Thursday, November 16, 2006


It is very important that artists watch out for what is known as 'design creep'. Design creep is where a certain style is copied so much it seems to overtake everything! Next thing you know it seems like this is the only style in existence. And EVERY generation has it. What is wrong with copying styles??? NOTHING...if it is kept in perspective, you are already sound with the fundamentals of art, and you have YOUR OWN style.

As an artist it is important to develop multiple styles and abilities to be able to adapt to different situations. What if you only have one style and your client or employer doesn't like it?!? If all a pitcher can throw is a curveball, eventually people catch on and you become ineffective. If an artist can only do one style then they have a limited market that they can play to. And starting out it is important not to paint yourself into a corner.

I have seen students come through my class and all that they drew was anime characters. (In my day it was comic book characters from Marvel and DC.) Because they didn't balance themselves out, EVERYTHING they rendered had that style. Life-drawings, portraits, rocks, trees...all their work was 'tainted' by this style and they had a hard time being able to break away no matter what they did. Some still can't find their own style to this day!

Do I personally hate anime? No, it is another style of art and I have seen some exceptionally nice things done in this style. But keep in mind the following:

1. It is important to become sound in the fundamentals of fine art skills and design. This will make any styles you develop or copy all the better.
2. When colleges are looking at portfolios for scholarships they generally are turned off by such items. I have heard people that reviewed portfolios say that if they see comic book or anime characters then they are immediately set in the 'not gonna get a scholarship' pile. They want to see the sound fundamentals listed in #1 and then YOUR style and creativity.
3. Make sure to develop YOUR OWN style(s). Learn from other styles but remember, in highly competitive and creative fields it is often the unique style that grabs people's attention. The more you can do the more marketable you are!
4. If your goal is to become an anime artist then work towards that, but with realistic expectations. It is a niche market with millions 'practicing' the style. And the more people that are doing it the harder it will be to break into that area. In order to be great at it you need to know the fundamentals of art.

Again, if you want to practice ANY style, make sure to keep it in its proper place. Know the difference between a 'hobby' and what you can earn a living doing. (I know lots of people that work in the art field that enjoy painting, are fairly good at it, but they know they will probably never make a living doing it...but they can use it to enhance what they do make a living at.) Make long term and short term goals that are realistic and strive to do your best along the way.


Anonymous said...

i have not heard of that term. great term. i am aware of design creep in illustration and animation. in the 50's it was normon rockwell style. in the 1960's it was fillmoore poster style; 70's it was the sunset magazine style; in the 1980's it seemed everyone imitated michael parkes. excellent portfolio advice.
-jane d'oh

Jeope said...

Ugh. A trend is one thing. Somehow animé is different though ... it just looks bad. Such a blight for animation, too. Mebbe I'm just old.