A rant, just trying to sort things out.
So, I'm into the third(?) week of college now. Demanding classes and all that, and figuring out my major and the requirements for the program is seriously time- and mind-consuming. On top of the classes I still gotta shop and cook and stuff, plus I have an art request that's giving me trouble (curse you innate perfectionism), and I'm on the concept art team for a school-produced short musical film (glorious deadlines and all).
But chaos aside, I think I'm reaching a turning point in how I draw.
DeviantART is home to awesome artists/writers (which is great) but also to a lot of talent comparing (not so great). This creates an undercurrent of competition to be better/popular and get watchers, favs, all that jazz (though to a degree this is natural, we as creative artists and writers feel a need for our efforts to be validated). But I've seen too many people draw the cookie-cutter standard anime/manga character style because it's "popular", "pretty", or because they're just flat out not thinking about it. Yes, you can become a talented artist drawing like that, but there's no you, no identity.
Lately I've been feeling like that's how I've been drawing my characters. Standard economy style. Between each other there's really only a difference in gender, hairstyle, clothes. But there's the same standard facial features, that kinda stuff (most of my stuff isn't on dA, I keep forgetting or just don't bother to upload haha), but the main thing is that from me to another deviant of about the same talent (see? there we go comparing....), there's not really a difference. Drawing standard style only gets you so far.......at some point you're going to have a eureka moment and realize that who you are isn't transferring to the drawings and just blends with everybody else.
When I draw sometimes it almost feels like my arm wants to move a certain way, but I mentally suppress the urge. I'll feel like making a big swoopy line, but 'no', says the brain, 'scarves do not "swoop", scarves "flutter." That's how it's drawn.' So I end up feeling unsatisfied with the end product.
I've always had this struggle between drawing a style that's popular and/or I think looks pretty or whatever, and what style I feel like is me. Probably every artist goes through a similar identity crisis at some point haha. There's a fine line between taking inspiration from something and just trying to imitate it.
But last night I drew some headshots of the characters in my story, and for the first time tried to really vary their features from one to another, and if I wanted to draw something a certain way I darn well drew it that way. Make them distinct, make the art itself different from standard. And, surprisingly.....they didn't turn out that bad. They resembled the characters in my head so much more then when I've previously drawn them. They still look like anime characters, but they have more personality to them, I feel like I can connect with them more, draw them more naturally.
So the point is I guess, that college has not only brought an external environment and responsibilities change, but also a kind of inner discovery. I really want to find "me." To find my own art style that isn't just copied off of the cookie-cutter standard, or off of another well-known artist or artist I like.
You can't be someone you're not, so don't draw like someone you're not.
Finding our artistic identity is a universal goal for us artists, is it not? One that's so much easier imagined/said than done......
But I think I've come one step closer to finding my own "artistic identity", my real style, and I don't think there'll be greater satisfaction (besides the general improvement of course) than looking at an artwork and finally knowing that it's really "me".
...Not there yet.....but I'll get there eventually.................