Tuesday, April 06, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Yes folks, I was inspired to do an anime style image. Just for the hell of it. I really like a lot of Japanese manga/anime artwork, but it doesnt always register in the work that I do. 

Speaking of which, I think artistic style is a funny thing. Im in two minds about where I stand on the issue. On the one hand I feel style is important for an illustrator. It becomes their brand, their selling point which makes them unique and stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, style is limiting and restrictive. It can be merely a force of habit, or an artistic choice, but to be bound to a style, to me seems to suffocate creativity.

And this is my dilemma - I see the value in style and I see the value in no style. To push the boundaries of habit and explore new directions and techniques is really important to me as an artist. (I wish I had more time to do so!) But then the danger becomes that I have no selling point as an artist, no style to sell and be sought after. Perhaps style is more important to an illustrator than to say a concept artist, after all a concept artist should be well rounded. Either way, I detest the idea of drawing the same way all my life, drawing in the same genre, whether it be cartoony, realistic, western, eastern, naive or sophisticated. I can appreciate numerous styles and want to embrace all the ones that I find inspiring.

So how does one find a voice when drawn in so many different directions? Well, who says the voice must be static, the same each time... and is the style that important? Perhaps the most important thing is the expression, of the artist and the idea. Style therefore becomes a mere tool of expression, a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. 

Ramble over... what does everyone think?

Oh before I forget - I got my 200th follower! Thank you Rakesh! I plan to send out a print of my work to every 100th follower from now on.

Ken :D


Alden V said...

You have great style!

Wayne B. Medina said...

Ken buddy! how's it going man? it's been too long. your art is looking terrific.

I think it's cool to have your own unique look and style, although it is always tough switching it up now and again. I used to draw in a more comic booky type style back in the day, but ever since I went to school for animation, I totally did a overhaul on my style. I'll email you how I drew before man and you'll be like whaat? lol

anywhoo, I find it very limiting to stay in one style and it could be frustrating at times trying to draw differently. would you call it a crutch? sometimes I think that. But I think with my style I'm just expressing what I think looks best for me and the character, and just make it look cool heh. I'm not sure if i'm making any sense here, since i can't write a darn, so i'll stop here lol

good to hear from you man, and thanks for the link ken! I gotta link you up too!

Edward W.C. said...

Being able to switch from one mind set to another is always a bonus.
To create for commercial and to create for personal.
To make a living doing both, would, be, sweet as ... Just like fresh bread.

(Still no word of an Aussie premiere for The Illusionist. Doh!)

Keep that tan golden mate.

Carl Knox said...

say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

where did this come from? I love it! In fact I love that you are embracing new styles so much, I'm going to stop following you, and sign up again as your 200th member just so I can get a print. :D

New styles rock! a little of the old, and a little of the new makes Ken a more sought after illustrator.

Chris Halls said...

No short cuts mate, but I think an artist will create a style whether they want to or not. Maybe just leave that to work itself out over time and practise other ones that interest you. Best just to have fun, keep up the good work man.

RAWLS said...

What the?!... Anime master!

TJ Lubrano said...


Yes. that was Japanese for 'cool'...that is, if you didn't know this hehe. I really like this! The pose and her expression! I wonder who she whacked...

Man! I missed a few posts I think! I shall catch up! So I've story to tell you. It's interesting that you say that style can be limiting, because my uncle had a similar experience. My uncle went to a cartoon in Amsterdam and his main influence is Anime. Well this cartoon school had strict norms on what had to be created. Anime style wasn't included and my uncle was forced to change his style. He didn't want to do this and stopped with this study.Something must have gone wrong, because the school doesn't exist anymore. I think limiting the type of style was what did it in the end.

It's really cool to be able to draw in more styles, to adapt to certain moods and this is reflected in your artwork. The thing what limits you is the way the illustrator world works. To get started, you probably have to choose an certain style, just to create a network and maybe this is an crucial point. How far will you limit yourself? Are you afraid to let loose to try out new styles, afraid you might lose the style you already have?

I'm rambling myself here (and I can ramble more :|)...the most important thing for me in the end is what you said: " expression, of the artist and the idea"

That's what captures my attention ^_^.

The end!

Justin Rodrigues said...

Great stuff man! i'm digging the last couple of posts.

I hear you on the style thing. i'm going through the same thing right now with my portfolio. unfortunately we are at the mercy of people who want to hire us.

Michael Doig said...

This has got me thinking...

Style is one of the concepts you hear being tossed around by artists trying to define what they do by something they can pin down, attribute, measure or whatever.

For me style is like an culminating amalgamation of whatever influences you throw into the mix that is your mind, and the drawing painting etc. is the translation of those ingredients.

So pushing in certain directions to adhere to particular genres to me is like specifying and isolating those ingredients and using them in your own way.

Because everything you do will go through that same translation from your mind, through your hand (usually) and into the artwork. Each piece will have a part of you in it, whether that be a favoured colour pallette you particularly like, or line weighting you've adopted, or structure stuff you have observed through studies.

As long as you try to invest yourself in the artwork and try to stuff a bit of what you like in there, it should (hopefully) naturally be identifiable as a bonafide Kenneth Anderson original :P.

And as we change and learn and grow, so too will your art. I'm guessing the limits may be the extent of your own personal likes and dislikes.

Andy Mac said...

Ach, i agree.

Who wants to be a Jack of all Styles but a King of none?

Be a king of something! Then, once you have something under your belt, youve bought yourself the security to pick up another style. Like blacksmithing or fishmongering.

Master it, move on, master it, move on.

Its easy to say it...

Doing it, i have trouble with.


Ken said...

Alden V: Thankyou! :D Much appreciated!

Wayne B Medina: Howdy dude, Im good thanks, how about you? Thanks for the kind words! Yeh I think thats what is bothering me though, Im not sure I like my style! Which is never a good thing, and I guess why I like exploring alternate ones. haha email me dude, I would be keen to see it! Yes I agree it is limiting, and like a crutch. Its not bad to have a style, it can be a good thing, a selling point. But, I still think its limited, and in the case of getting work, it limits work options! Cheers for dropping by dude, always a pleasure! :D

Edward WC: Yeh I agree. Sometimes I reckon style could just be habit. And yeh, sweet as fresh bread haha! Keep an eye out for that premiere, Im sure it will happen. Scottish premiere is in a couple of months... looking forward to it! And the sun was shining today... toppin up that tan. Have a good one mate

Carl Knox: haha Im not sure mate, I felt like doing something "manga" lol Well I think thats what its about... being more flexible might mean more work? will see! haha if you want a print man just ask, Ill send ya one. Youre worth it! Cheers for the kind words dude! :D

Chris Halls: thanks dude! Yeh I wasnt so much searching for a style, but trying to excape the limitations of style... man Im sounding like Bruce Lee haha!

Rawls: haha... I wish!

TJ Lubrano: Sugoi!!! Ill try and remember that haha. I know no Japanese...! thanks TJ! She whacked some creepy stalker guy haha. Hey thats an interesting story about your uncle! That was a shame... the fact that he was turned away. I guess I can understand if the school considers themself say a school of a particular style, but were they? And is that not very closed minded and limited? And whats the problem with Japanese style! You know in my University there was this stigma against Japanese style by the tutors... Its just closed minded-ness. I hope that experience didnt put your uncle off drawing :D

Yeh thats it, its very conflicting - I can see why style is important, its a brand for an illustrator. But at the same time, it limits what they can do, limits the kind of jobs they can get etc etc. And if you start with a style, then maybe people will expect you to keep with that style forever... and ever... and arrrgghh! Stuck in a cage. Creativity dead...

Hey! Glad we agree on the expression of the artist thing... High five!!! :D

Cheers TJ!

Ken said...

Justin Rodrigues: Thanks mate! Much appreciated. Youre right. At the mercy of people who want to hire us... I find myself doing work I wouldnt normally do just to put in my portfolio so I can aim for certain companies...

Michael Doig: I agree... style is a big pot of influences, things we see and like, and want to emulate, or things that inspire us. And when we draw upon all that and put pencil to paper, our style is the habit of using those influences. And yes good point, choosing and using those influences depending on the circumstance, translating it through the mind, and adding it to the idea or concept of the artwork. My only concern is, is it real? Genuine? Original? With all those influences, is the artist just regurgitating what they have seen? Sure, the originality is in the expression, but those influences are there... I wonder if its possible to create without influence, without something coming before it. That is pure creation. I feel it is probably impossible. The best we can do, is use the real world, nature, as our influence. But then we miss out on all that amazing work that has come before us, many of it which we surely like and want to embrace. Yes, those limits will be the extent of those likes and dislikes. Awesome. Cheers for the thoughts!

Andy Mac: Yeh man! But the problem is when an artist wants to embrace so many styles, has so much affinity and respect for them all... then its hard not to become a jack of all styles. so maybe you are right, become king of one and then move on. I wish I could focus like that, but Im such a scatterbrain... I want to do a million things at once, including drawing something cartoony, something realistic, something graphic, something abstract.... being drawn in so many directions is stressful! Pardon the pun :D Youre doing great dude. Cheers!!