I am having sort of a problem lately. I work for a small game studio, and I do a lot of pitch work. I notice that my painting style seems to be a problem for some of the pitches that I do. I have no problem drawing in different styles, but I seem to have hit a wall when it comes to my actual painting. I have a very cartoony painting "style" and I really, really want to grow and expand my skill set.
I plan on working really hard to rectify this, and was hoping that some of you might be able to help me. How would you go about learning or adapting a new style? Resources, advice, anything. I really dislike when I feel my art is off and it will gnaw at me until I make some progress.
A link to my art can be found here.
Changing style is basically choosing different frosting.
What you need to do is know how to bake a better cake, ie know your foundations. If you know how to make a good cake, and know what's needed for different cakes, you can add or not add frosting and change the ingredients as necessary.
Basically you are looking at this question the wrong way because you're worried about the frosting and not knowing if you have the ingredients to bake a good cake.
you've basically answered your own question. It's the skill you've got to focus on, not style, as Arshes said.grow and expand my skill set.
Study the fundamentals, they're easily (and often) underestimated and underrated.
I believe that once you've got a hang of the basics, switching between different "styles" (aka frostings) will be very easy.
(edit: but your "style" will come naturally anyway)
Last edited by Maidith; May 4th, 2012 at 03:16 PM.
It's a good question really, especially since you're asking from a place where you're aware something isn't working and you want to grow. I have a very similar issue...my "style" has a certain look to it that is a bit on the cartoony "friendly" side I would say (but that is just characters - vehicles, enviros, weapons, etc. aren't an issue). It can be limiting.
Basically one option is to design/pitch to your strengths and embrace your "style".
Another option is to really push to overcome your tendencies and develop the ability to work in a grittier, more photo-real, whatever style is appropriate for the pitch (which sounds like what you're doing).
A third alternative is to team up with someone else on the art team that has a different style and work with them. If you have the budget you can also outsource to a contractor that does exactly what you're after.
You'll likely find you do some things well, like environments, weapons, vehicles and in an appropriate style...while characters may be handled better by someone else. It's all teamwork anyway so take advantage of that.
Keep in mind not everyone has the right style, or ability to be a chameleon and hit all kinds of looks. Syd Mead would be a poor choice for certain things just as Frazetta would have been for others.
Edit: Meant to add practical advice. I would suggest working in a completely different medium or approach than you normally do if you want to change it up. Try going digital if you usually develop traditional stuff, and vice versa. You can try photo-collage just to get the feel of the project across. You can rely on "mood" boards (always hated that neam but it's what they're called - I prefer "style" boards) that are general reference for a period, costumes, architecture, technology, etc. Anyway, hte biggest hurdle is behind you, that is the awareness...now you just have to work to make it happen the way you want.
Last edited by JeffX99; May 4th, 2012 at 03:13 PM.
Thanks, everyone, for the feedback.
I will do my best to expand my mental library. I might start doing some more studies. I have recently been attempting to do daily environment studies (quick ones) as I am rather weak at them.
If I want to get away from too much cartoony look, maybe going for a more textured, photo real look might be a good way to start, at least initially. Ultimately my plan is to just paint and study a lot. I was divying up some of my time to learn 3D, but the experience has made me want to redouble my efforts on my 2d. It being my focus.
Additional practical ideas:
If you draw with a lot of curves, switch it up and draw/design forms initially with just straight lines.
If you draw with pencil and marker - switch it up to just using fine point sharpies.
Basically the more you experiment and shift out of your normal approach the more variety you can bring to the table.
BACK TO WORK!! that pitch won't finish itself
One of the the things that I do to "upgrade" my style is to study paintings of other artists' whose style that I admire. When studying the paintings, I literally dissect it. I take a look at how the strokes are placed (foreground, middle ground, background) and how the strokes/colors/values, etc are used to simulate different conditions.
Once I think that I've figured out how they did it, I paint their painting trying to mimic their style. Once I've gotten that down, I take a look at my own style and see what parts of their style I can incorporate into my style.
So, in the end, my style ends up a collage of various artists that I admire and I don't end up as a copy of those artists.
I agree with Doug, doing studies of another artist's work might be useful here. Master studies are always good for that, seeing how they painted, why they put that stroke there, etc. Do some more studies from life too I think, sit down and do some still lifes, and try get them as realistic as possible.
Another thing would be get someone to do a paintover for you on a livestream. Dave and Dan have really helped some people with the same problem in the past, I don't know how much time they have for crits now though.