Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Creativity versus Artistic Ability versus Education
Nicotine at 5:29AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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I would say I lack art education the most. I took an advanced art class in 8th grade, and that was it XD. I don't think an art education matters that much, if at all though. I think I'm a pretty decent artist, and I'm able to come up with new and innovative ideas fairly quickly. I think art class sort of stifle your freedom a little.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
CharleyHorse at 6:31PM, Dec. 16, 2007
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The thing about an art education is that already all the information an artist might need for cartooning or comic book art or fine art is already floating around the Internet is is generally available for free. Then there are myriads of books and DVDs, if one has the ready funds. The thing about an art education is that most people can now get whatever they feel that they need of one.

I agree about the stifle comment Nicotine, to a degree anyway. The first thing any ‘how to’ course does is casually mention in passing that there is more than one correct way to do many things in the field and then the instructor pretend for the rest of the course that there is one and only one correct way to do anything and that way his his or her way.

There are generally accepted composition and color value rules. There are generally accepted fundamentals in art that most reputable instructors and instructions courses do agree upon merely because they lurk at the root foundations of art itself. But then later you learn that there is a Western art concept and an Eastern art concept and within that Eastern niche there are many equally valid sub-niches, and that sometimes their fundamental rules seem in conflict with the fundamental rules of other cultures.

The classic departure is the Western passion for strict perspective usage versus the Japanese and Chinese, Korean traditional stretching or ignoring of many ‘traditional’ perspective ‘rules’ and yet only a cretin would maintain that the East and Far Eastern art isn't of co-equal value and correctness to that of the West.

Often, what an artist needs is well-meaning criticism from fellow artists who understand what the artist is trying to do. that's where these forums can come into play.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
ShadowDion at 6:26PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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first
Someone
A lifetime of thought and creativity is useless without the skills and tools to properly express it.

i have to say i disagree. think of Gary Larson's ‘The Far Side’, now, this guy will probably admit very readily that he was far from a polished artist, certainly not horrible, but his technical skill was quite weak. but in part that was some of the charm which only added to his comic. he had a creative genius when it came to looking at the world that he could twist into hilarious comics. technical skill is important, no doubt, but i would say creativity trumps it.
you can teach technical skill, give tips, read up on it, practice it, but not really with creativity. you can teach someone to be creativity, but you can teach technical skill.

CharleyHorse
The thing about an art education is that already all the information an artist might need for cartooning or comic book art or fine art is already floating around the Internet is is generally available for free. Then there are myriads of books and DVDs, if one has the ready funds. The thing about an art education is that most people can now get whatever they feel that they need of one.

I agree about the stifle comment Nicotine, to a degree anyway. The first thing any ‘how to’ course does is casually mention in passing that there is more than one correct way to do many things in the field and then the instructor pretend for the rest of the course that there is one and only one correct way to do anything and that way his his or her way.

There are generally accepted composition and color value rules. There are generally accepted fundamentals in art that most reputable instructors and instructions courses do agree upon merely because they lurk at the root foundations of art itself. But then later you learn that there is a Western art concept and an Eastern art concept and within that Eastern niche there are many equally valid sub-niches, and that sometimes their fundamental rules seem in conflict with the fundamental rules of other cultures.

well, i think i agree and disagree.
really, in the end, it depends on the person. there are some people that have had no formal training and made great comics, self-taught, totally brillant. then there are some that have worked years perfecting it. i don't think art education is essential, but i really don't believe it can hurt. some may say it stiffles creativity by forcing you to follow strict rules and assignments but creating a work from them can also be a creativity task.
for example, i had a professor that had us do an assignment where we were to draw a still life of white socks. no joke, a picture of socks. while most students got really frustrated over this assignment saying that couldn't do anything with it, i made a stilllife of four sock puppets, one murdering another with a knife and two standing in disbelief.
i think the assignment was pretty stupid, but stiffling? not really. a creativity person can be put in any box and still think outside of it, while playing within its rules. i believe that having an art education can only help any artist, to some degree anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
CharleyHorse at 6:32AM, Dec. 23, 2007
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I think that for most wannabe cartoonists having taken a formal art course of some sort before they graduate high school would be of great benefit. On the other hand I'm old enough to think that it probably was of greater benefit to the young artist thirty years ago when we still used drafting tables and t-squares, memorized the rules of perspective, and followed a rigid and highly organized course structure, but then I'm also probably wrong about my perception of the more ‘if it feels good do it’ methodology of contemporary ‘structured’ art courses.

Color me rather bleak minded today, eh?

What I would like to see though is an artist get a bit of self study time under his or her belt before going on to take a college art course, because there, I believe, is where the tendency exists to hammer down any innate artistic styling and creativity that the budding artist arrives with. The student learns a vast amount about how established artists did things and learns that his or her own tendencies to experiment are worthless in comparison if they go in some other direction. Again, I'll admit to being in a bit of a cynical and negative mood this morning. I will probably disagree with my own reply here in a few days.

For all of my jaundiced view of college level art courses, however, I am also a professional educator of sorts and I do definitely advocate the learning of proven techniques and theories. I just think that it is better for a young artist to experiment a bit on their own before getting hammered by well meaning people teaching the ‘correct’ ways to do things.

I will say this, however, in general an artist can't go wrong being thirsty for knowledge, be it in the field of art itself or matters pertaining to the greater world surrounding them. Knowledge is not wisdom but it does tend to give the artist a great deal of freedom to do things in different ways while gradually gaining wisdom both in art and in life itself.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
jimmy_genocide at 7:04AM, Dec. 24, 2007
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CharleyHorse
What I would like to see though is an artist get a bit of self study time under his or her belt before going on to take a college art course, because there, I believe, is where the tendency exists to hammer down any innate artistic styling and creativity that the budding artist arrives with. The student learns a vast amount about how established artists did things and learns that his or her own tendencies to experiment are worthless in comparison if they go in some other direction. Again, I'll admit to being in a bit of a cynical and negative mood this morning. I will probably disagree with my own reply here in a few days.

great idea charleyhorse! thats actually exactly what im in the middle of right now. it went like this: when i was in my final year of highschool i started applying to all the art colleges and so on, but after i recieved all my general acceptance i had to go in to present my portfolio, and when i sat there one night making my portfolio i thought to myself looking at my artwork, i knew i could do so much better. so i decided i would take a year off school, for a few reasons, first being there was really no way i or my family could send me to colleges especially the colleges i wanted to go to, so my plan was to get a job, work full time and be an artist part time. didnt quite work out as planned but what i got was even better, im a full time artist and a part time burger flipper at mcdonalds (today is actually my first day at that job haha) now the irony is that it is a full time job i work at but i said it in that order before simply because ever since i started my year off just to work on my art work my mentality has changed quite a bit, im always thinking of new artwork and projects to start up, its in my head 24/7 now, and now i have no shame whatsoever in displaying my portfolio because i know what im capable of and my portfolio shows it the best it can.


CharleyHorse
I think that for most wannabe cartoonists having taken a formal art course of some sort before they graduate high school would be of great benefit. On the other hand I'm old enough to think that it probably was of greater benefit to the young artist thirty years ago when we still used drafting tables and t-squares, memorized the rules of perspective, and followed a rigid and highly organized course structure, but then I'm also probably wrong about my perception of the more ‘if it feels good do it’ methodology of contemporary ‘structured’ art courses.

Color me rather bleak minded today, eh?

my uncle was an advertising artist, so he had to go through all that back in the day, its a much different stem of art to me, but the thing is, even though its not my thing to use most of the things taught it the ol' formal art, it was still a great addition to my art simply to know that stuff and have it your mind.

CharleyHorse
I will say this, however, in general an artist can't go wrong being thirsty for knowledge, be it in the field of art itself or matters pertaining to the greater world surrounding them. Knowledge is not wisdom but it does tend to give the artist a great deal of freedom to do things in different ways while gradually gaining wisdom both in art and in life itself.

knowledge is power, no matter what field your in, and in the field of art knowledge just increases your ability to be versitile, which in this industry, is usually a really good thing.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
Lokidoll at 9:50PM, Jan. 22, 2008
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T__T; I feel ALL of those at one point or another….Sometimes from lack of motivation, depression, or feeling shown up by ( what I feel to be) a superior artist.
I usually get over it eventually though. Sleep, doodling some of my characters on some paper, or even looking at some of the other artists who inspire me to draw. A lot of the time all it takes is a good friend telling me not to give up. ( as corny and lame as it sounds )
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:38PM
mechanical_lullaby at 4:07AM, Jan. 24, 2008
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I seriously lack in education. My last art course was in middle school and I'm just beginning to pick it up again now that I'm in my sophomore year of college. My proportions are pretty good regardless and I practice constantly, but as a result of lack of classes I cannot draw backrounds or use rulers or any other tools to save my life. Also I get hard stares from people who've taken art classes when they see me use charcoal and I'm like, “since when is art strictly about formalities?”

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
PottymouthPress at 2:25PM, Feb. 1, 2008
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Well, My biggest lack is formal education, such as graphic design w/ Illustrator and Photoshop, but I am getting the hang of them now. Creatively, that shit explodes out of my brain. I have more ideas than I could ever draw by myself. I actually started trying to learn animation so I could create the animated films that I wrote and or dreamed up. But after trying to learn Flash, I realize why people go to school for 4 years to learn animation. Artistic skill. I think I'm in the middle here. I drew really well through about mid-high school, but then joined theater and didn't develop my skills much from there. There are a lot of peopleon here that can kick my ass, and I love it. Gives me more people to learn from. However, for the style I like to do, I think my skills are just fine so long as I take the time to re-draw bad frames instead of getting annoyed and settling for them. I got more confident after some artist that drew really well told me, “Very few people ever draw something perfect the first time. The rest of us have to re-draw until we get what we like, and that's where the determination part of being an artist comes in. Those that can do it perfect spent years doing it before. And the rest of us will spend a long time working out the kinks until we get the finished product. It's all about how much you are willing to put into your work and how strongly you feel about your work.”

I try to live by that now. I'm almost 29, and I'll never be as good as some of you guys on here artisticly. However, my script writing skills have always been strong, and I believe in them enough to overcome my qualms about my not being the next Jhonen Vasquez or Boris Vellejo. I mean, come on! If the guy that drew Shin-chan can get his work published and syndicated on Cartoon Network, there GOTTA be hope for me. Now if I can just get Illustrator down, I'll be set.

My biggest setback, BEING FUCKING LAZY!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
PottymouthPress at 2:28PM, Feb. 1, 2008
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Lokidoll
T__T; I feel ALL of those at one point or another….Sometimes from lack of motivation, depression, or feeling shown up by ( what I feel to be) a superior artist.
I usually get over it eventually though. Sleep, doodling some of my characters on some paper, or even looking at some of the other artists who inspire me to draw. A lot of the time all it takes is a good friend telling me not to give up. ( as corny and lame as it sounds )


Yeah, my friends help me out when I'm stressed and trying to be a perfectionist and all. You just have to remember why you are doing it to begin with.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
shadowmagi at 6:22PM, Feb. 13, 2008
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I would say the area im most lacking in is education. That however will get fixed when i go to school to get my bachelor's degree in fine art :D
I would also say Im a bit lacking in creativity and artistic ability as well, since im definately not the “perfect” artist :) In the area of creativity, if i'm having troubles finding new, interesting, or unique things to put in my comic (everything from resolution of conflicts to character design), I will take a look at other artist's works and see if I can find inspiration. For example, if there's a certain detail on a certain type of character, I'll make a twist on it to make it my own (since copying is just lame. lol). For artistic ability, I'll study real life examples :) (mostly because the things i have the most trouble drawing are non-living things lol)

*Psst*
….
(i like feedback~!)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
kiandranishan at 11:48AM, Feb. 18, 2008
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The one I'm prolly lacking the most is education. I took a one day life drawing class once…which the teacher told us to draw a drapped cloth…then a model. Not much of a class. Other than that I've not taken any art classes. Like SilentKitty, I went to school for graphic design (which is when I took said “life drawing class” ) but I learned more about flow and color and advertising.

I think I'm okay, creativity wise…but I'm still a pretty amature artist. But over the last few years I've grown in leaps and bounds in my art. Might have to do with the fact that I'm ALWAYS drawing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:15PM
Naughtelos at 5:07PM, March 1, 2008
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Hm. Interesting opinions, all of them. I, myself, am a master of compensation, but my thesis takes precidence here, we'll come back to that. I can't draw (as you can see by my avatar) but, many of the web comics here are are pretty poorly drawn, however, many also garner numerous readers, due to their creativity and sense of humor. Hence, artistic ability is a bonus, but not quite as important as creativity, which is an absolute must for a good web comic, and any liberal art, for that matter.
To continue, education can teach art skills, and focus creativity, but you can't focus what you don't have, unfortunately, so there is a natural “spark” that most webcomic artists posess, that creates and refines the worlds and their residents that permeate this site. Ok, returning to my statement about my skills. I can't draw, I have no formal art education whatsoever, but I seep creativity…or insanity, I can't tell which at times. To compensate for my inability to draw I have used my adroit computer talents (developed over years of being practically being raised staring at a screen), to use a number of programs, Namely Photoshop, Comic Book Creator, and World of Warcraft Model Viewer, to create a World of Warcraft parody comic. The comic, Vile Withering, is slightly less, direct, I suppose, compared to the typical WoW-Comic, there are only a few true references to anything “accurate” in a the game itself. I use the world only as a canvas, to provide a relatable setting to drop my characters in, while simultaneously having a target audience of 9.5 million plus people who know what I'm talking about. But, at the same time (this is true for all comics, fantasy or no) you've got to make it accessible to almost everybody who reads it. THAT's where creativity comes in, being able to bend and warp your setting to transform the digital characters from lines of code into residents of the world: more “human” and less like targets for a wayward fireball.
To recap, education: good, art: great, creativity: essential. Hope that answers your question CharleyHorse.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
Aurora Borealis at 1:15PM, March 7, 2008
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Hmm, one thing I DON'T lack is creativity :D

*looks at the script/idea folder whereabout 40 different ideas sit, waiting to be developed further*

My artistic ability is kinda patchy. There are gaps in the basics (for example I have problems keeping human figure proportions, usually making my characters look like kids instead of adults), but on the other hand I think I have fairly good sense of design, enough to make the pages work despite my lacks.

Education? Does drawing a lot from age 2 to 15 counts as education? :D I think I've filled couple of thousand pages in that time. Basically what I'm doing now is my education, I write the script as I go, one page at a time, and try to find solutions to any problems I encounter.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
ozoneocean at 3:17AM, April 25, 2008
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CharleyHorse
…thirty years ago when we still used drafting tables and t-squares, memorized the rules of perspective, and followed a rigid and highly organized course structure…
Hey. I learned all that less that 30 years ago. Not in art courses… I did technical drawing classes in high school. Hey, perspective stuff was obvious to me but it was good to learn the technical tricks. My art classes didn't teach me very much at all. Just bits and pieces… You need the skills and ability to begin with, because art classes don't improve them or give you new ones. That's my experience anyway.

Actual art education isn't about technique, unless it's into something more commercial like illustration. Art education for decades has focussed more on exposure to new ways of thinking about expression. Classes in life drawing etc are usually more token nods to older ways of doing things… vestigial.

Which in turn makes art education vestigial. Irrelevant. Pointless. Without technical training it has no point. Oh, art history is valuable and so is the critical thinking involved in art, but different forms of expression and ways of thinking about it should be arrived at by a trained, grounded, educated, knowledgeable, skilled person, not some fool who has nothing but big ideas, an emo hairstyle, and tight jeans.

Someone who actually knows what they're doing has a lot more options to work with…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Myari at 9:34PM, May 9, 2008
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I definitely lack art education. I try to get things right, especially with anatomy, and I study art books and tutorials online, but I know I'm missing things that even high school art students know.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
bravo1102 at 10:51AM, May 25, 2008
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It's a stew. You mix it together and the result is your style. You certainly don't need education though it makes the learning curve less steep.

I couldn't imagine having to teach myself Photoshop, Illustrator etc. and am grateful for my time in Graphic art school. I learned all the technical stuff when I did my art classes 20 years ago and had it reinforced when I went to graphic arts school seven years ago. And I got the digital upgrade. :)

Of course, literary education and the ability to dissect your story-telling can kill your creativity in ways that an art education doesn't. (at least for me)

And I've been told I have artistic “talent” since I was 6 years old. It got to the point where I hated it and didn't do anything with it for 20 years. So artistic ability is over-rated.

Just things to add to the stew. It's not the ingredients that make a good stew but what you do with them and how they come together.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
solaris knight at 11:23AM, June 26, 2008
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i have enough artistic ability to make a decent hand drawn comic, but there are multiple problems:
1: any test comics i made seem to deteriorate when passed through my scanner.
2: i have hardly anytime draw comics due to schoolwork. its fine when im on holiday, but when the holiday ends…

i'm currently looking for a way to compensate for these, but when the time comes to make a comic, i might have to settle for making a sprite comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
Lycan90 at 11:54AM, July 29, 2008
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I don't have any education from art, writing or coloring.
I just try out what looks good to me and advance a little bit with it.

Can't say that I have lack of creativity too.
I have a goddam world created from mind only waiting to see daylight here in webcomic.
To know everything is curse, To know nothing is bless….
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
JoeL_CQB at 10:02PM, July 29, 2008
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I could say I have all three.

I'm studying art cause I'm not a mathmetitian.

My mind is often wondering around.

And I see “talent” as the ability to improve quicker than others.
a kid who is just talented at basketball can't possibly win against an another person, who isn't as talented but has been training for years.

I'll go through my sketch book, and look at my sketches that I've done for that week, and I'll find there's this giant difference between my earlier stuff and later stuff. despite it being a week apart. :S
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
JoeL_CQB at 10:18AM, Aug. 8, 2008
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this dude learned “how to draw” in 7 months… pretty amazing. :B
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=114449
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
ozoneocean at 9:33AM, Aug. 9, 2008
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That's not true. From what he said he used to draw in school as normal. He learned to paint over that period. It's all pretty understandable usual student output. When you're already got the ability you pick stuff up and during student days you work intensively and produce a huge output.

I'm always highly amused at people's astonishment over the normal application of technical ability, wither that's some young kid doing martial arts, drawing or playing violin or whatever… It usually happens most regarding children.
-You can teach a monkey to perform but it's not going to to write a Hamlet.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
Tashna at 1:23PM, Aug. 11, 2008
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I lack in artistic ability, my characters and poses don't look as good as they're supposed to.

It's lovely to see youfall off the stairs, breaking your skull in two.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
Mr V at 3:53AM, Aug. 14, 2008
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I'll go with education. Did an art class for a semester in year nine and that was the end of it. Now I just draw occasionally.

Actually… haven't drawn a proper piece of ‘art’ for… struth, five years now. I've just been drawing my little comic characters and stuff for the last four instead.

So… education. Not much formal art education at all. To be honest, it'd bore me to snores, I reckon.
Remember when you were a kid and the world held magic the grown ups never knew.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
Puff_Of_Smoke at 10:57AM, Sept. 1, 2008
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I find myself lacking in artistic ability. It usually leaves my comicspindly stick legged blobs with blobby bodies. I couldn't draw a serious webcomic because I seriously suck at drawing anything without a mustache.

I have a good-enough creativity level and I think I'm pretty educated, so the jokes usually aren't too bad… I try, at least, to make them a little thought out.
Really, I'm happy with what I've got so, 'tis all good.
I
I have a gun. It's really powerful. Especially against living things.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:55PM
Dinosaursteve at 7:03PM, Sept. 8, 2008
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Good writing is the key ingrediant to a good comic. Then you throw in a little originality, a pinch of wit, and heaping spoonful of character deveopment, and you have one tasty comic idea. mmmmm incredible comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:11PM

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