Stylizing, finding your voice.
As I mentioned in the previous post, Draftsmanship is the ability to control the pencil and render convincing illusions. Here are some examples that have amazed people around the world. You may look at these and respond as many have by thinking, “Those can’t really be drawings”.
These pieces are perhaps the most amazing examples of draftsmanship that I’ve ever seen. But what they have in fantastic rendering, they lack in originality and design. Why? because they are portraying the lion and tiger as they appear in any number of pictures. That is to say photographs. When you adhere this faithfully to realism, you do so at the expense of your individual inventiveness and sense of design.
I believe that these exceptional drawings are most certainly created from photographic reference.
But I also believe that it is important for the artist to contribute his/her own creative interpretation and invention to the art, modifying and embellishing things from what they actually are in the world, so that they become uniquely beautiful and imaginative. It is a personal decision that we each must make (how much to deviate from reality in pursuit of the “ideal”). In illustration, we can call this “stylization“.
Here are some more drawings that are finely rendered, yet still offer a small degree of artistic interpretation.
The rendering is as realistic as it can be, but the composition here leans to the abstract in the sense that we are not exactly sure what we are seeing. We tend to accept some of this form as an abstract shape (we recognize the hands, of course). We know it is flesh, but not sure what part of the anatomy.
They are harmless enough, usually hands gripping the soft flesh of a leg. Because of the tight cropping, the forms become more abstract. The influence of the artist’s choice and decision is an important part of this design.
In this one, the rendering is still very realistic, but the hair has been styled to surround the face and make a subtle design statement. This could also be styled in the photograph, but does represent to influence of the artist.
This work is more of a fantasy image. Very realistically handled, but beginning to assume a feel of something aside form straight photo-realism.
Okay, enough of this stuff. It’s pretty amazing, but what if we don’t wish to render in such a way? What if we CAN”T render with such realism? To whatever extent we do not wish to approach our drawing with such detail, we can infuse our work with a sense of design and original ideas that will more than make up for the difference in draftsmanship. When we exaggerate, simplify, and redesign reality, or make up something completely imaginary, we can call this stylization. Truth be known, it may actually be easier for most of us to earn a living by not doing the type of work that we see above. That is, if we can create marvelously delightful, original, and adorable images like we will look at below, we will probably find an easier voice in the marketplace. Let’s move from the hyper-realism to strength in design and originality.
While the actual lines faithfully depict a ram and flamingos, the idea of combining them together makes for a unique image.
Likewise, the above image by Hoon, is drawn with great skill, but does not leave it to skill alone. The concept is full of interesting and innovative ideas.
Again, this piece by Rebeca Puebla takes a lot of skill to draw and paint, but also has a very unique and interesting mood and style.
I’m not exactly sure what these images are by Japanese artist Kazuki Takamatsu, but I know I’ve never seen anything like them before.
Now I will just load a whole bunch of images. I won’t say much. Just look at them, and study them. Notice how they use strong design and imaginative ideas to create images that are wonderful, fun and very very marketable. Many of these do not require the super human skills of realistic rendering that we started out with, but they are just as valid and worthy. Each artist has to find hie/her own voice through the style and techniques they develop. What they all have in common however, is that they must be appealing and interesting to the viewer. Each in their own way. Enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed these. I don’t claim to like all of them equally, but they show a wide variety of stylization and design.
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