Monday, February 04, 2008

A voice of my own

The other night I was having dinner with my girlfriend and we were talking about my art. I was expressing my worries about not haveing a real "voice " in my work. It seems to me in order to get noticed in the art world you have to have a voice or style. I think I am a generally decent draftsman, but as for a unique voice I fall short. It worries me that I may not ever get past that, to become a functioning illustrator making a living at what he does. I know the feeling of inadequacies run deep with all artists. But I was wondering what you all think. I put a smal collection up here that is a sampling of all the type of stuff I play around with all the time. Does any of it work better than others? I guess what I am asking for is a complete and open dialogue. Let me have it! Good ,Bad, Constructive, or even Deconstructive. I want to know what you think are my strengths and what I can do to make it work for me. I put the ball in your court and ask you to help me out. Don't worry about hurting my feelings...I'm a big boy and I can take it.
Thanks folks.


akt said...

I have that difficulty too. There's a large variety of styles out there. It's like the fineart world though. This artist does DUCKS, this artist is known for horses, this artist is known for landscapes.

much is the same with illustration. this guy does kid-robot, this guy does anime, this guy does french-children's bookie. I'm pushing to go to the side of sci-fi illustration.

I'll hear arguments left and right- those with a deep passion for illustration, others that are more utilitarian of it. both side of the fences makes true, but i think all can agree that everyone wants to have their own voice.

heck i know i want to stand out, and to do that i would need a distinct style no one else has... a mike mignola, a jim lee, heck even Liefeld stands out with his own voice.

but then that diversifies u less, so u niche yourself. I knew a guy that did nothing but dragon ball z style art. Even his life drawings were dragon ball z????

*sigh* i dont know if that answers ur question. I think it leaves a bigger hole really. I guess it's more of a balancing act.

That said, i think u have a voice, but like most of us, we're defining and refining it as we go along in this twisty turvy world of art.

I personally like what u have. it is definitely you, and as u progress, it'll stay as you.

on that note:
I've seen people who claim they have their own voice/style. Ridiculous. i look at it and it's like "hey, this guy just copied claire wendling's style is all"

you've got your own voice. It may change as u hit puberty, but it's your voice :)

eltoromuerto said...

Thanks for the feed back AKT.
It's good to know that I have friends in the same boat.

Megan Wolfe said...

It's difficult finding your own voice when you're doing commercial work, I think. Albert is constantly shifting gears to suit what the clients want, and often what the clients want is not HIS work/style. Then it becomes harder to push your own style, if you even know what it is.

In regards to your work though, I think you're doing fine. You lean toward comics quite a bit, and as a result, the work you're doing on your own is very detailed and has that feel to it. Each one of these drawings reflects that. Style often just comes down to your preferences and interests, and you should never stop pursuing them.

However, if you want to deliberately create and push a particular style (especially for marketing purposes).. think in terms of "gimmicks". A style can be a specific shape you use ALL the time, or a medium, or a technique. If you put all of your sketches on a tan background and inked them like your monster drawings, there ya go.

Shifting styles may not seem like a gimmick, but in marketing it's considered "branding", and essentially, that's what we're all trying to do.. We want JDoe to know at first glance that the Ipod banner was made by ____. Albert's "artist who does ducks" was a good example of branding.

The problem with this, of course, is that you can't just switch it up, or try new things all the time. You have to stick with formula 80% of the time, and it sucks. :P But it will (eventually) bring in the recognition you're looking for.

ANYWAY, OMG, both of us talk way too much. I hope this kind of helps some..? :(

eltoromuerto said...

Thanks Megan,
I have been thinking of trying to use a common element with my work. I should unify the work as a whole with a common tie in. Sounds like I have a lot of introspection to do. Crap...that's what I was afraid of :)

Gerrad McConnell said...

I am certainly no artist, but maybe I can offer an outsider's opinion. Art is interpretative and to simply find a pidgeon hole for one style doesn't do yourself justice.

Part of commercial art IS finding voice that resonates with the buyer, and the needs to adapt your art to a specific style is necessary. Look for example at James Jean, who is much less "impressionitic" in his commercial work and much more interpretive in mis personal work.

I hope you get what I mean when I say that... not so much as an atistic movement but a personal choice. The same can be said of other artists you like, such as Frank Cho.

Part of your voice IS the fact that you can do different genres so well. Getting attached to one style can limit the growth of what you want to be. If your focus is on inking, your style is going to be much more influenced by who you ink and what work you do. You don't get stuck to one voice until you do a lot of the same old stuff. And I have heard you say that art needs to evolve, look at Jim Lee, who you say hasn't grown since the 90's. He has the same voice. I wouldn't be so concerned about finding a singular voice, but concerned with your own feelings towards what your work is.

To say your a "duck artist" just means you draw a shit load of ducks. to say you are a balanced artist, and more importantly a paid artist, you adapt to what you need to be.

The most consistantly amazing thing to me about your art is that you can comfortable shift genres, you aren't a one trick pony. That is a voice in itself.

Umm yeah.. that was a bit of an essay.

StudioRisingStar said...

Sup Jase! Man I've been struggling with that since we were at AAU. I agree whole heartedly with Albert, as artists we have and need to have our own voice. Different artist are known for a niche(anime, retro, low brow, graph, classical, realism etc.) which often could possibly lead to being pigeon holed. A friend of mine told me that you have to be a flexible artistic beast that can adapt to anything that the industry demands. Which makes since but, aside from being a everywhere artist I found that I personally wanted to have my own expression because no matter if I'm a concept artist, illustrator, caricaturist or what ever I do I want to express my artistic heart. People argue alot about this subject an like Al said there's truth on both sides. In the end it's about one thing that we didn't learn about at the academy.. it's what you want to do with your gift in art. The industry will go with the will be tossed around in the wind with what ever but, you have to know what you want to do in the end. Being you is all you can do and I don't want to be pigeon holed in one thing but neither being a bland grey area artist either.

Your style is very flexible though man! You could go alot of places. Keep your head up. I've gotten to the point that if the industry won't open anything for me I just got break it's walls in by doing my own thing and getting there attention that way. It's risky but who cares as long as I'm happy and doing well.

I'm sorry if I didn't answer your question right, but know that your not the only person struggling to find it and break in. Good luck man and excellent work. In the long run your going the right way by finding what you want from your art and not what "they" want. You could know your vein as an artist now or be paid uninspired/unhappy artist working in cubical studio later. I'm praying for you man.


StudioRisingStar said...

He he.. I had the longest post between me and Megan, lol!!


Jody said...

I've known you awhile and so my opinion I think should count way more than anyone else's here and I think you should just call it quits and get that job as a titty-bar bouncer like you've always been talking :) Just kidding!

Look man you're mad talented, but more than that you and Neal are probably two of the most driven people I have ever know. Both of you have that maddening drive and persistence that really make the difference between real artists and people with hobbies.

But with regards to you having a "style" I think you do. But I don't think it's fully developed. One thing I've seen/noticed about you since we've been friends is 1) you tend to overthink a lot 2) you care a lot about what other people think. I think this has carried itself over into your art. Now neither of those things are "bad" I don't want to give that impression but I think it would be really good for you to just push yourself to some extreme you've never been to before and go kinda crazy for awhile and then come back.

But regardless I love your work. I think you really take your work seriously and that's awesome. Honestly I'm really jealous of your drive. I'm such a lazy bastard :)

Anonymous said...