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Submitted on
November 19, 2011


38 (who?)
In my never-ending crusade to prove to Deviantart users that 99% of them are illustrators and that it's a legitimate form of art, I thought I would share this cool article.  The blog Muddy Colors is an excellent resource for any illustrator, professional or aspiring or hobbyist, and this is a particularly insightful entry from one of my favourite illustrators, Petar Meseldzija on the topic of making emotionally charged work.  Scroll down to the bottom of the entry and this is part I of II so stay posted!…

My own commentary as it relates to deviantart:  We can get a little short-sighted here.  I've been thinking a lot about this recently because I've been looking at some of those "draw this again!" memes and, while it's really inspiring to see so much improvement in technique, there are very few entries which change anything about the drawing (the pose, the scenario, the background, the emotion, basically) to better suit any message.  We spend a lot of time here doing character sheets, practicing different poses with the same characters, doing endless headshots, and generally not really challenging ourselves.  I'm being critical, I know, but I'm saying this having absolutely gone through the same stuff, look through my scraps if you're in for some ocular punishment.  

Sometime last year, when Bryan Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim creator) was still on deviantart, he posted a journal with one of his tweets which said something along the lines of "stop spending so much time obsessing about your character designs and draw some pages!"  Needless to say, people freaked out and attacked him and, coincidence or not, he left a few days later.

Okay that was a lot of shit to stir what I'm saying is that I think we get really freaked out about the idea of the BIG IDEA.  We have to have a BIG IDEA to justify making a "finished" illustration.  But we don't.  All you need is an emotion, and I happen to think that that's the most worthy thing a person could try to express in art.  It's not cynical or political or subjective (Damien Hirst, I'm looking at you!) and it comes a lot more easily as well.

That got out of hand, all I really wanted to do was share a funky link.  Apparently I just can't help myself.
  • Mood: Content
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Rowkey Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I was actually AT Meseldzija's presentation, and I was most definitely sitting there with tears in my eyes. Easily one of the most moving experiences of my life, and I wish all aspiring artists had access to it. Suffice to say, I'm extremely excited to find the time to incorporate emotion and feeling into my art again. I feel like a combination of Deviantart in my youth and academia now has drained that aspect of my work quite a bit.

Thanks for spreading that article around a bit more- it deserves to be!
toerning Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2011
daaaaamn jealous! It seems like this is a subject that extends past a lecture for you, and I'm really glad that you had this burst of inspiration to make work that's important to you!

Thanks for reading!
eve-bolt Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2011
Very interesting read, much to think about here. Thanks for sharing :)
noriko-kikhio Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey awesome! Thank-you so much for sharing :D
BoxOfWonders Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011
i see no issue if someone has chosen to spend his or her talents creating various designs for characters or places without actually applying them in a solid concept. imagination and creation can be a focal point. but a lot of the time that's not just whats going on. i do understand that the community as a whole spends some time patting each other on the backs for a pretty face or body or clothes; without efforts to raising any other feelings than those aesthetic.

"this is a fantastic character no doubt; perhaps you could have her/him doing a task, or displaying an emotion?"
JasonTormos Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011   Digital Artist
very well put,i'm guilty as charged you'll definitely see more finished work soon.
Kaminosai Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011  Student General Artist
The two styles of art most prominent on this site (Illustration and, by proxy, Comic/Cartooning) are somewhat unique in the field of art in that they are not only expressive of the artists feelings, but invocative of those feelings to the viewer/reader as well. Granted, most other forms of art do this, but Illustration and the like are particularly well suited to it, as they often focus on depicting real (or at least reconizable) subjects that everyone can react to. I think the biggest mistake most of us fall into when starting down this road is the failure to recognise how equally important the expression and the invocation of the emotion in a piece can be.

That said, not every drawing has to be dripping with deep, personal metaphor. The depiction the emotion of "This is totally awesome!", while drawing your rediculous self insert "OC" is still perfectly valid. I know that's how I feel most of the time when I do that myself!
Starlace Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011   Traditional Artist
Mmm, you're so right. Even though all I draw is headshots, haha, I've been trying to work on this and practicing figures in my sketchbook...and yeah, I should definitely move on to scenes too. (ugh perspective though! haha.)
toerning Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011
Well good on you! The good news is, the more you do it, the less you become aware of perspective, anatomy, lighting, etc, and the more you become privy to the idea behind the illustration and just doing whatever it takes to convey that idea. And sometimes that means drawing 1,000 point perspective, but it also sometimes means just a shit-ton of rolling mist hahaha

FionaCreates Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011  Professional General Artist
I agree esp on the point of "characters".

I see so many people making character sheets or bio's with drawings but unless you do something with your character there's little to no point in having a character sheet other than to brag you have a character.

A lot of people create 'novels' and then 'illustrate' their characters, but in no novel I've seen (with illustrations) do the characters just stand opposite a page of powerful writing with their hands on their hips grinning like a loon.

If you're going to illustrate your own novel, actually Illustrate the scene, not just the dress they're wearing or their pretty hairstyle.

I know I'm bad for posting to dA my useless character shit but I've finally started a comic recently and it's much more challenging and rewarding to see my characters interact and move around than to just see them stand and do nothing.

I also understand a lot of people on dA just draw for fun so don't really care about the concepts of illustration and storytelling but will also lynch you if you don't take them 'seriously' or you critique them and they get butthurt.

I think it more people like Bryan Lee O Malley, with the influence and balls could stand up and beat people about the head and just take the abuse and keep going, they could really change some people's minds (the ones who could really benefit from it) I know it's not their job to do so, but sometimes when people get angry it's because you struck a nerve so they're reacting badly often to something that's quite true but they don't want to admit they're wrong.
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