Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Cartoon Style vs. Realism
Bubb Lee at 3:05PM, June 27, 2007
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As I've developed my style it has become obvious that cartooning is the easiest/most natural style for me. Whenever my family goes through my sketchbooks they always like my realistic portraits more, and seem to brush off my cartoon style as if whenever I use that style, I can't possibly be illustrating something serious (and by using that cartoon style, I am somehow a less credible artist).

Should I develop my natural cartoon style, work on realism (as I do want some of my art to be taken seriously), or should I split myself and try developing both? If you do suggest developing both, will they risk molding into one semi-realistic style?


I also have no clue which category to put this in…
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
FAL at 3:31PM, June 27, 2007
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Both are valid and depends on the comic you want to make.

In general I think it's good to start working with realism, you will later develop you own style as you find solutions that work for you when rendering your image, but you will have a solid base that will enable you to draw whatever you want.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
cs3ink at 4:38PM, June 27, 2007
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My wife & family don't take my work seriously, either.

I think the simple answer is work in whatever style you feel comfortable working in. Your family aren't the ones that you're marketing your work to, nor are they the reason you love to create comics (or so I assume).

I work in 3 different style myself, depending on the story. Since they're my projects I don't spend much time worrying what others will think. You shouldn't either. Work in the way & style that brings you the most joy.

If you try to make others happy A) you'll fail to do so, and B) you slowly learn to hate your work. As long as you can find the joy and marvel in your work, you'll continue producing it, & by doing so get better & better.

Your family may never understand or even approve, but the better you get, the more comic fans will approve.

Have fun. Cartoon. Realistic. Whatever. Enjoy yourself.

Later,
Chip
Creator of Terran Sandz and Broken Things, and now Dead. Check 'em out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
glenfx at 1:51AM, June 28, 2007
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Dont rely too much on family and friends comments.

Usually they try not to hurt your feelings and will allways love your work no matter how good or bad it is. And (unless there is another artist in it) will not take too seriously about cartoon because they will see it as a “kids” or a “children” thing.

My family (not mom,dad,brother and sister) dont care whenever i show them cartoon or even serious comic stuff, they like more the realistic paintings and even laughed at me when i told them comics are a serious and well paid business :/
The worst part is that Im not well perseived since i work doing children illustrations. Everytime they ask.. “what do you do for a living?”, me: *show work on magazines, them: *squint their nose and eye and leave the room.
Worst part is my wife works in the same business and in the same magazine i work for XD so its a double odd situation with my family.

Anyway, if you like doing more the cartoon stuff and have more stories and you feel more counftable doing it.. dont mind your family and go for it.


(BTW: dont take my grammar too seriously… its not my main language)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM
Sysli at 2:14AM, June 28, 2007
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I agree with the others, work with what you like.
Personally I have a cartoony style I guess, but I've never tried to define it. If I want to do something realisticly I do that, and if I feel like drawing cartoony, then that's what I do. I can do both, but realism takes a lot more work for me, so I've got to be in the mood for it.

And don't think too much about what your family wants you to do. I'm lucky and have parents that fully supports my art no matter what style it happens to be in. But I know most aren't that lucky, and that's where you have to remember that it's your life, not theirs. If they don't think cartoony is good then they should try to draw it themself. It can take just as much work to make it look good as realism can.

Hope I didn't sound too harsh, I just hate to see somebody question their style because of family. It makes me sad. like this–> :(
Because I may as well show a bit of pride. ^___^

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
arteestx at 8:16AM, June 28, 2007
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I agree with others' “follow your bliss” advice. Don't do or not do art because others don't view it as legitimate. But I did want to comment on something you said….

Bubb Lee
As I've developed my style it has become obvious that cartooning is the easiest/most natural style for me.

One major difference between realistic styles and cartoonish styles is that you can get away with a lot more in cartoons. When you draw realistically, people notice (even subconsciously) when the eyes aren't quite right or the arm is too long or whatever. So realism is harder to pull off. With cartoons, you can bend the rules much more easily, which is why I find it ideal for sci-fi and fantasy artwork. And it does make it easier and more natural to just do what you want.

But I would urge you to pursue both. Push yourself as an artist to try different styles, different media, different everything, every so often just to get you to think differently. Remember, Picasso was not a horrible artist who didn't know how to draw. Even during his wackiest cubism-modernism stuff, he still knew how to draw realistically, he just chose to go in the direction he did. So force yourself to do artwork that doesn't come naturally or easily, to stretch as an artist.

Bubb Lee
Should I develop my natural cartoon style, work on realism (as I do want some of my art to be taken seriously), or should I split myself and try developing both? If you do suggest developing both, will they risk molding into one semi-realistic style?

I think pursuing realism will ultimately make you a better cartoonist. Learn the rules of lines and weights, light and shadow, composition, tones and expressions, etc. Learn all of that and you will be much better for it. For me, I would learn all sorts of different techniques in art class, and then later on go home and try them out in cartoons and comics, because those rules very much apply in comics (you just aren't going to be explicitly taught it in art class).

I don't think there's a dangerous risk of a semi-realistic art meld that doesn't make sense visually; I think there's a huge advantage to knowing the rules of realism cold while creating your cartoons to give your cartooning style greater qualities. That's my two cents worth.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
cs3ink at 6:42AM, June 29, 2007
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Well said, arteestx. I ditto you 100%.

Later,
Chip
Creator of Terran Sandz and Broken Things, and now Dead. Check 'em out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:55AM
Memmy at 9:07PM, June 29, 2007
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I agree with arteestx. Cartooning (in my opinion) is a loose version of realism. Improving realism will help you improve as a cartoonist.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM
SteveMyers22 at 1:03AM, July 2, 2007
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Something to keep in the back of your head though:

Cartoon is easier to make deadlines with.

Visual shorthand is more than just a buzzword.

;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
Alexis at 12:49PM, July 2, 2007
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If you want to work the most it's ideal to be able to work in a variety of styles. Hyper-realistic stuff is popular in comic books right now, but there is also a swing back toward making more “cartoony” books. Basically, while it's nice to have a signature style, the artists who make the most money are the ones who can do it all. Check out up-and-coming comic artis Chris Moreno to see what I'm talking about, he does “realistic” drawings for books like “Dracula vs. King Arthur” and cartoony work for “Sidekick” and teh web comic “Superfrat.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Grafighte at 11:50PM, July 6, 2007
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You should do what you feel is right in your opinion and range of ability, if YOU feel a change is needed then change, don't EVER let other people put down your art or your style. Yes, some people pefer different styles but art isn't always about pleasing the crowd, please yourself first. Stan Lee was afraid of tell people he was a comic book artist when he first started out. look at where he is now. Defy the status quo, screw the people who laugh at your art, prove them wrong.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:38PM
flyingwind66 at 1:17AM, July 9, 2007
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Enh… my mother looks at my comic pages and says that I ‘shouldn’t try to copy those Japanese animation too much and develop my own style' blah blah blah and well… that really hurts because I spent YEARS developing my OWN style (many different styles of anime too XD) and I can do realism and all but seriously, THIS comic on THIS site is for fun. I do this because I want to and I want others to enjoy my work. When I'm in school and people are expecting me to do realism or when a college asks for a lot of ‘life drawing’ in your portfolio… well, that's when I try to please other people. I think my own webcomic is about pleasing myself. People who aren't artists don't always understand that drawing a good manga-style or comic style and unrealistic picture is just as impressive as drawing that stupid bowl of fruit and that pretty model just right. Remember that Picasso spent his whole life trying to draw like a child because he could do realism ‘too well’.

The point is that you should just draw what you feel like, if people don't repect your comic style then throw the Picasso comment at them or something. Otherwise I personally just gave up on them ever understanding and decided to just appreciate the people who DO undestand and DO appreciate your comic.

If you want to work on your realism then go for it, if it'll help you later in life (like getting into college =_=) then for sure! But I remember that while doing my portfolio, all the ‘life drawing’ made drawing a CHORE and I it made me HATE what I love to do ><
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
Nicotine at 6:49AM, July 9, 2007
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Simply, I think everyone should work in the style that's right for them.

I, personally, like to work in a more realistic style because I like to add a lot of detail to my work that a simplitic style wouldn't allow me to do. But that's just me; I've seen a lot of simplistic work that's great. But I think that if you take the simple cartooney style you can get away with a lot more. People don't notice light source, anatomy problems, ect. in that kind of comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
Faliat at 7:16AM, July 9, 2007
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I work in many different styles. Some more realistic than others.

My mum is fascinated by my skills in drawing in my styles. As she says she can never do anything like I can. And she's a more realistic artist.

I can draw more realistically, but I'm kinda restrained because I don't want police knocking at the door for some of my subject matter…

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

- Rekkiy (NerveWire)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
Winterman at 9:35AM, July 11, 2009
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The more styles you can do well, the better all your work will be.


last edited on July 14, 2011 4:51PM
TheMightyDM at 11:30AM, July 27, 2009
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flyingwind66
Enh… my mother looks at my comic pages and says that I ‘shouldn’t try to copy those Japanese animation too much and develop my own style' blah blah blah and well… that really hurts because I spent YEARS developing my OWN style (many different styles of anime too XD) and I can do realism and all but seriously, THIS comic on THIS site is for fun.

Oooohhh…I hate when people say that. “You shouldn't copy this stle…blah blah…”
My style (while not Anime-ish like you say yours is) is definitely made up from other peoples' styles. It's what we do, we find something we like and we emulate it! Maybe this cartoonist does arms really well so you say “Hey, I want to draw arms like that!” So you do, big whoop, it's why there are so many “How-To-Draw” books out there now.

And as for whether doing a more realistic or cartoonish style, I say do what feels right. I can't draw realism if my life depended on it. But I'm pretty damn good with different cartooning styles. Lucky for me, most of my fiends and family like my cartoons. They may not take it seriously, but to tell you the truth, neither do I. Its just for fun.

But if you really want some proof about how cool the “Cartoony” style is, point out Bill Waterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Ben Caldwell (How to Books, Animator), and Charles Shulz (Peanuts). Those guys are pretty well known and I'd say had pretty successful comicking careers. But their styles are all pretty simplistic and cartoony. Hell, you could even go so far as to poin out “cartoony” CGI like Pixar movies and the Team Fortress 2 game. Non-realistic but still popular.

And there are just as many examples for Realism and any other form of artwork. It's all about personal preference…
So many people were so fed up about Michael Jackson's alleged child *ahem* “issues”… All I could think about was, “Holy crap! I wish I could do the Moonwalk!”
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:25PM
Jarrod at 1:51PM, Aug. 9, 2009
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Cartoons are based off of reality, and reality can be reflected as a cartoon.

I like a healthy dose of both, as I draw as realistically as I can, without losing that cartoon-ish charm.


There's no wrong or right way to go about it. Just doodle and see what comes up! That's how I honed my style.


Doodling is the absolute best way to form a new style, or to help along an old one.


Doodle~ =D
Draw.

Pew. Pew. Pew.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 4:39PM, Aug. 9, 2009
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Personally, what I'd do, is practice your realism, but then work on making your cartoony-style reflect the realism.

I mean, learn anatomy and all that good stuff, how clothes fold, details of things, and pretty much translate that to your cartoon art.

That's basically my plan.
I'm just hoping I get art class this year. Actually, drawing class.
If not, looks like I'm going back to posemaniacs.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM

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