one question got stuck to my head:

“How did you develop your ‘art style’?”

I was only able to answer with, “well, I don’t think you ‘make’ an art style… it’s just comes to you. My style probably came about because of college…” etc. etc.

I don’t think it was a bad answer, but I do think it was an incomplete answer. So I’d like to further expound on this topic here in my blog.

I’m no expert, and I don’t think my style is all that unique, but it is something I’ve become comfortable with. I believe an art style can only be developed if you’ve tried out as many different styles that you can think of. You may not like the plate-sized eyes older anime’s have used, but I said the same thing about drawing small eyes when I still enjoyed drawing in the same style as Sailor Moon.

Case and point: 2006 and 2012 versions of Rei Hino

All styles have their own strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve tried them all, you begin to see what you really like and what you don’t. Draw what scares you; draw what you think is impossible for you to master. You’d be surprised with how hard simple things are (like drawing chibi), and how easy difficult things can be (like backgrounds… wait, they’re still hard! orz;;;).

Then you add all the elements you like into one. After attending college and being forced to draw in different styles, I realized several things that I liked when I draw manga:

  • Smaller eyes looked more realistic, and therefore, expressions seem more realistic and easier to relate to.
  • I like artworks with detailed hair.
  • I have a pet-peeve with drawing hands. They really need to look good or at the very least, decent.
  • Anatomy is a continued really process, and despite the exaggerated anatomy that you can get away with in anime, I prefer “somewhat” realistic proportions.

I’m not saying these are rules for you to follow. I’m not saying these observations are correct either. These are my rules. You need to make you own. There are no real rules on art, there are guidelines. But even so, both rules and guidelines are meant to be broken. They change continually as you develop.

One last thing… if you really want to make your own style, then practice, practice, practice! Draw what you enjoy drawing and not what you think others will. When someone gives you “expert critiques”, listen to them with a grain of salt. If it makes sense to change something they pointed out, then do it. If it doesn’t, (and this is the most difficult thing to do) then don’t pay them any attention. Usually, those “experts” don’t even know how to draw anyway. xD

Because really, at the end of the day? If your happy with your work, then that’s all that really matters.

Keep drawing everyone. :) Stay happy! ♥

EDIT 2012.06.01: A word from Miss Joanah Calingo:

For major influence, I fused the look from these -->

Now that's out of the way, for me, a style is a combination of all the visual elements that you like + your skill. Basically, it’s the flavor of your art. I guess there are many ways for you to land on the “final” look that you like. While you're in the process of developing your style, you pick up the aesthetic choices (or the look) of the artists you admire. There are certain elements in their art that you like. Those visual elements, combined with the artist's skill, tends to influence the way you do your art, trying to "emulate" them in the process.

The only advice I can give is to expose yourself to as many artists as you can, and then learn tips to make your art look better (what makes their art/look tick), but never aim to look exactly like the influence. Just aim to be as good in skill, and eventually you'll grow out of the idol's shadow come out with something uniquely yours.


  1. I give you a thumbs up for this awesome blog. :D

  2. Inspiring! ^^
    *starts drawing for one-shot* XDXDXD;;;

  3. That's teh spirit! Then you can come back in Winter Komikon and sell them as indies! x3