Feedback: simplification / shape design
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Liandro
Hey, @Struggler! You originally requested my help in another post (https://www.proko.com/s/CFaT), but since there was a different discussion going on there first, I’m creating this new separate topic so we can focus just on your demands here. To provide some context, I’m attaching your drawings, and here’s what you originally wrote: —- Hi sir,  I need your help to improve my work. I want to do cartoon style work but i am unable to simplify it, and that's exhausting. I am not able to making those gorgeous shapes that speaks of life. When I exaggerate something it feels to me that I am doing it wrong. So I want you to give me a honest review of my work so that I can know what I am doing wrong. Thank you —- So, as requested, I’ll share some thoughts! My personal gut reaction to your drawings: I honestly like them. To me, they feel cute and adorable, and I think they also have a nice sense of appeal and storytelling. One thing I like to have in mind is that there is no “wrong way” to draw - art is vast enough to withhold various valid types of expression. And in cartooning, I think this is especially true. But I also understand that we, artists, often idealize a particular style we wish to have, or envision techniques we want to grow upon. With that said, I think it can be important to reframe the question, not so much as “what am I doing wrong?”, but more like “where do I want to get?” I can certainly tell that you are, in fact, already drawing in a cartoon style, since your drawings do have a degree of simplification. The thing is: would you like to simplify even more? If so, what is it about each drawing exactly that you feel you’re having trouble simplifying? You also mention you’d like to make “gorgeous shapes that speak of life” - could this be a hint that what you’re struggling with isn’t exactly simplification, but shape design? (I’m thinking of exaggeration as a part of shape design too, by the way) Let me know if any of this rings true to you and if you might have anything else to share, then we can keep discussing in this thread!
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Struggler
Hi sir, I am sorry for posting on the wrong thread because I had little idea about how the thread discussion works. Actually yes I like to simplify it more and i do want to have great shape design. I love simple yet interesting shape designing but the problem is when I try to make it simple I think that it's not working and I am loosing all the information here, then it started to looking boring and dull and that just doesn't work at all. And whenever I try to keep it simple I just can't stop myself from making it more complicated and I just keep drawing keep drawing it until I ruined it. Maybe I overworked my work because I don't think that looked good enough when I have simplified the drawing, i keep adding the details to make it work.
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Liandro
No problem, @Struggler! Could you mention any specific artists whose style you admire? Characters or projects which have this quality of simplification and shape design you are seeking for your art? One exercise you could try is to create a reference board filled with examples of artworks you like and which have the visual qualities you want to incorporate more into your drawings. Then, analyze the images and name what are exactly these characteristics that you like and seek - try to be as specific as you can, if possible also thinking about why you like the aspects that you like. For example: “I like that shape because it’s asymmetrical and has balanced negative spaces” or “I like that pose because it has a strong sense of weight and gesture”. Of course, it can also be helpful to do some master copies of these artworks as a way of studying them and intuitively learning their visual qualities. Inversely, you can try being very specific when assessing your own drawings too. When you say “I think that it’s not working”, what aspect exactly isn’t working? Try to clearly elaborate the issue for yourself and, if possible, avoid sticking to general statements such as “the shapes are not working”; instead, maybe rephrase it to something like, for example, “the shapes are getting too anatomical, volumetric and even, but I’d like them to be more stylized, flat and asymmetrical, as in Jon Doe’s work” (whoever Jon Doe might be). Remember to take it easy on yourself - some of us can be harsh when analyzing our own work, so keep in mind that the idea here is not for you to judge your work as good or bad, or as better or worse than someone else’s. No, the idea is just to objectively investigate, within the big areas of “simplification” and “shape design”, what are the specific practical aspects that you feel you want your art to have more of. Let me know if you think any of this could help. And I must say again, I really like your sketches! This image, in particular, is a pretty cool page to look at.
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Struggler
And when I draw from reference it just look like a copy of refrence, i don't feel like I've created my own work, all i felt is copying the photo. I do struggle with this a lot. I want to exaggerate the reality, i want my art to feel more, to live more, to express more.
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