|Summer Time! Let's go to the beach!|
“What you think is your advantage could turn against you.”
Tony Taka, Rumiko Takahashi, Kantoku, Noizi Ito, Eiichiro Oda (and many more that I won’t even try to mention)…What do you think is similar among this well-known artists? Answer, they are known for their specific art styles. You know it’s a Kantoku artwork when you see a young high school girl with plaids and/or checks on her skirt. You know it’s Noizi Ito if it’s a cute petite girl with yellowish skin tone. You know its Akira Toriyama just by looking at the eyes and hair of the character. You know it’s CLAMP if it’s a slender, beautiful girl in magnificent outfit. You know it’s Tony Taka because…umh, well you get the idea…(^_^)
So why am I bringing this topic up? It’s because nobody can ever tell if an artwork is a Hokage brand of artwork, and it’s something I just realized.
Back when I was in High School, when I was at the peak of my manga-making days, I swore to develop my own art, an art style that I can call my own. Every day was a small step into nurturing my art as I practice and practice drawing. I’m happy with the result since every time I re-read my mangas now, I could tell how much effort the past me have put into each details, and it makes me happy. At the same time though, as I dwell deeper into the word of art, I knew that drawing on my comfort zone isn’t enough to make me a better artist. You see, what’s so darn great about being a solo amateur manga-artist is that you yourself are a walking studio. You have to be capable of drawing a wide range of subjects in order to create a scene every single time. “You have to be capable of drawing almost anything”. You have to be good at backgrounds because you don’t want your characters to be talking and fighting in a white void of a space. You have to be good at drawing effects or things will feel dead. You have to be capable of drawing the elements, especially fire and water. Draw animals, different plants, dentist chair, bicycle, cars, phones, a castle interior, a throne, armor, an imaginary magic machine, monsters and mythical creatures, a baseball field, a jewelry shop and many many more! Those days were my most productive and active time. You see, we don’t have a computer yet back then. I only rely on books and a short PC café visit to gain knowledge about the things I must learn. I collect those real estate property and house brokers’ leaflets in order to study houses. I stare at the sky to learn how the clouds work. I sketch a lot back then so that I could have a reference that I can use for my manga, and it was really a fun experience. But what is the connection between my past manga making life and my dilemma today? It all has something to do with the “be able to draw anything” part.
Everyone knows that my art style is supposed to be“Anime”, but I was never limited to just anime art because of my chosen career, a path that will change my perception of art forever. I entered college, and thus my art has to change for my future.
I finished college under the Advertising and Public Relations course. It never crossed my mind that I would take that course in the first place (My father said that I can be a good lawyer, but meh), but things happened as if destiny is playing tricks on me. In the end, I enjoyed the course and the many possibilities and opportunities it could offer me as an aspiring artist. As I take the course, I was exposed to many types of art applications like poster designing and of course film making. It was on those moments that forced me to go outside my anime art. I have to learn semi-realism and cartoonish style artworks in order to draw mascots, storyboards and product samples. One funny thing is that since I don’t have the resources to make posters digitally like my peers and classmates, I improvised by drawing them traditionally. Imagine a poster drawn by hand compared to a digitally printed one…good thing my professors aren’t too strict about it. As I venture into exploring different art styles for different applications, my approach in art changed. My art which is just for fun became my ticket for a future career as an advertising practitioner. I have to be capable of drawing anything in various styles and become as “flexible” as possible. If can show them that my art isn’t all anime, then I might have an advantage over the others. If you would observe my gallery, you will find a clutter of different styles and medium. I paint, I draw, I use vectors and I cut, digitally and traditionally in order to be the “All-around” artist that I have to be. I have to do so or else I won’t survive in the advertising industry. Being a “Jack of all trades” is seen as an advantage, but being a “King of none” is the problem. I don’t have a specific style that I could pinpoint as my “default style”. I thought being versatile would work on my advantage, but now my real art suffers from its influence. What’s really hard is when you have to jump from one style to another; all while keeping each style rust-free. It holds me down from mastering one art unlike those who have a specific single style where they can truly focus and hone. The only good part is that my gallery is full of various images with different styles as if you are looking into a gallery of different people in a single page. Still, I’m worried that I won’t be known for an art style with impact that will be very recognizable and will stand out from the crowd of artworks, something that would introduce me to the world. On the other hand, as long as I practice advertising, I have to master more and more art techniques in the future to be able to cope-up with the demand, even if it cost me my real art which is anime.
So what have I learned? A ninja may carry a bag of shurikens so that he won’t have a shortage of it when the battle begins…but it’s that same shuriken bag that will get him injured since he’s movement will be too slow. It’s good to have knowledge about many things, but it is much better if you can focus on what you really like. On the other hand, if the situation demands you to show more than what you can do, it won't hurt to go out of your comfort zone and test the limits of your capabilities. Just be sure that you won't compromise or even sacrifice what you like to do the most. You really do not want to make artworks just because you have to...it won't look good in the end...so don't force it.
Well, that’s what I have in mind right now. If you guys have some pieces of advice or tips for me, I’d be really glad to hear from you, any word will be a great help. If anyone has the same experience, share it! I want to know how you deal with this kind of situation, since I know a lot of artists here having multiple art styles as well. Until then, this is Hokage…will come back later…promise (^_^)
Next: Push, Tilt and Galaxy
|Artists have within them the power to create, and the responsibility to do so, in order to make this world a more wonderful place to live in. Despite many challenges and sacrifices, an artists must continue to walk this path as his/her contribution to the world. That is what being an artist is all about.|