Finding the own style & getting feedback

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  03 March 2014
Finding the own style & getting feedback

Hello there,

don't know if i'm in the correct forum for my 'problems', but i'll give it a try.

First, i am doodling for around a quarter century now and paint for almost ten years.
My problem is that i'm not able to develop my own style. Every image looks like it has been painted by someone else and not by me, and that's what makes me questioning myself a lot.
Does anyone has some tipps for me?

The other thing is, since i upload my images to different online galleries, i don't get any (useful) feedback anymore.
On deviantart most is "done good (insert random smiley here)", but that often comes from people who don't have seen the REALLY good stuff made by people like you.
Here on cgsociety it went from bad to worse, in the beginning, i received criticisms and worked on myself. But now, i'm getting no feedback after all.

Don't get me wrong, i don't want feedback to boost my ego, but to improve myself. I don't watch my images as others do.
What might be the problem in receiving no feedback? Are my works boring and repetitive? Or is it because of my missing style? Is it bad lighting? Anatomy? Composition?

It would be really nice if someone can help me pulling myself out of this dilemma.
And sorry for my english, it's not my mother tongue.
  03 March 2014
I give in-depth critiques in the 2D WIP forums here at cgtalk, so if you want detailed feedback, you should post in the 2D WIP forum. Also, the more information you can give about your image, what your goals are, what you want to convey with your image, etc, the easier it would be to give you feedback. Take a look at this thread:

As for finding your own style, that's not something you go out of your way to do, and this is true for all creative endeavors. What actually happens, is that your style will find you on its own. Also, you need to think carefully about what style actually entails.

When you say, "Every image looks like it has been painted by someone else and not by me, and that's what makes me questioning myself a lot," what you're actually talking about is actually not one single factor. Let me explain.

In a typical sci-fi/fantasy type of image like the ones you like to do, there are actually multiple factors that contribute to a style:

1) The narrative/emotion/idea being portrayed. This has nothing to do with the visuals and it's all about the creative idea behind the image--the visual storytelling, the mood you want to convey, and the emotions you want to express.

2) The general stylization, which is what separates styles from each other such as anime, Disney, realism, children's cartoon, American comic book, Korean, etc. This includes the overall proportions of the characters, how the features are portrayed, the level of simplification or detail, how much idealization, how much exaggeration, color choices, manipulation of values, and how the forms are modeled (angular with facets, smooth gradation, etc).

3) The execution of the brushwork and/or line quality (rough, smooth, expressive, mechanical, etc).

The only way to find your style (or like I said, let your style find you), is to clarify the above elements for yourself. Ask yourself exactly what fascinates you and what your preferences are, and then let your natural biases lead you.

Think about visual stories and emotions and ideas that really resonate with you personally. What makes you happy, sad, angry, indignant, lonely, etc? What are your dreams and nightmares? What are your regrets? What are you ashamed of? What are you proud of? What poignant moments in your life that you would want to tap into for visual narrative ideas? Your first kiss? Death of a loved one? A betrayal? The happiest day of your life? This is how you find your own creative vision and voice--by looking inward into who you are and what you want in this life, and then combine it with your imagination and sense of curiosity.

Once you have the idea that you want to turn into images, the rest is simply matching aesthetic sensibility to the subject matter you want to portray. And that is how your arrive at a style.

Also, being exposed to a wide range of different styles helps immensely. If you only pay attention to a few styles that everyone else also knows, then of course you'll end up regurgitating the same stuff, because your range of influences is so narrow. If you have a really wide range of influences, then you'll be assimilating from more diversity, thus resulting a more unique hybrid that is your own style.

Go and explore the much bigger world of visual art outside of your comfort zone. Look at 19th century art movements, the golden age of American illustration, Folk art from different cultures, European comic books, Korean Manhwa, American underground comics, contemporary fine art painters, etc. I have a list of my favorite artists and why I love their work, available on my website. You can take a look--I'm sure you'll find many excellent artists that you never even heard of before, and I bet you'll find at least a few of your new favorite artists from that list:

4) Having knowledge outside of just art is also very beneficial. If you explore subjects like biology (insects, marine life, mammals), history, engineering/mechanics, astronomy, industrial design, architecture, photography, etc, you will gain lots of interesting insights and inspirations that will further inform and shape your style, and make it richer and more sophisticated, as well as unique. The more you understand the world you live in, the more interesting your artwork becomes.

You might also want to read the threads linked here:
They contain posts that really help in altering the way artists think for the better, helping them advance in their artistic development in a healthy, effective manner.

Last edited by Lunatique : 03 March 2014 at 06:49 AM.
  03 March 2014
Hey Lunatique,

thanks for your patience and your post rich of informations.

I know the 2D WIP Subforum well; the problem is, when i start a new work, i can't interrupt it without losing the motivation to 'finish' it.
So, i have to rely on what people tell me when it is finished.

For that, you mentioned writing more information about the how and why and mood and goals to achieve, that sounds okay.
But it is worth writing that, because i doubt there's a bunch of people reading through that stuff while the image is bad?
Too often it happens (at least to me) that other users don't do that although i delivered the necessary informations...
  03 March 2014
Well, I'm not most people, and if you want an in-depth critique from me, providing the necessary information will help me understand what you are trying to do, what your goals are, what the image's purpose is, etc, so I can give you a more helpful critique. Why don't you try it and see what happens? If you post in the 2D WIP forum, I will give you a detailed critique.

As for not wanting to post unfinished work, this is something you have to weigh for yourself if it's important enough to you to get feedback before you waste too many hours on an image that has very obvious problems that you can't see while working on it. If you showed the earlier versions such as the sketch and thumbnail studies of values, colors, lighting, etc, other people can help you catch the problems early on so you don't waste so much time working on something that is inherently flawed in the first place.

Remember, often to improve as an artist, you need to change your mentality and the way you do things. Just training in your skills and gaining knowledge might not be enough if you don't change your mindset and adopt healthier and more productive ways of thinking.
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