Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Creativity versus Artistic Ability versus Education
CharleyHorse at 6:01AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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Do you find yourself lacking in one or more of these areas creativity, artistic ability, education, and if so how does this affect the end results of what you produce or at least how you think about what you produce?

I, for instance, seem either to have been born without creativity or to have somehow lost it along the way while slouching towards middle-age. I am forced to substitute education and a reasonably developed set of artistic skills for the missing creative element and can usually fake it 'til I make it as far as cartooning goes. Most of the time, my readers have no idea that I have the creative abilities of a pet rock.

How about it then, are you lacking in a skill or a trait that most people might consider vital for the creation and production of cartoon work and if so, how do you compensate for that lack . . . or do you even try to compensate?

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
subcultured at 6:28AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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i think i fall under lack of formal art education…but when it comes to art i just wing it.
i observe art that interests me either painting, movies, animation, music…etc
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
Frostflowers at 6:42AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I lack a bit both in artistic ability and education - I'm not as sure as I'd like to be, and I could certainly benefit from more lifedrawing classes and more practise - but I think I've got creativity down.

Compensating for what I lack, though? Well, I'm always on the look-out for lifedrawing classes close to where I live, I'm applying for art-school come fall 2008, and reference photos are an artist's best friend. The rest of it will be covered by practise, practise and more practise.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
CharleyHorse at 7:42AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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Subcultured I've got a cherished theory that formal artistic education is a bit of a cherry-on-top element so far as cartooning is concerned. I don't sneer at formal artistic education you understand, it's just that I don't look at it as vital considering how much information and many ‘how to’ articles are available nowadays to any artist with an internet connection.

A couple of decades ago, when it was darn hard to find much of anything related to cartooning work, or the sort of coloring of the sort that a cartoonist is apt to do, then a formal art education was somewhat more important. Now, however, with just a bit of thought and effort on my part I can find anything about any aspect of visual art in general or cartooning art in particular that I consider ‘must have’ information.

What a formal art education does do for a person, though, is to force information and a certain degree of training into place that anyone with a lazy or stubborn streak might not otherwise gain on their own. Laziness and stubbornness can be twinned problems for an artist. With the first trait we may not study what we really should study when we should study because it's too much trouble. With the second we may not study something because we believe that we don't really need to gain a skill set or knowledge block in that area. Formal training blows right through those barricades to personal attainment. You WILL learn!

Unfortunately, you will learn strictly according to someone else's vision of what is vital, necessary, and important to you.

Doing things entirely on your own, therefore, has certain benefits. In particular you are going to delve deeply into areas that formal art courses tend to give short shrift to. You are also going to develop your own unique approaches to art work that will provide personal benefits not generally gained from formal art courses. You, for instance, are a master of computer manipulated art coloring. I don't know what else to call what you do best.

So it's a six or one and half a dozen of the other sort of thing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
CharleyHorse at 8:47AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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Frostflowers, I understand about being uncertain. But as you pointed out, study and practice are the key to gaining certainty.

What I forget to take into consideration when exchanging forum messages with fellow artists is whether or not a cartoonist is intending to become a professional. That makes one heck of a difference in outlook and in approaches to study and training. I, for instance, have no intention of turning pro. My artwork is for relaxation and for personal development. This means that I tend to take a more relaxed attitude towards formal aspects of training because no matter how desirable such may be I don't actually need formal training in order to do what I do. So I'll stick to photo references and apply the techniques learned from text sources rather than sacrifice anything to attend life drawing courses, but that does not make my approach correct for other artists.

To return to thoughts about my own artistic deficit, since I lack creativity I have to substitute education and a very wide and eclectic study habit for originality. This irritates me no end, but there's nothing else I can do about it. I can train myself to fake enough aspects of creativity to get by, but no amount of study will generate real creativity. You are either born with that element or you are not.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Frostflowers at 9:47AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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CharleyHorse
Frostflowers, I understand about being uncertain. But as you pointed out, study and practice are the key to gaining certainty.

What I forget to take into consideration when exchanging forum messages with fellow artists is whether or not a cartoonist is intending to become a professional. That makes one heck of a difference in outlook and in approaches to study and training. I, for instance, have no intention of turning pro. My artwork is for relaxation and for personal development. This means that I tend to take a more relaxed attitude towards formal aspects of training because no matter how desirable such may be I don't actually need formal training in order to do what I do. So I'll stick to photo references and apply the techniques learned from text sources rather than sacrifice anything to attend life drawing courses, but that does not make my approach correct for other artists.

I am intending (or, rather, hoping) to turn professional, so art-school is pretty important to me. While it is certainly possible to achieve a great level of skill without formal education, it is, as you say, more difficult: while you learn a truckload of stuff from lifedrawing courses, I've had one hell of a time finding any where I live - the one lifedrawing course I have attended required me to travel for an hour and a half north, twice a week, for five or six weeks. This means I'm less inclined to seek them out, even if I do know I need them; they're a lot of trouble getting to.

Art-school - in my case, it's a specific comic artist's/cartoonist's school - is more a place to get connections to the business, and network a whole lot, on top of getting regular lifedrawing classes and formal education in the most important basic tools and techniques.

To return to thoughts about my own artistic deficit, since I lack creativity I have to substitute education and a very wide and eclectic study habit for originality. This irritates me no end, but there's nothing else I can do about it. I can train myself to fake enough aspects of creativity to get by, but no amount of study will generate real creativity. You are either born with that element or you are not.

A question - how do you define “creativity”? An active imagination, regardless of what the output is, or a large measure of originality in said ideas? The ever-elusive inspiration? Just curious.
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
Fuzzy Modem at 10:09AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I'd like to think what I lack in education I make up for with innovation. I've have no formal training making comics whatsoever. Zilch. Nadda. I've had to just learn as I go along.

But my stuff is different, and for better or worse, that sets me apart. I definatly get critisized for it, but in the end our differences are what define us, and I'm pretty happy with mine. I've always been a bigger movie fan than comic fan.


I've given up following my dreams. I just asked where they're going and I'm gonna meet them there.
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blntmaker at 10:39AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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subcultured
i think i fall under lack of formal art education…but when it comes to art i just wing it.
i observe art that interests me either painting, movies, animation, music…etc

I'm with SUB on this one.

I've never taken an art class. Well, not a formal art class. My education is in engineering and technology education/leadership - So I've learned how to use software like Adobe CS, CATIA, Solidworks, Rhino and AutoCAD. I also specialize in engeineering design.

On creativity? The comics I do are mostly on my life experiences as an educator (14 years and going now). I love education and I especially love kids. The combination of the two make for great inspiration in my own creative spirit.

Evolving as an artist is part of the education process. The hands-on experience and experimentation you do is what fosters growth and in time (if you don't have it already) true creativity and as Fuzzy Modem said, “innovation”. Being a comic/cartoon fan helps, too!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:26AM
mlai at 1:14PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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If you are lacking in creativity but have artistic ability and general education, by definition you shouldn't even want to write the story. You should be seeking out a good writer.

If you have a good idea for a story but somehow you just can't get it to work, then you're not lacking creativity, you're lacking education and ability.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
subcultured at 3:18PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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IMO you should learn to draw, not many people will draw your story for free.
I started out with a writer in Bilaran Wars, but after a while I felt i only owned 50% of the comic…so i set out to be more independent and try to learn how to write better.

besides if you do it all by yourself you don't have to keep checking over someone's shoulder. It's 100% yours and that's something to be proud about. Not like in movies where everyone touches your creation trying to put their own creative spin on it.
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
CharleyHorse at 4:54PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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Frostflowers
A question - how do you define “creativity”? An active imagination, regardless of what the output is, or a large measure of originality in said ideas? The ever-elusive inspiration? Just curious.


A bit of all three actually. For instance I spent roughly three decades trying to become a novelist. While I did learn how to write I failed to produce anything publishable, or at least anything that I would want attached to my name when all was said and done. regardless of the creative methodology used I could not produce anything that was original. Considering that I was concentrating on fantasy works, this is rather sad.

Now where cartooning is concerned, I definitely have a talent for the three and four panel gag strip concepts. I don't particularly want to limit myself to this niche, however. But as far as extended storylines and plotting go I find myself once again thwarted by my inability to come up with anything uniquely my own that I actually want to invest considerable time and effort in developing. That's about as close as I can come to defining my creative deficit.

What I can do, I don't want to do, and what I want to do I can't do in any way that actually satisfies me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
okamimako at 7:35PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I think out of the three, I lack in artistic ability and education. My head's up in some other person's world for far too long to claim a lack in creativity…

Well, I make up for artistic ability by going simplistic with my style. Plus, I practice a lot; that must make up for something.

And education I can just brush off since I am in high school, but I am on my second year in art at my school.

And, to actually add some little thing to the discussion instead of being Ms. Random Poster Lady, even if you don't plan on becoming any sort of professional cartoonist (like me), I would still recommend some sort of art class. Even if you don't think you'll get anything out of it, there could still be some sort of benefit, such as shading, for an example, or anatomy. If you don't go for fine arts, then there's computer graphic sort of classes, where you can steal neat Photoshop techniques (or really expensive programs…). And, if you can't think of anything else, there's bound to be other people taking the class besides you that probably have more techniques to teach you than a four year major in art.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:21PM
mlai at 8:51PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I think having a co-writer/artist is a good thing. You have increased feedback, motivation, and you catch each other's faux pas. It depends on how you see it.

I don't see why you don't like strips. Look at Calvin & Hobbes, or Peanuts, or whatever. Respectable classics that will be reprinted forever. It's not a “niche.”

I've never heard of anyone who wants to make a graphic novel but doesn't have any premise he thinks is good. Usually the problem is either he can't draw, or he can't write well enough to move the premise. You have a unique problem.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
CharleyHorse at 7:04AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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mlai
You have a unique problem.

Now I could get all emo over this and glumly agree with you and wear a hair shirt, but the days of my agonizing over being unique in negative ways is pretty much a thing of the past. Besides which, considering how many artists there are in the world I can't possibly be unique in my fault.

What I think is going on is that despite my compulsion to be an artist of some sort, I'm probably not internally geared for the particular fields of art that I pursue. For instance, I am also a wood carver, and woodworker and in those fields I am much closer to being legitimately creative – I just don't want to have those as my primary artistic endeavors.

As was expressed elegantly in the last Indiana Jones movie as a great bit of advice, “Chose wisely;” well, that isn't advice that I have ever followed.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 8:18AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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I'm lacking in artistic ability (I KNOW what I'm doing but its not at a high level). Education? I took 1 year of art foundations at a community college. It was an attempt to beef up my art skills enough to get into animation.

However there has been setbacks.
- lack of $$$. I'm a first generation immigrant. And getting in debt is risky shit and I don't have enough fallback. (family issues)

- lack of skill and motivation on my part. I got demoralized after getting rejected like 5 times from any animation or graphic design school. Also what demoralized me is this feeling that I just woudln't fit in in such an environment. No thanks. The culture… is different. The mind pattern of the people… is different. Culture shock played a part. Got me depressed and messed up in the head for awhile.

- family issues. I couldnt afford to be a full time student and be at their mercy. I needed to fuckin get a job. And also, animation is a field where you need to keep working working working and more working. I've heard they work more hours than truck drivers or construction workers (during construction season). I've seen them crank out lots and lots of artwork in a short period of time. I bet they can crank out at least 20 lineart drawings from the time CRANK DAT plays until the song ends. lol!

I've heard from animation students I knew who were in the same art foundation program that for me to have a chance of keeping up, I HAVE TO QUIT my part time job (paid slightly higher than minimum and I can go fulltime if I like because the manager is pretty cool) I had at that time.

They're right. It came to a point where I just couldnt talk to them cuz they're too busy. If I quit my job and aim at a direction with uncertainty and no buffer zone (will I be employed surely after I graduate animation? I'd be sucking myself into student debt and with no sure fallback on family… thats a high risk I couldnt afford.

At least now… I have a fulltime job that is moderate to low stress… and I can chill and hangout at least here at DD because I'm a fast worker.

Yep. less stress. :) And I WILL take steps to improve my art skill if $$$ permit. There are part time courses all over…



For storywriting? I'd say its like something inborn for me. Yes. Whether you like my shit or not, storywriting I've been doing since age 8 and I'm confident in my ability. I just have this knack for blowing stories out of proportion and making up stuff. During social gatherings and other casual conversations, I've gotten soooo good at making up stuff that people will believe shit I say even if I just made it up. I can do it almost instantly!!!

So… I'd just read more books and articles. And get through with life… lol!


So in short, my storywriting > my art.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Blackmoon at 8:47AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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I'm totally lacking in creativity (most of my stuff is lifted from other sources, then manipulated til it suits my needs), and I have no artistic education (which is why so many people bitch about my sense of proportion and dimension).
To be honest, that I can do anything at all with a pencil is amazing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
CharleyHorse at 4:20PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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Yeah kyupol I think I understand the conundrums; you can put food on your table and help out your family members or you can bet absolutely everything on the throw of the dice and become a full time animation art student with only a hope of being employed after the fact.

Now were I to hold true to my older generation status from a nation of outrageously plentiful resources I should tell you to go for the gusto, grab for that gold, let your responsibilities go hang while you look out for yourself. But then I've noticed over the decades that primarily the people who eagerly offer up such advice were not themselves at the time in any danger of having to scrounge in dumpsters for food scraps and indeed had never experienced want and uncertainties nor were, thanks to circumstances of birth, ever likely to experience such dire problems.

Nah, for better or for worse I approach such things from the standpoint of having been born on the lower rung of the socio-economic ladder and having stayed there for many, many, dreary, long years. In point of fact you are learning what you need to know to follow your dream, only you are doing so on your own, in your own time, at your own pace, and are able to explore avenues of art that are perhaps off-limits to those hard working animation students due to the stringent requirements of their curriculum. Meanwhile you are earning a living and staying true to your value systems. You are probably also having a bit more fun and actually living a more well-rounded lifestyle.

This means, though, that you are limited to self-promotion so far as animation work goes. If the animation field is an effectively closed shop where only the graduates of recognized studios get work then you are going to be forced to look for rogue producers who are willing to take a chance on the skills and inventiveness of outsiders. Or you could simply roll your own, develop and promote your own limited scale and limited resources products and promote yourself to the limits.

There is a great deal to be said for being one's own boss.

Everyone has opinions, and mine may be as worthless as most; but in my opinion I think that you are doing the right thing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 6:50PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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@Charleyhorse

Everyone has opinions, and mine may be as worthless as most; but in my opinion I think that you are doing the right thing.

Thanks for the support. That is much appreciated.

But then I've noticed over the decades that primarily the people who eagerly offer up such advice were not themselves at the time in any danger of having to scrounge in dumpsters for food scraps and indeed had never experienced want and uncertainties nor were, thanks to circumstances of birth, ever likely to experience such dire problems.

I could not agree more. That is why when I “make it”, I will invest resources in helping the JOBLESS and the HOMELESS and the NEW IMMIGRANTS.

Though in a way… I feel jealous of people who seem to be able to afford to live in perpetual childhood. :(

Or you could simply roll your own, develop and promote your own limited scale and limited resources products and promote yourself to the limits.

I'll see about this. But as of now, its not like the comics I make will ever “click” (at least get in the top 100 or get like 500 hits a day or get featured). As a comic author/artist, I've done my share of analyzing the comics that “clicked”.

I noticed that different comics just have different mind patterns. If you read a comic, you'd get an idea of the mind pattern of the one who created it. And some of these mind patterns happened to be liked by more people than others. And those are the ones that “click”.

Well… I'd say I got limited success as far as doing comics are concerned. So publishing and selling my stuff will only yield lesser profit than what was originally invested. In short, a waste of resources. :(
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
CharleyHorse at 7:34PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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Yes kyupol, the great CLICK. I've done the same just to try and figure out the phenomenon itself, as in what makes a specific cartoon or comic offering CLICK with fans.

I won't name names, but what really fascinates me are the strips or comics that suffer from relatively poor art techniques; everything from bad perspective work to anatomy that is plain wrong . So what gives with that?

On the other hand I've also noticed that the creators of most of these poorly rendered strips are fairly upbeat people who have a firm grasp of storytelling, of pacing, of keeping their readers on the edge of their seats as the big payoff approaches, and then actually delivering that payoff. As artists we may tend to give too much weight to the quality of the artistic techniques. Probably it boils down to a handful of elements that some of us find difficult to put into our own work.

Consistency and fairly frequent updating. Personally, I lose it right there. I always start off like a racehorse and then gradually lose my energy and my interest.

A perpetually upbeat and accommodating attitude. Again, I lose the struggle there, because while I can be quite cheerful and accommodating in my communications with other people I can also be a bear and a bloody damn sarcastic one at that if a bad mood should coincide with the urge or the necessity to communicate with a fan.

A clever idea that either hasn't been done a million times or offers up a fairly unique approach to the same old thing. I'm usually okay there, as I've learned how to fake creativity and originality.

Having a great deal of fun with your work. I'm convinced that people can tell if a cartoonist is enjoying the work or just making himself go through the motions.

I'm sure you can list a great many more elements that I have overlooked or dispute some of my own assertions.

In point of fact, I can only guess why some strips and comics that should fail, because some of what I consider to be critical elements are missing, in reality are big hits with the fans, and often times includes me among them.

kyupol
I noticed that different comics just have different mind patterns. If you read a comic, you'd get an idea of the mind pattern of the one who created it. And some of these mind patterns happened to be liked by more people than others. And those are the ones that “click”.

Yeah, that's probably sums it up better than my analysis.

About the envy stuff. Again, I'm going to go against the societal grain here and confess that I think a bit of jealousy isn't an altogether bad thing, particularly if it can be used as a motivational tool. In my primary profession I deal with a great number of people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. For some reason it's mildly comforting to discover that most of them wouldn't go on to have a good college experience or successful post college career if it were not for the incredibly long trail of people motivated for a variety of reasons to always cover for them, pick up after them, protect and comfort them, and wedge open doors of opportunity for them. All that and then they often still fall flat on their face and wait for one of their keepers to come along, pick them up again, dust them off, tell them what great fellows they are, and then direct them towards another golden window of opportunity closed to lesser mortals. No wonder they are perpetual optimists!

It's sort of fascinating to watch.

See what I mean when I point out that I can be a bear at times? Being one never really is in my best interests of course; but frankly, I can't always help myself. Sigh!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 8:50PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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I won't name names, but what really fascinates me are the strips or comics that suffer from relatively poor art techniques; everything from bad perspective work to anatomy that is plain wrong . So what gives with that?

lmao I know what you mean. lol!

I also noticed better readership on my older stuff BK) and on BK.

When I did BK readership declined (guess sequels supposedly suck). Though with MAG-ISA I'd say its at the same level as BK maybe slightly higher… though only about 20% of people who read my stuff from the beginning (I love you all!!!) still followed it.

A perpetually upbeat and accommodating attitude.

I'm more upbeat now than before when I used to get involved in flamewars and whine about the teenage stuff like how to get girls and stuff (Now I know the REAL answer to that teenage question but I'd rather not say it lol! ).

Anyway I think I lack that charisma… being a former social outcast and all…

Or maybe I can speculate it WAS that angsty attitude of mine in the past that got me more readership. Maybe its just like how Eminem's first couple albums were more popular because they were more angry and hardcore lyrics.

In my primary profession I deal with a great number of people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

What's your primary profession? I speculate you're a college teacher or athletic coach or something… :)

For some reason it's mildly comforting to discover that most of them wouldn't go on to have a good college experience or successful post college career if it were not for the incredibly long trail of people motivated for a variety of reasons to always cover for them, pick up after them, protect and comfort them, and wedge open doors of opportunity for them. All that and then they often still fall flat on their face and wait for one of their keepers to come along, pick them up again, dust them off, tell them what great fellows they are, and then direct them towards another golden window of opportunity closed to lesser mortals. No wonder they are perpetual optimists!

This IS GOLD!!! :) No sarcasm from my part.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
CharleyHorse at 9:11PM, Oct. 24, 2007
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I've been known to teach high school and college students from time to time, but my current profession is a bit difficult to describe. I guess you could describe me as a research and advice specialist at this point in time. I'm not trying to be mysterious. The internet era has created many new job types that don't really have traditional definitions.

Oh and about the athletics; at one time I used to do quite a bit of martial arts teaching, but it's been a long time now since I've even broken a decent sweat. I've got to do something about that while I'm still young enough to safely challenge this aging body of mine.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
BlkKnight at 8:53PM, Oct. 26, 2007
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Creativity I have plenty of, artistic ability I have enough of to get by, but education depends on your definition. If it's just art education, I have none; but if it's any education, working on my doctorate would make that self-explanatory. I tend to let my writing do the talking and keep my art simplistic for time constraints. When I do get a chance, I like to try and push my boundaries since it's the only way I'll improve. As much as I'd like to take an art class, there's just no time for me to do so and I doubt I'll have much of a desire after I complete my degree either. My only saving grace would be learning quickly since my work from ‘03-’04 was better than all of my initial ‘01 stuff and what I’m doing now is even better than that despite not really drawing for the three year gap.
That's “Dr. BlkKnight” to all of you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
silentkitty at 8:17AM, Oct. 27, 2007
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Well, it's hard for me to say. As far as artistic ability and creativity go, I'd like to say that I'm at an acceptable level in both, even though I know I still have a long way to go and improvements to make.

Education would probably be my shortcoming. I did go to college, but I went for graphic design, which mostly focused around advertising and brand design. Which is fine, but it didn't really help me very much as far as actual drawing. I took some illustration classes while I was there (my illustration teacher was the best teacher I've ever had) but for the most part, I don't really feel that most of the classes I took helped me to become a better artist. (I decided after I graduated that I hate graphic design and have never actively looked for a job in the field. I'd rather work a part time job and spend more time focusing on the art that I actually enjoy, I guess.)

As far as writing goes, I've never taken a writing class in my life. I wish I had, but when I was in school, I wasn't even thinking about doing both art and writing, so I focused completely on art classes. So the actual creation process is a little hit and miss for me; I just tend to do what I think sounds good, while probably unintentionally ignoring a million “writing laws” that I'm completely unaware of.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:37PM
CharleyHorse at 11:11AM, Oct. 27, 2007
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BlkKnight, I should have been more careful in composing my top-post. While I think most people assumed that I was talking about artistic education what I was really thinking about was an all around education in the humanities. Of course there have been pure physicists that made the transition to cartooning and did a bang up job, but they – only one that I know of actually - admitted that they were also inveterate readers of fine and not so fine literature, classics and otherwise.

While I do have a library of art books I consider my saving grace to be the wide cross section of generic reading I do in almost all subject matter.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
CharleyHorse at 11:16AM, Oct. 27, 2007
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silentkitty, you are indeed a great artist. I'm not really advocating the taking of writing courses or pursuing a great deal of non-art-related reading because in those regards it's a matter of, ‘to each his or her own.’

The only reason that I can fake having creativity or originality is because I am such a voracious reader and possibly – although I am not certain about this influence – because I spent a good deal of my life writing, writing, writing.

I was just curious – and still am – as to what people do to compensate for any perceived deficits in their skills set.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
mlai at 12:40PM, Oct. 27, 2007
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@ Charleyhorse:

I'm not sure what you mean. You said you meant general education, and that the well-rounded knowledge helped you write better. That's what I meant too, earlier. Having knowledge in a breadth of subjects allow me to write with intelligence and depth, or at least know intuitively exactly what I need to research when my fund of knowledge come up short.

There are several future chapters/scenes in FIGHT 2 which I am currently very proud of, not because they cover themes never heard of (that's impossible), but because they do so with the poetry, sublimity, and sophistication of educated inspiration. I'm sure somewhere out there (prolly in a Shadowrun novel), a cyborg and a swordswoman stood together talking about their hopes and regrets, but I sure as hell know they didn't do it the way mine do it in my future chapter 7. IMO your description of your own process sounds like mine.

But then you denigrate yourself by saying “I have no imagination I just fake it with knowledge.” WTF does that mean? Unless you mean you plagiarize wholesale from other authors, what you're saying makes no sense.

Edit: I'll tell you something. When I was a college freshman, I had a senior for a roommate, whose enduring opinion of me, artistically, was that I was a hack because I lack innovation/creativity/originality. At the time I was voraciously copying whatever I thought was better than what I myself could do. My roommate's authoritative comments affected me; I thought I was a hack, that I wasn't original.

But now I consider that opinion ignorant bullshit. What is originality? The ability to create a character with a new hairstyle and a new costume? I could do that easy (see the art subforum), but what is that worth? What am I learning, when something springs entirely from my mind, without absorbing any elements from “something better”? I now draw fan comics, and by working with something greater than myself, the tapestry of my creativity is wrought with such magnificence I break down into tears. Is every WW2 movie a hack? OMG they didn't design original costumes for the Nazis, hack hack hack?

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
CharleyHorse at 1:06PM, Oct. 27, 2007
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mlai, it pretty much means that I find my cartooning work dull and curiously reminiscent of stuff I've encountered countless times elsewhere despite my earnest effort to produce material that is wholly original and effervescent.

No, I do not plagiarize as I see no point in doing that; particularly since I want my stuff to be both original and good.

Let me put it this way. If you recall the Buffy the Vampire television show of a few years back then imagine a broadly educated writer struggling to produce something wholly original for television that features a spunky but somewhat gormless heroine, a plucky support group with independent personalities, a setting rife with monsters of all types and a sage mentor type that sometimes steps on his own - er - piece of personal anatomy.

Now consider this earnest and widely read wannabe television writer sitting back in satisfaction, reviewing his work with a critical eye and then assaulting the floor with his lower jaw as he realizes to his horror that what he has managed to craft is nothing more than a bad rendition of a rather routine BTV show, despite different character names or backgrounds or different setting.

That's straightforward, and if the writer has a lick of integrity into the trash can goes his manuscript.

Now imagine the same happening ad infinitum with his every effort. His mysteries all read like poor hack efforts to reproduce Hawaii Five-o, his comedies are really just vague reproductions of Star Wars , and so forth and so on.

Oh there are things you can do. You can tinker with your accidentally similar in premise BTV script until it definitely does not resemble that show but also now has almost no entertainment values left whatsoever.

I could continue, but I imagine that you get the gist of it. In point of fact any cartooning effort that I present is as original in concept as I can make it but it always seems or feels drearily derivative of something somewhat familiar to me, something haunting me just on the edge of realization . . . .

Anyway that's what lack of creativity or crippled imagination means to me. If it means something else to you then so be it. I can only get inside my own head, not yours.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
kyupol at 5:16PM, Oct. 27, 2007
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t the time I was voraciously copying Dragonball Z and whatever else I thought was better than what I myself could do. His authoritative comments affected me; I thought I was a hack, that I wasn't original.

well thats how you learn how to draw. Copy copy copy. You have to copy first or learn from a mentor before you progress.

Art also comes in stages. Before you draw your comic, you HAVE to copy some stuff first. Then you'd eventually progress. I agree he's a fuckin idiot. lol!

That was what my art teacher in hischool told me… she told me that if I wanna improve, I should keep drawing from life… copy objects or people. I disagreed a bit with her since here's my order of progression:

- copying faces from anime…
- copying poses from anime…
- drawing without copying. Though arms are always spread out and they're always wearing long sleeves or putting hands at the back or the pockets.
- Trying to come up with something ‘original’ which are normally failed attempts at copying from anime. My character, MARA-NINA for instance, she was a failed attempt to draw Lime from Saber Marionette J.

- copying real stuff… I took a short figure drawing course.
- more copying from drawn pictures/comics… but at a better proficiency since I got used to drawing from life.
- making better figures
- being conscious of proportions
- learning how to shade
- learning how to color
- learning how to do action poses
- improving color, shading, figures, proportions
- learning basic backgrounds

———————————–
AT THIS POINT:
- Now I'm working on my backgrounds and I'm gaining a better understanding of faces… like I'm being more aware of the shapes of eyes, nose, mouth, shape of head, type of hair, etc… I'm also improving my shading and coloring technique… also understanding more about light and shadow as well as body types. I'm more conscious now if a character has to be at a certain height… though still working on size and position relations.

Consistency of perspective is still in its basic stages. Realism improving but not passable for my standards.

So yeah… this is my artistic development. :)


Oh and about the athletics; at one time I used to do quite a bit of martial arts teaching, but it's been a long time now since I've even broken a decent sweat. I've got to do something about that while I'm still young enough to safely challenge this aging body of mine.

What kind of MA?

They put us through drills… then they make us do “shadow boxing” where you pretend your opponent is you in the mirror… and thats how we develop our own attack patterns or STYLE as you might call it. (ex: jab+jab+cross+rightlegkick, jab+jab+shoot at left leg, etc…)

The thing tho… is everyone has a tendency to keep following an attack pattern and you need to train your mind to stop being monotonous. If you spar with 1 guy/gal for like a couple weeks you'd get how he/she moves and be able to predict what attack comes next.

As to why… I don't know. But I guess its body reflex actions. lol!

Before this thread turns into martial arts discussion, I think its the same reflexes an artist develops when they practice their drawing. :)
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
CharleyHorse at 8:07PM, Oct. 27, 2007
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I trained in Shorinryu karate, taekwondo, hapkido, some mixed fighting elements and training forms of northern kungfu. Later my body just got to where it couldn't handle hard movements anymore because of some spinal injuries in my youth. In my thirties I switched to Yang style taijiquan for the health aspects and then studied a few other systems, picking up a little here and a little there that I liked.

I kept my hand to hand work as simplistic as possible, brutal really, depending on palm-heel and elbow strikes and anything that would be likely to give me an edge. Although I used to be able to kick like a demon, I never really trusted much in kicks. I preferred close in techniques. Empty hand techniques aside my favorite weapon was and is a simple escrima stick. If I have one of those in my hands or anything that will serve as one, then I'm darn effective . . . or used to be.

About the artistic creativity stuff, I didn't intend for it to be a big thing. It's just a minor problem with me. I have developed workarounds. That was pretty much the point of my top post. Certainly some deficits can hamper an artist but they shouldn't shut a person down, particularly the art work is being done for the love of it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
silentkitty at 8:12PM, Oct. 27, 2007
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CharleyHorse
silentkitty, you are indeed a great artist. I'm not really advocating the taking of writing courses or pursuing a great deal of non-art-related reading because in those regards it's a matter of, ‘to each his or her own.’

The only reason that I can fake having creativity or originality is because I am such a voracious reader and possibly – although I am not certain about this influence – because I spent a good deal of my life writing, writing, writing.

I was just curious – and still am – as to what people do to compensate for any perceived deficits in their skills set.

Mm.. I don't think I really do anything to compensate for it. lol! I'll admit that I've never really taken the time to educate myself when it comes to story writing rules. I'm not really looking to make a career out of writing, so for the moment, if I can read back through what I've written, understand it, and not fall asleep, it gets stamped as “okay”, lol.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:37PM

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