Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"That's Not You!"

How I almost got totally side-tracked by looking at other people's work...


Once again I found myself on the receiving end of my husband's sage advice. 

I had been doing some research on digital coloring because I believe it's an area where I can improve--especially when it comes to coloring entire comic pages. After looking at all the tutorials I could find, I felt like I needed to try much harder on everything.

While my husband was driving us home from work, I expressed how I wanted to do more detailed manga-style color artwork--super polished and no outlines. I have the skills to create digital art like that. The only problem is that it would take me forever to create a finished piece. 

After I verbally mulled over how great it would be if I created more art like that, my husband was like, "That's not you."

At first, I didn't know how to take it. 

"What do you mean? I could totally do that. And there is so much anime art like that online. It's like, really popular."

"But it's not you," he said. "You create manga."

"Yes, I do."

"But people who put time into making a lot of art like that aren't working on a manga. If you started doing that, it would take away time from creating your comic."

I sighed. He was right. But I still tried to get what I wanted by saying, "Well, some comic artists create covers like that."

"That's true," he said. "But your covers are fine the way they are. Besides, I wouldn't enjoy a comic with a super fancy cover, but a lame story."

Once again, he was right. It was okay for me to want to improve my technique, but my mistake was wanting dive into a more complicated style that wasn't mine. I already have a style, and taking on something "grander" would take me away from working on the story. And the story could suffer because I would be so busy trying to dazzle everyone. 

As I looked back on our conversation, I realized that it's good that my art is a little different from what's popular. Just to confirm my feelings, this week I read a book called Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon. It's a wonderful read, and I would recommend it to anyone who's thinking about going into the business of creating art. 

In there is a section about how it's good for artists to unplug from the Internet once in awhile. One of the main benefits mentioned is that taking a break from the Internet allows the artist to unplug from unnecessary comparisons. Then they can analyze and explore their own creative process free of studying the work of others. 

That's what I needed to do!

I needed to detach myself from images of what "good manga-style art" looks like. It's okay if what I do is a little different. My art is still beautiful. I was saved from taking on a style that is not me.

And as a side-note: Seriously, my husband needs to get a job as a therapist for artists or something. It's like I go to him with my issues, and he has this fantastic stuff to say to get me back on track. It is amazing.