You draw. Either for passion or because life consequences brought you to choose the artist path. You keep improving, but you rarely see it happening. Keeping a few favorite pieces of yours, you insult your own work. And you do it publicly, most of times. It makes you feel released, as if others had to know this is not the best you can do, but they just have to wait until you reach that point. You claim that you draw for your own expression, and still, it's not good enough. Unless you leave your comfort zone and draw a masterpiece every once in a few centuries. And that makes you feel like you did your best ever. Then look at it months or years later, and see how now you would hide it under a rock.
That's how it works. But now let's see how others see it. How many times you've enjoyed a piece without finding any mistakes? Unless you're a critic, basing your opinion in other existing art, you don't usually see what's wrong within a style. And if you do, it's mostly because the style is labelled under a style that is not reached yet (for example calling it realistic when the anatomy isn't correctly done). So, the point is, an artist just roasts their own art while a third person just stands there, admiring what you hate. But it doesn't end here. The further you reach, the more people you meet, the more probabilities of being seen as a "prodigy" and talented person. Under that crown, you'll encounter some of the hands placing it in your head. From art enjoyers to other artists. And these second ones are the people who follow your process, who they find your art appealing to the point of becoming better, just like you. While you are saying that you're not worth it. What are they gonna think about their own pieces, then? It's a domino effect that keeps lowering the self esteem. And anyone could say "yeah, that's not art", to someone who is starting. But let's get back to the roots of what art is.
More than ever, we're fighting for defending human creations to be art, while Artificial Intelligences only do recreations. And what's the difference between a seed used to make a new picture and a study of your favourite artist, mimicking their style as good as you can at the moment? The process, the expression, the brain behind it. Art is not only beauty. It's not the result, but the time working behind it.
Value your art:
- Time spent ≠ quality. Go at your own speed.
- Abstract art styles are not worse than realistic.
- Learning is more important than not learning.
- A piece usually represents the artist. Either by the colors, forms, techniques, or inner representations such as emotions shown in the work.
- It's not a sin to reach a style similar to another person.
So yes, it's valid to feel insecure about your creations. It happens all the time, to the best of us. And it's what keeps you improving and leaving your comfort zone, or just complaining because you don't know what to change.
Creators! There's 4 types of people, when looking at your art:
1. The Creator, yourself. You'll see what you call "mistakes", due to striving to improve.
2. The Admirer. They will support your art, and try to hype you up.
3. The Hater. They will compare you to others.
4. The One who doesn't care. They will spend 1 second looking at your creations.
Who will you choose to listen to? Actually, the four types would be important in different ways. You, of course, should listen to yourself and keep trying your best. The admirers are usually in a difficult position. Because you probably don't really listen to them since their positivism towards you clashes against your own criticism and need for improvement. The haters... needless to say, ignore them unless they are open to give honest tips and advice, if you accept them. And the last ones, it depends on the reason why you do art. If you want to impress people or just express yourself in your own way. Calling the attention of those who don't care could be helpful to reach further, but if you don't have the need, why even bother? You don't have to prove anything to anyone. In the end, those who approve your art and those who say it's not good enough are only people who criticise. And you can learn from them if it's worth it, but if you choose a lonelier path of learning, then those who love your creations without really mentioning possible changes are the best to hang out with.
In case you actually need some tips, here's how to improve your own style:
• One step at a time. Master your way form by form. If you want to draw realistic faces, for instance, don't try to go all the way to 100% realistic. Learn to draw eyes, the nose, the lips, as single forms. Simplify it as much as you need to make it your own style.
• Study from several pieces of your favourite artists, and if allowed, get tutorials.
• Add what you learn to your own style.
• For study reasons, you can outline photos, to learn forms. Don't hang on this too much, but if it helps, while learning, it's a good way to improve. Furthermore, the best idea would be drawing the form by yourself first, using a reference, then outline that reference, and see the difference between both pieces. Then merge them.
• Try different methods of lighting and shadowing.
• Try different body types, colors, and play with multiple references.
• Sometimes the tools don't allow you to reach your goals. It doesn't work the same for everyone. They say that the tools don't make the artist, but in cases like Empress Suma herself, they can help improving when you can get more freedom to work with them.
Basically, Kirby your way to your ultimate style. Which you shouldn't forget that there's a long process behind it, probably endless.
How does Empress Suma deal with the Artistic Dimorphism? Well, most of times it's not good. When it comes to choose pieces already done, to print and sell, it's really difficult for her to agree without hesitation. According to her, no one would build certain works, and she tries to improve them afterwards, probably driving her Patron, who chooses the pieces, to insanity levels. For years, she defended the need of better equipment. And the proof of it came by time. Yet this is not something that every artist needs to achieve better results. It's only a help, as for Suma, who lives with difficulties such as anxiety, patience loss and lack of concentration -between other issues-, anything that makes it easier to work with is a huge support.
- Phone, Autodesk Sketchbook, 2020
- Wacom Intuos S, Autodesk Sketchbook,2020
- Wacom Intuos S, Autodesk Sketchbook, 2022
- Xppen Artist 12, Clip Studio, 2022
- Xppen Artist 12, Clip Studio, 2023
- Huion Kamvas 20, Clip Studio, 2023
A true conversation on Discord:
Member: "By copying the art style of other artists, you can miss chances to become better than them by your own."
Empress Suma: "This is something I usually say both with hiking and with art, since (in the mountains) taking the steps of the person in front of me can end up putting myself in danger because I can't follow it. And adopting the same style as my favourite artist wouldn't do me, Empress Suma®, any good. But in the end, the person chooses the path by themselves. Because if something sells, when it comes to art, it can feel more safe to be similar to someone famous than to stay with a self style. Or if you have to work in a company, there's also certain "rules". What I mean, is that there's the two ways, and both are valid to choose by oneself. If someone (me included) wants to have a personal style, and be known for it, perfect!! It's a path you take by your own and you'll reach somewhere as well."