AuthorTopic: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.  (Read 8747 times)

Offline RAV

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #10 on: February 15, 2016, 07:55:14 pm
I think that there is a creative depth unique to pixel art that often manifests as a "style", that means a very dedicated use of technique, focusing on a special visual ruleset. I noticed that in some art circles, style has an almost negative connotation; that it would lock you down and hamper your artistic growth. You are supposed to prove your skills in doing proper anatomy, perspective, lights, etc, and transfer from there. Doing it differently is almost synonym with cheaping out on the art. But I noticed often a creative brilliance in specialized style experimentation, and even though someone would think of it easy at first, when tried to emulate, it somehow misses that creative brilliance that made the first one work, what made the most out of it, and how it transfers itself across many situations. That maybe its inventive depth was underestimated. That maybe your generalist knowledge too can be a cognitive burden that locks down your kind of creativity.

There is a difference in understanding the basic rules of execution, and being very experienced and passionate with it. The difference may seem small at first, but often it's the last 10% of perfection that are the toughest, longest to learn, and make or break it. Style can end up being its own grounds of study, besides more general art knowledge, and you noticed who's been most into what. And I think that pixel art at large already can be seen as such style of art. That you see if someone really wanted to paint, but applied the bare necessity to make it pass as pixel art, or if someone's been really into pixel art through and through, with the understanding of general art and pixel art having grown into one organic unity not quite so easily divisible or imitable anymore.

I wouldn't say any of the recommendations are wrong so far. I think you need to see what kind of creativity you enjoy yourself most playing with, that really decides your own balance. What keeps you engaged in regularly doing art? that's most important. But I do also think that a professional freelance artist for hire needs to be more general and adaptive. And the strong synergies growing from a broader understanding and exercise of art can be very powerful and most impressive indeed.


« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 07:59:32 pm by RAV »

Offline Gil

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #11 on: February 15, 2016, 10:41:09 pm
I noticed that in some art circles, style has an almost negative connotation; that it would lock you down and hamper your artistic growth. You are supposed to prove your skills in doing proper anatomy, perspective, lights, etc, and transfer from there. Doing it differently is almost synonym with cheaping out on the art.
I pretty much think that yes. Studying in a certain style (retro pixel style, manga style, comic style) without knowing your fundamentals is always going to result in mediocre art. There's a ceiling to how much you can learn about anatomy by studying manga comics. You study anatomy, perspective, lighting, etc and then you'll notice your retro pixels, your manga will be better afterwards. Neglecting fundamentals and studying a style in-depth, like you suggest, is going to result in mediocre art (not bad per se, just has a ceiling).

I wouldn't say any of the recommendations are wrong so far. I think you need to see what kind of creativity you enjoy yourself most playing with, that really decides your own balance.
Enjoying yourself is important, but some pain is to be expected. If you go to the gym to have fun, you probably won't get anywhere either. "Training doesn't make perfect, perfect training makes perfect". If your art practice is just for fun, focused on a certain style and just something you do once a month, you can study for years and years and not see a lot of progress. I'm not saying my way is THE way, by the way, you might discover better training techniques, but you need to read books on this stuff, look for the good teachers, emulate how they're doing it, ask others for critique, try to compare older and newer work, etc.

Offline RAV

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #12 on: February 15, 2016, 11:53:35 pm
Hrrm. I'm not sure I really suggest neglecting fundamentals when I mention the merit of style study. But while there is a ceiling to what you can learn about anatomy in manga, there's a ceiling to what you can learn about the flow of gesture and impact of action in anatomy study. And maybe an insistence on correct anatomy even takes away from the flow of action. Styles, in their strength and weakness, were often developed for a good reason. In their specialization, you don't learn everything, but you often do learn something, some fundamental, especially well, and communicate it very satisfying in its emphasis. Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art. And maybe a 10% exercise of anatomy is all you need to make the best out of your 90% manga. Pain is to be expected, but fun is important. And I think the fun comes out of finding a work that fits your character, an enjoyment that has you forget some of the pain, likely to keep you on it more than once a month. And that this is positively visible in whatever work you do.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 12:10:21 am by RAV »

Offline Gil

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #13 on: February 16, 2016, 12:14:27 am
Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art.
Just a small correction, I never said that manga is mediocre. I'm just saying that good manga artists have good fundamentals first :)

Offline Ai

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #14 on: February 16, 2016, 12:15:21 am
I pretty much think that yes. Studying in a certain style (retro pixel style, manga style, comic style) without knowing your fundamentals is always going to result in mediocre art.
I think this could stand to be expanded slightly: studying art can be good for learning methods / techniques of representating X (whatever you are studying). Whether you can put those methods to good use, judge which are good and bad, and adapt them, is limited by your understanding of fundamentals.

Quote
Enjoying yourself is important, but some pain is to be expected. If you go to the gym to have fun, you probably won't get anywhere either. "Training doesn't make perfect, perfect training makes perfect". If your art practice is just for fun, focused on a certain style and just something you do once a month, you can study for years and years and not see a lot of progress.
Strongly agree. I think learning to enjoy training is the way to go, which might seem like a pipe dream to some I guess.. Training is always hard work IME, but you can adjust your focus and the context of the training to make it easier to approach. (for example, being able to log that I did X amount of work on Y subject is helpful to me. Particularly in a continuous log/journal, so that it's possible to tune your expectations to be reasonable but challenging over time)

While there is a ceiling to what you can learn about anatomy in manga, there's a ceiling to what you can learn about the flow of gesture and impact of action in anatomy study. And maybe an insistence on correct anatomy may even take away from the flow of action.
I don't.. quite agree with this? Gesture is its own area of -- not exactly realist, but reality-focused -- study. Personally, what studying cartoons did for my gestures was reinforce that the gestures are ideas that don't have to strictly match reality, and in fact are often better off exaggerated.
I think this is the kind of understanding where you need to go back and forth --- understand real anatomy, and then look at how artists represent it -- to really get it. And do practical exercises to stretch the methods you think you've picked up until they break, so you can try to tell if you picked up something actually good or not.
If you are not going back and forth, then IMO you are probably not getting the most valuable thing you can get from art study, which is understanding of how the artist is thinking about - deconstructing and eliding and exaggerating and appending to - the subject.
IMO that is what best allows another artist to deconstruct the style and repurpose it effectively.

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Maybe it doesn't actually make sense to evaluate a manga for correct anatomy, and thus call it mediocre art.
I specifically disagree with this. Manga, like cartooning, has a strong relation to typography or graphic design, in that it's quite evident that 'characters' are.. well.. constructed from a collection of 'characters' (more-or-less-binary design elements); there is often no real attempt to hide this. That's fine, and manga -doesn't- have to be realist... but it is nonetheless evident if an artist doesn't understand anatomy, from how they place and size these design elements.. and at least IME, this does impact how expressive they can be in communicating the story.

EDIT: while I was writing that, it seems Gil has said basically the same thing.. :)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 12:22:25 am by Ai »
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Offline Gil

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #15 on: February 16, 2016, 12:32:29 am
I was going to reply to everything, but Ai just did a better job than I could :)

Offline RAV

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #16 on: February 16, 2016, 12:47:46 am
Hrrrm. Again, I'm not arguing there is no value in fundamentals, and that you shouldn't do what you said. But I do think there is a greater variety in emphasis viable than has been suggested. For example, is the only way to understand anatomy fairly enough for the purpose of a convincing manga by training 90% anatomy and 10% manga? How much of that is actually beneficial without getting in the way of a manga's better purpose? You see, to me at least, since a manga is not about correct anatomy, evaluating it in that is like evaluating a spoon in how well it cuts bread. Of course you can do that, but how much sense does that really make. And what if the gesture training is already sufficiently inherent to sketching manga. But well, even though I felt like testing some points on this issue, there is a limit how far I can argue about these things with you, since I do very little actual art. So I'm at a point, I'm not comfortable giving advice on the matter.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #17 on: February 16, 2016, 12:53:58 am
And maybe a 10% exercise of anatomy is all you need to make the best out of your 90% manga. Pain is to be expected, but fun is important. And I think the fun comes out of finding a work that fits your character, an enjoyment that has you forget some of the pain, likely to keep you on it more than once a month. And that this is positively visible in whatever work you do.

Fun is important, do what you like.
But good stylization or a well designed "style", requires a very good grasp on realism and what gets stylized, then just studying a style.

If you study a style without knowing why the style came together the way it is and what exactly got stylized, you maybe will produce ok art for that style.
But you can only transcend it and make it your own if you really understood how that style was "designed".

Manga in it's truest form is a stylization of reality, same applies to pixelart.
Manga can be drawn with just aligning symbols. Pixelart can be drawn by just putting down pixels.
a lot of people who ar ehobbyists handle it this way.

If you want to be professional or "a professional result", you have to know how to draw realism and the fundamentals of art.
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Offline RAV

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #18 on: February 16, 2016, 01:39:38 am
What you guys say makes sense of course. I'm still wondering about those exact proportions in the training to accomplish that for your target art style. And how much an artist's experience must derive from a deconstructed reality, how much can from a feedback loop of a style's inspired interpretations. Does an artist's understanding of the style only root in his own reality, or as much within that of others? Is all an art's worthwhile originality and progress based on only researched reality, or also on an inspired mesh of other interpretations, including self-inspired, that its own system logic bears as much creative potential as reality itself? I especially wonder about pixel art.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 01:49:55 am by RAV »

Offline Gil

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Re: finding a balance, and where pixel art stands.

Reply #19 on: February 16, 2016, 01:51:04 am
RAV, fundamentals is all about creating a language in which you can communicate. You can probably express deep emotions using just a basic grasp of English, but I think mostly, you're going to write shitty poems if you don't grasp the language. It's the same with art. Fundamentals build the language, style is how you use it.

Concrete example: someone with bad fundamentals looks at a manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, they represent the mouth with just a single line, and the eyes are big, I can do that!"

Someone with good fundamentals looks at a good manga drawing and thinks: "hmm, there's a small indentation in the line that represents the contour of the thigh. That's because the quadriceps wraps around there. That's a clever way to symbolize that muscle. How would that work from other directions? I'll study all the manga legs I can find."