AuthorTopic: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?  (Read 4745 times)

Offline Melodee

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really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

on: December 29, 2017, 08:37:09 pm
hello! i decided to post this in general discussion because i am not really asking for critique, well sort of but not a specific piece. i have been pixelating for about a year, i did have a moment i saw how horrible my artwork was and it helped to improve. so yeah, now i improved, and i can see why no one ever asks me to commission them or gave any kind of reaction like a favorite on deviantart or a watch or something when i was so bad. but i really do think i improved so why is it still not happening? i did get a lot of help from others but noticed i can also do a lot on my own, i might still need a lot of critique, examples and help but.. i think my designs are honestly good, and that it could help people a lot because the hardest part for most people is thinking of something to draw and i do this without any help, and i do have some skill in coloring and shading so.. it's not that i am completely useless.

these are the reasons i can think of:

- my artwork is still horrible i just don't see it.
- since i still didn't delete my old artwork people avoid my page.
- it's just difficult to get known.

i really want to know so i can do something about it. if you can think of anything else than these reasons i would like to know :( please help!

here is my deviantart page:
https://beardedgrandma.deviantart.com/

Offline Kizu

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 10:33:02 pm
Well, just improve your art to the point of being commissioned :>

Offline RAV

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 08:40:30 am
You need to learn about dramaturgy.


I would actually recommend this as an exercise to that:
Take whatever ordinary object in your room and try to draw it in an interesting way, from an unusual angle, with an unusual light.


Practice with setting ordinary objects into unusual situations. Draw an apple on a sky scraper. Maybe the apple is thinking about jumping off!

Draw an apple that slices itself into pieces with a knife, while an orange looks at it in horror.

You could have a pine apple slowly crush an apple to mush in lustful vengeance.

Have the apple shoot at a bunch of onions by spitting its apple seeds on them.

Have the apple flay the skin of a live banana while it cries in agony.

Have the apple stand proud ontop a pile of broken carrot corpses.

But also try work with more subtle suggestion of drama.


Right now, your pieces are too naive, than to be more interesting to a larger audience. I'm afraid they lack the murderous intent of a normal human being.

We are looking full front on just puppets standing there with a blank stare. They have no posture or otherwise expressive quality, to kill innocent fruit.

You can make them pretty all you want, you can refine your art techniques, nothing will really help, but bloody murder. Well, besides rape.

Possibly, make the apple rape a little cherry in a glass bowl, while other fruits are watching and laughing.

Or just dress up an apple and put a wig on it, while jumping into a fruit cake.


But these are just my personal preferences. Remember, there is all kinds of drama.

Once you are well practiced with dramatic scenery, your audience should increase.

You may use your popularity to increase awareness about a healthy diet.

This way you can shut up the jealous people. No jelly for them.



« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 08:53:53 am by RAV »

Offline Melodee

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 11:30:42 am
You need to learn about dramaturgy.


I would actually recommend this as an exercise to that:
Take whatever ordinary object in your room and try to draw it in an interesting way, from an unusual angle, with an unusual light.


Practice with setting ordinary objects into unusual situations. Draw an apple on a sky scraper. Maybe the apple is thinking about jumping off!

Draw an apple that slices itself into pieces with a knife, while an orange looks at it in horror.

You could have a pine apple slowly crush an apple to mush in lustful vengeance.

Have the apple shoot at a bunch of onions by spitting its apple seeds on them.

Have the apple flay the skin of a live banana while it cries in agony.

Have the apple stand proud ontop a pile of broken carrot corpses.

But also try work with more subtle suggestion of drama.


Right now, your pieces are too naive, than to be more interesting to a larger audience. I'm afraid they lack the murderous intent of a normal human being.

We are looking full front on just puppets standing there with a blank stare. They have no posture or otherwise expressive quality, to kill innocent fruit.

You can make them pretty all you want, you can refine your art techniques, nothing will really help, but bloody murder. Well, besides rape.

Possibly, make the apple rape a little cherry in a glass bowl, while other fruits are watching and laughing.

Or just dress up an apple and put a wig on it, while jumping into a fruit cake.


But these are just my personal preferences. Remember, there is all kinds of drama.

Once you are well practiced with dramatic scenery, your audience should increase.

You may use your popularity to increase awareness about a healthy diet.

This way you can shut up the jealous people. No jelly for them.

hmm yes i kind of see what you mean but not exactly. the reason i make them all on the same pose and have a blank stare is because it's basically just a design for other people to do something with. i didn't feel "ready" yet to animate them. but what else i understand is to create some kind of meaning behind them to make it less boring. tbh i am not really good in those stuff XDD but i don't think it's really necessary. like, i saw a lot of people who basically made a character in halloween clothes and got a lot of favs. it might make the artwork more interesting indeed, i really agree with that. because when i am looking at artwork i prefer to see something unusual than something we've seen too often. anyway, i still am not quite sure what the reason could be but i am happy you took the effort to reply!

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 01:22:47 pm
no, i'd say new poses and angles are VERY neccesary. it helps build understanding of everything from visualizing in 3d space to just understanding the details of something.

put in the effort! it can be intimidating at first but once you settle into a routine practice session (try to go for it at a bi-daily time for a month) it starts to click and get gradually less of a chore as time goes on. youll even start anticipating drawing new things!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
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Offline Melodee

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #5 on: December 30, 2017, 01:27:08 pm
no, i'd say new poses and angles are VERY neccesary. it helps build understanding of everything from visualizing in 3d space to just understanding the details of something.

put in the effort! it can be intimidating at first but once you settle into a routine practice session (try to go for it at a bi-daily time for a month) it starts to click and get gradually less of a chore as time goes on. youll even start anticipating drawing new things!

i wasn't saying this wasn't necessary!! my point was that making the image more unusual isn't really necessary for getting more people to commission you, because i saw plenty of people that made things that you see very often :lol:

edit: i also made different angles for some of the creatures i posted, just didn't place it in my portfolio. but poses/animations i haven't tried yet. also i think i am going to take the step but i am not sure if i should focus on making my artwork itself better first.

another edit: im working on this now, i only did the arms yet.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 02:33:51 pm by Melodee »

Offline eishiya

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #6 on: December 30, 2017, 06:15:03 pm
The artworks that are good for helping you improve are always not the same ones that help you get commissions. You need to do both. At this point, I'd lean towards doing the ones that help you improve, as getting better will help you make your portfolio works much better.

Plus, being able to do a wider variety of work makes it easier to get commissions. Characters blandly standing around appeals to a certain moneyed niche, but why limit yourself to that niche?

Offline Ai

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 01:19:04 pm
To add to Eishiya's good advice:
Practicing poses and dramatization is best done in a traditional medium. If you are trying to arrange pixels, that's a technical concern that's a major distraction from the drama. IME it's really good to get to the point where you can churn out 20 poses in 20 minutes -- then you begin with a selection of options and can arrive at a more informed opinion about what is appealing for a particular piece.

If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline hawken

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 09:20:24 am
This might be an unpopular view in the "west" but people over here in the "east" copy stuff they like until they get good.

Copying for your own practice can go a long long way, then you can start to riff your own style from that. (just never pass it off as your own on the internet or you will be crucified)

I guess the most acceptable way of doing this is fan-art.

Mix it in with sketching practice, and a good repertoire of poses (comics are good), some colour theory and juxtaposition - you'll be up and running with your own refined style in no time.

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Offline EduardoH

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 03:00:06 pm
This might be an unpopular view in the "west" but people over here in the "east" copy stuff they like until they get good.

Copying for your own practice can go a long long way, then you can start to riff your own style from that. (just never pass it off as your own on the internet or you will be crucified)


This is exactly what you should do. That's what people have always done in arts. It circumvents having to think of an idea and goes straight to the grunt work and practicing.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 10:41:05 am by EduardoH »

Offline RAV

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Re: really what's so bad about my pixel artwork?

Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 11:05:07 pm
Why not practice both? Because I believe that your own free creativity benefits from nurturing too.
And what are we discussing here? Simply practicing some particular execution, or how to produce something that may interest a greater audience.
Because I doubt that simply making the x-th carbon copy of an existing artwork is that much of an interest to others. This assertion is independent from any moral whining.

And so, though I do think that it really is helpful for your own creativity to enrich yourself with practicing closely to how the world looks and others see it.
I would also say you don't have to first spend years copying others until you have attained the skills for "daring" your "own" stuff.
I also don't believe that practicing your own stuff means hours of heavy-handed thinking beforehand.
Just go ahead and throw down whatever weird shit is spooking through your head.


Another thing I will mention here, since we have often discussed the importance of fundamentals, is that the interest of dramaturgy exceeds any particlar form of art.
You can go so far as thinking that any particular form of human expression, be it visual arts or music or poetry, is just a matter of technical execution itself.
You can have a writer describe a situation, have an artist translate that into visuals, and have a musician translate that into audio.
It doesn't mean at all that every visual has to start with words, or every music with visuals,
but it does go to show that all these forms of expression describe something so deeply fundamental,
that it even beats the fundamentals of a particular form of expression.
They all kinda say the same thing, but by different means for impact.
And if we are to practice fundamentals, well.. you might as well go all the way.
You can even argue, your art skills will grow for free, from practicing that.

I have seen people with zero art skills, produce more interesting things than "well practiced" ones, simply by having a much better grasp of dramaturgy overall.
Though it of course is incredibly important to also understand the particulars of how drama is expressed in a specific form of communication.
Since I am not an artist, I never practice art at all. Once a year I may "draw" something that apparently warrants a couple hundred views, for what that's worth.

It's not that big of a deal. though anyone who's tried creating things for an audience, knows how difficult it is just having one hundred people look at it.
I also noticed that the piece that got by far the most views with over a thousand, was the one that had the most firm "dramatic" visual "story" of it.
And that although I made the very least effort to promote it, not that I have ever put much effort into that.
You certainly don't go to PJ or Pixalation with the goal of becoming popular these days, lol.


I know so many pieces of work that I admire, but that sadly do not find the audience it would deseserve by standard of my own preferences.
And there is plenty popularities I will never understand for the very life of me. But that's okay. People have fun.
Now having an audience taking interest in your work, is nothing that warrants particular pride, nor shame, in my opinion.
It either happens or not. Maybe you are lucky or not. And then your livelihood either depends on it or not.
So maybe you'll have to find strategies of turning things more into your favour when it matters for you.

For the sake of discussion and demonstration of the issue, let's examine my most "successful" non-art coder-art shenanigan bullshit.



I made this in no more than 15 minutes. It may be the piece I put the least actual effort into, of all the pieces that were by any measure substansive at all.
The idea for this simply popped into mind, and I wanted to see, just how I could ridiculously cheap my way through constructing that crap.
And I am absolutely sure you could vastly improve on that same scene with your awesome art skill that I very much admire.

So what exactly then could it have been that made this my most "popular" demo video, even though it was the least one popularized?
Maybe it was on some level technically interesting, but I made more technical show cases in the past with much less views, if we go by that measure.
But either way, you will often notice, even with art, that a greater artistic vision, or just mere technicality, either way is often not enough on its own.
As a technician, you have an interest to spice your showreel up with something approximately artistic,
and as an artist it won't hurt seeing your art in an also technically accomplished context.

We can go through the particulars in which I tried to implement some sense of dramatic story in that scene.
The general idea behind Castle Garden was "Save Space". It is a very idyllic place on first glimpse.
But as you enter, you also notice that cobble stone with a magically glowing inscription.
And the way it glows, there is something cool about it, but also kinda unsettling.
As if maybe it could be a warning. Maybe, who knows. You can't read it.
It's in a language you don't understand.

You do see swaying grass, flowers and some bussing bees.
A strange little pond in the middle, funny waters.
Things also look well maintained, and clean.
Maybe a little too artificial.
And some cracks.

Well, until you notice the little "sub-spaces" up in the thick wall surrounding everything.
Looks like .. cages? but they are broken. And there is something in it. You see glowing eyes.
Now somehow the expression you don't quite like. Doesn't look so nice.
and since the cages look broken, there is a creepy sense of emergency rising.
You have to make it through that lovely garden, but you never know what jumps out from the walls.
Will you make it out? Looking up to the blue sky, the sort of rooftop looks strange.
It doesn't actually look like a rooftop that would protect you from bad weather.
Rather it looks like an interesting obstruction of the blue sky.
What is this garden? a cage itself?

Anyway, at the end, I guess the destruction is kinda technical again.
But you know, you may as well fuck this creepy place up on your way out.
It also shows that mere technicality can be used for dramatic/artistic effect.
Another example is my usual use of zooming in on little details to paint even smaller details on it.
It's a very cheap way to provoke some stupid sense of "woah" here and there.
Some sort of reliable running gag I build in, because this is something I got going for me.

You do need some kind of flavour or premise for your work.
It's not necessarily about how damn deep this shit is. It's not a big deal.
It's a common idea good enough to drive that scene, even at a low level of execution.
In a way you might say, what I did practice was trying to visualize a higher concept of life.
In such a way that maybe has a subtle visual impact on a somewhat emotional level and stuff.

I have nothing else going for me as an artist, so I might as well try being a little clever.
That's something you'll notice about a lot of my work, that in many ways it's rather ordinary,
but in another sense makes do by being a wee little clever in its own little way.
What else can I do? Certainly not simply drawing beautiful, lol.

Now you can go ahead practice just copying what you see. That's meaningless. This scene is way too basic.
Even though I believe it was on some level interesting to look at, it's not any worth literally copying as such.
But what could be worth practicing in this case, is taking this scene and trying to improve it, in all kinds of particular ways you come up with,
Maybe as an inspired mesh from a dozen other sources, that you uniquely compose in your own way. Or just set it in a different context.

What may be worth is studying the very general concepts and composition of this scene. If there is anything interesting about that, what would that be?
How exactly did I visually implement this idea of dramaturgy, though that is not to say anything about the idea and execution is particularly unique as such.
If there is anything interesting about that video, how did a zero art skill coder manage to produce anything of visual interest at all, flawed as it may be?

You should work on both, your abstract conceptual understanding of things and the very particular feel-feels and touchy-touchs of what you are doing.
In that I expect you to become a wholesome human being with a developed brain as much as developed heart. For whatever it is you do.
As much as I expect you to develop an eye for the kind beauty of life as well as the vicious cruelty of it, that both must be laid bare and processed in art.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 11:26:07 pm by RAV »