do you ever read old conversations you had with someone and realize how much more they used to be interested you and it makes you feel like complete shit because everything is different now and you can tell you’ve just lost that shine that got their attention in the first place
Hi Noelle! I think I read somewhere that you attended art school for a time, so my question pertains to that. Your art style is super neat, but also very cartoony and simple (I hope that's not insulting, I can't think of a better word to describe it). Did your teachers and classes encourage this, or did they expect you to create pieces that were drawn more from observation, like still lifes? I'm currently an art student, and I'm struggling to find a balance I like between cartoony and realistic.
First off, art school WILL expect you to be able to draw from observation, draw from live models, and take foundation classes in painting, drawing, sculpture probably, etc, which will have a fine art bent. Some of those are things you might have no interest in that you’ll have to suffer through and hopefully still learn something from, but some of them are legitimately useful things that you should be doing no matter what style you draw in. No matter how simple and cartoony your style is, you have to understand the object before you can break it down and reinterpret it. In fact, you have to communicate a lot in even fewer lines/details, so it may even be MORE important.
That said, it would be silly to discourage students from practicing a style that they enjoy just because it’s simpler. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE teachers who will be biased against certain types of styles, but hopefully most of your professors will understand that simple, cartoony, or understated art isn’t less valid than the most rendered painting.
I didn’t understand this when I first started at art school - I thought of illustration in one specific way, and that was “highly detailed, with realistic anatomy and lots of intricately rendered decorations.” So my first assignment for my first class looked like this:
And my teacher, Daniel Krall, was like, yeah it’s okay. I continued kind of struggling in that class, weighing down my illustrations with superfluous frippery because I’d seen other illustrators do that, until one day he saw my sketchbook which was full of noodle-armed people with holes through their bodies. And he asked me why I wasn’t doing that instead. And I was like…I can do that??? For a final illustration?
So by the end of the class I was doing stuff more like this:
Obviously I had a ways to go before I had the balance between cartoony and realistic anatomy that I wanted, and honestly I’m still figuring that out as my knowledge of anatomy gets more informed every day. My recommendation is never stop drawing from observation no matter what, EVEN IF IT’S JUST DRAWING FANART CARICATURES OF TV CHARACTERS! Or people on the bus! (Although drawing from real naked people is really cool and you should definitely take advantage of that in school or wherever you have the opportunity! Some cities have life drawing sessions you can sign up for too. You can see some of my life drawings here. Just, yknow, to prove I did it.) The more you learn, the better your figures will look, whether intricately painted realism or noodle arms.
In short, draw the way that comes naturally to you, and don’t just follow what you’ve seen other people do. Find your own voice! But at the same time, don’t ever stop learning and adding to your mental toolbox of art skills. Don’t let your style stop you from experimenting, either. You can always grow more!