Am I Too Preoccupied With Being Creative?

Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Artist's Corner
I'm an art student, and I've developed a strange problem within the past few months: I've become preoccupied with making something unique to the point that it's hindering my enjoyment of drawing.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

I sit down to draw. What am I going to draw? Maybe a barbarian? Thousands of artists have drawn barbarians. What could I do to make a barbarian unique? Umm...Ben Franklin as a barbarian? No, that's just stupid... Maybe a jester girl? Okay, that seems okay... here we are! Her hat looks nice and interesting...wait a minute, that's the same kind of hat that the boss of Oracle of Ages wears! Shit, I thought I had come up with something original!

This sort of thing is happening all the time with me now. I know artists don't necessarily come up with new things all the time: using barbarians as an example, all kinds of games have barbarians in them, which means that many, many concept artists have drawn them before. However, I still don't like the idea that everything I draw is essentially a retread of a tired old idea.

I know this seems silly, but does anyone have any ideas on how I can put all this into better perspective? I've been drawing for a long time now, and I don't want to lose interest in art because of something like this (especially since I'm about to be a Junior at an art school!).

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Posts

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    well this thread is gonna get locked cause you didn't read the rules. POST SOME ART and it will stay open.
    show us that barbarian/jester.

    but yes. You are over thinking things. Sure there's the content to consider, but there's also, media and execution, including style. I mean you could execute a barbarian in a jester hat in comic style, hyper realism, oils, acrylic. Is there a background? is this just a cool image or are you trying to say something. If you are trying to say something, is it something personal? Political? spiritual? etc.

    If you're just trying to draw an image that has never been done in any way shape or form....well why? I think style trumps content. I think if you're just trying to draw a cool image, the emphasis has to be on style. If you're trying to say something more, i think content is as important as style.

    I don't know if this makes any sense...it prob doesn't.

    NakedZergling on
  • VeritasVeritas Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Well, I don't have a good answer for you, considering almost everything I do has been done before and it doesn't bother me much, but you could try creating a story to design your character instead of creating characters from pre-concieved ideas like jester or barbarian.

    Think of scenarios or events and try to fit a character to those events instead of just making a character to be visually unique but conceptually the same.

    Veritas on
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Veritas wrote: »
    Well, I don't have a good answer for you, considering almost everything I do has been done before and it doesn't bother me much, but you could try creating a story to design your character instead of creating characters from pre-concieved ideas like jester or barbarian.

    Think of scenarios or events and try to fit a character to those events instead of just making a character to be visually unique but conceptually the same.

    That's a good idea. I just drew something with that advice in mind. Give me a second to scan, upload, and post it.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Alright, I came up with a short scenario: A WWII German nurse in training who has a crush on a SS member. This is just a dirty sketch I came up with in a few minutes, but I do think the advice to make a story behind a drawing and not just focusing on content is very helpful.

    BTW, please don't think I'm a Nazi lover or something! I just read "The Most Evil Secret Societies in History", learned of ODESSA, and have had Nazis on the brain for a while.

    SSCrushSketch.jpg?t=1218339850

    EDIT: I just realized that the way her dress is folding makes zero sense.

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  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Hexmage I scanned in some photos my grandfather (an MP after WWII in France and Germany) traded cigarettes for. I just mention this because this is one of the photos:
    German5.jpg
    Your drawing made me think of it. I don't know anything about the people but by the way she's putting that beer away that nurse has to be German.

    Anyways, I always try not to actually focus on the creative process. I just do things freely and end up with alot of crappy photographs. Sometimes though I get some great shots and some of those are ones that I didn't even think about or plan out in any way.

    Gafoto on
    sierracrest.jpg
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited August 2008
    If you focus on your skills, Some trends will probably become apparent. You sholdn't worry about being crazy original, just being the best you can be and doing art that you like/thats important to you. Making art personal to you really can add alot, its motivating and it will give you interesting subject matter even if it manifests itself in strange ways.

    Gafoto thats a sweet photo.

    Iruka on
  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Bad artists copy. Great artists steal." -- Pablo Picasso

    Just don't be this guy.

    Everything has been done before. If you like something, whether it's a style, subject, anything...take it, experiment with it and make it your own. While coming up with something original is good, originality can(and pretty much always is) somehow pulled/twisted/derived etc from something you've already seen...it's just the way it works.

    I'm not saying don't be original. I'm just saying if you want to draw a barbarian or a jester, draw a barbarian or a jester. Batman is the highest grossing film right now...if they'd just went "Man, someone already made batman. This sucks." that wouldn't have happened. Make that Barbarian your bitch :-P....uh, I mean...yeah...

    Thylacine on
  • jibjibjibjib Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Generally, the problem you are talking about only comes up before you develop your own style. After that, you could draw a rock or a stick, and it can be interesting and original based on the way you draw it.

    example:Notice how Malcolm Liepke paints an interesting image of a woman...staring

    or how Mattias Adolfsson can draw a big tree in such a fascinating way.

    Interesting or funny content helps, but I view it as a cherry to be placed atop a well-developed style.

    jibjib on
  • Big Luke NastyBig Luke Nasty Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You might also check out Wakkawa on this forum. Very nearly all he ever draws is girls, and we've all seen girl a million times, but every single one of his is awesome, original, and awesome.

    Big Luke Nasty on
    rawr
  • pineconeboypineconeboy Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Iruka wrote: »
    Gafoto thats a sweet photo.

    I had to read this three times before I realized it didn't say "sweet potato." o_O

    Anyways, if you're constantly worrying that you're retreading ground that has been thoroughly trodden by others, maybe you need to widen your experiences? The art you draw isn't going to come from some magic well of creativeness from which your ideas just spring fully-formed, like Athena from Zeus's head. They're going to come from what's already in your brain; your influences and life experiences. If your frame of reference for drawing barbarians, for example, comes mainly from other people's drawings of barbarians, then yours are probably going to feel derivative no matter what you do. But if you go out and research Norse mythology or wherever the standard Barbarian concept actually comes from you might find yourself coming up with a different take on it than what other people have done.

    Basically, what I'm suggesting is to get as much experience outside the art world as possible. I am not an artist myself but as a writer this has undeniable merit. One of the reasons I hate most anime art, especially the more recent stuff, is the fact that it all looks like the artists' main influences were other anime artists, creating a genre that has become gradually more stylized and insular and interbred to the point of losing all contact with reality.

    Perhaps not so much for characters, but nature is always a good thing to look at. When you see some of the crazy shit that real insects actually do, it's not hard to see where they got the concept for the Aliens (from the movie series bearing that name). :)

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  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    That sketch you posted.. is not really a "scenario". There is no discernible narrative going on there, just two disjointed character drawings that seem tangentially related at best.

    As a general rule I think if you're spending more time thinking about what to make instead of making it something is wrong.

    There is so much more that goes into making a picture than the actual objective subject matter that it really isn't worth wasting your time over. The whole common art school attitude that you have to do something totally unique or your art is worthless is bullshit too.

    You can take the most trite and overdone subject you can imagine, and if done in a novel or exciting way it can still be fresh and interesting. Composition, narrative, color, style, design, and a billion other factors are part of what makes a picture interesting, not just "what it is". Think about the human body, possibly the most commonly studied subject in art. There are an infinite number of ways to explore that subject, and the example of Wakkawa is great because he draws a lot of scanty or naked women, and yet his stuff is always super fresh and awesome because he has fantastic color and design sense.

    Scosglen on
  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    edited August 2008
    In the future, please put questions of this nature in the appropriate questions thread that has been stickied at the top of this forum.

    Grifter on
This discussion has been closed.