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I've been under fire recently for having the audacity to admit publicly that improving my art has never been, and never was, an ultimate goal of mine. Apparently that's like committing some sort of mortal sin in the art community. I've had trouble expressing myself about it too, because brushing off improvement for improvement sake makes me look like I'm uncaring, egocentric, and stubborn. But after a recent post I was given much more clarity in understanding the issue and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

In the recent exchange I was basically told this: "If doing what you love isn't about dedicating your life to improving your art, you aren't an artist."

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but making art has never been solely about the technical expertise. Even in college, outside the handful of foundation courses you take in freshman year, perfection of the craft is often secondary to concepts and ideas and your ability to evoke feelings and emotions in your audience.

Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same.

DA is an art community, and part of that means helping people grow and become better artists. However, sometimes I think we place far too much importance on the technical side of things. It's very well and good to offer feedback to an artist you think will help them improve, but it's another thing entirely if you take their stubbornness or slow-to-change attitude to heart, become personally offended by it, and retaliate with trolling and tumblr blogs about them.

I make comics because I like telling stories. I like to see people laugh at my character's foibles. I like to build their suspense, and hit them with twists and turns. I want them to feel sad or happy during key events. I want my audience to enjoy what I produce. That has been, and always WILL be, my overall key goal as a cartoonist.

Now then, despite me saying improvement is not an ultimate goal for me, I still recognize it as something to keep in mind in the back of my head. Many people have told me that artists change their styles gradually over time (which is true), but those same people seem to disregard this when it comes to me because I am not changing fast enough for their liking. To many of these people, my lack of change within the span of a few DAYS is enough to throw a giant hissy fit over. Since SYAC is a near-daily comic series, I can understand people thinking I'm stagnating, but I know I am growing gradually and that the results will show for themselves eventually.

To prove this, please take a look at this comparison:
SYAC Improvments by TomPreston
The left image is the first ever SYAC comic, the right is a much more recent one, the difference of about a year and a half.

While there are a lot of similarities (such a lack of a background, but honestly that's not really important for this particular series), it should be pretty obvious that I've improved. It's still cartoony, it's still simple and basic, but the lineart is smoother, the characters more iconic, and the shadow tones less grey and muddy. Is there a lot to still improve upon? Of course there is. Have I not improved at all since I started? That's absurd.

This is why I heartily resent people bringing out complaints that I'm committing some sort of mortal sin for not dedicating my entire life towards being the best comic artist ever. You can offer me advice and suggestions, but do not expect me to grow by leaps and bounds overnight. I listen to every criticism, comment, feedback, and complaint that I get and while I might have a bad attitude about some of that, it does sink in.

I realize my own strengths and weaknesses and understand that improvement for me will be a longer and slower process. It's gradual, and sometimes it can take years for this stuff to show itself. Jim Davis, for example, has taken close to 30 years to perfect his style, while Scott Adams hasn't really changed much at all in the past 20 years. Hell, there are artists here on DA who haven't improved at all. It's all about gradation and understanding that not everyone has the same goals, desires, passions, skill, and attitude about art as you.

Anyway... I'm tired of talking about this, and I'm sure you're all tired of hearing it. So this is going to be the last time I address this (if I can help it). Let this be my final words on the subject and let's move on already.

To sum things up:
1. Improvement for improvement sake is not my ultimate goal, never has been.
2. I acknowledge that I will improve, but gradually over time and not overnight.
3. You can offer feedback and criticism.
4. I am under no obligations to follow your feedback and criticism if I feel it doesn't help me towards my goal.

Peace.
  • Listening to: Escapist Podcast
  • Watching: Frasier
  • Playing: Minecraft: Multiplayer
Add a Comment:
 
:icongazellehatsune:
GazelleHatsune Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I agree on this one hundred percent
I do strive to get better as an artist and my style changes constantly
but that's because I keep drawing, not because I'm "trying" to do so ultimately
you are a very clever comic artist and whenever your style changes or not, thousands of fans will still be on the lookout for the next SYAC comic to get a laugh out of it
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:iconnikkifirestarter:
NikkiFirestarter Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student General Artist
I always thought art was about expressing one's feelings, not being the best around. Heh, but that's just my thought on the subject.

I have to agree with you. I mean, as an artist continues to create, improvement in skills and all that just sort of come naturally from continued practice of the arts. That's pretty much how anything works, the more you do it, the better you get at it. You don't have to make it an ultimate goal just to get better, that's just something that comes with time and continued doing.
I guess some people just don't understand this concept, and some people are hard to explain things to... They have a hard time seeing the bigger picture, or the important things...
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:icongoldengal42:
GoldenGal42 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2012
Wait... you want criticism and feedback but you won't act on it (i.e. improve)? What's the point then? The whole point of feedback and criticism is to help yourself improve but you've just said that isn't your goal so there's absolutely no point to any feedback and criticism people can offer.

You say your goal is to tell stories, but what if your artistic stagnation is hindering the expression of your story? If you improve as an artist you can tell your stories better and have a greater impact -- so clearly your goal isn't to tell a good story, otherwise you'd improve to tell those stories better. Your art is an important part of your story, if you don't care enough to make it better then... what's the point of you and your drawings?
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:iconpinkkrice:
Pinkkrice Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
People have such elitist views about art. There's this idea that skill is or should be the artists ultimate goal, or that that's what makes you an artist. To me, skill is just a means to an end. You develop skill because it helps you with your art, but at the end of the day what makes you an artist is the overwhelming or even uncontrollable urge to create. Not any set standard of skill, or any varying degree of dedication. An artist doesn't sit there and think, I MUST be better! They think, I MUST continue creating! And through that, they develop skill so they can create things closer and closer to what's in their head. Their dedication isn't a conscious decision, it's an uncontrollable impulse. If you have the uncontrollable impulse to tell a story with art, then that's all you need. I think you're right on track, Tom. Now if only more people would see things like this, we'd get less of the elitist nonsense that plagues the artistic community.
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:iconfangedseth:
FangedSeth Featured By Owner May 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I find this offensive. You suggest that comic writing/storytelling do not count as arts. Why would you think that?

Unless you're saying you don't want to improve your storytelling. That sounds rather boring.
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:iconpinkkrice:
Pinkkrice Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
What are you talking about? He never suggested anything like that. He's talking about visual art, not art in general. When he says "I'm more interested in storytelling than art" he's not saying that storytelling isn't an art, he's saying "I'm more interested in the art of storytelling than visual art." If anything, he's saying he's MORE interested in improving his writing/storytelling artistic skills than his visual artistic skills. Just because he doesn't call it art doesn't mean he doesn't think it's art. It's common terminology to call visual art simply "art" and other art forms by name (the art of writing is simply "writing," the art of storytelling is simply "storytelling," ect.) Try not to get so caught up in minor details of phrasing, it leads to unintended assumptions.
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:iconxghostwriterx:
xGhostwriterx Featured By Owner May 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:clap: Well said Tom! :clap:
Improving have been a BIG part of my life as an artist. But the longer time goes and the more I think about it, the more I realise that it's killing the joy I get out of it. Reading this really made me think. I ... remember when I drew just because it was fun, improving didn't even exist in my world then. Then someone commented on my srt and then it took of from there. I used to draw because it made me realax and enjoy myself, improving was just something that happend by time... Guess I kinda lost my way for a few years... Well no more!! I'm gonna find back to that happy road I once walked on and take that path again.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Tom, and thank you for giving me the wake up call that I needed. Thank you. :hug:
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:iconkibate:
Kibate Featured By Owner May 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
To be honest, i only read half of your yournal entry here(too long etc. haha) but i can say is...
I totally agree on so many points.

I think so many people freak out about people who do not want to improve(as much as they do at least) is because they learned their entire life to draw good pictures, only to realize you don't have to! If they were to let people like you, and partly like me too, just go, it would be like admiting they wasted half of their life.

Of course, this is merely a theory, and someone is sure going to flame me about it, but otherwise i just don't understand their deal, even after having many talks with such people.
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:iconjourneyofbell:
JourneyOfBell Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No fucking offense, but this doesn't make any sense:

"Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same."

By that you're implying trying to improve only belongs in the realism department. Just because following realism is the only way to improve most art doesn't mean people will turn over to realism. People can improve their own style without going for realism. Besides, the last remark is really cocky. Again, implying realism is boring and while I don't excersise realism myself, it's still a weird point to make. I think all styles end up being boring if people all go for the same (no better example than dA itself). Too much of anything is too much whatever it's realism, cartoonism or whatever.
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:iconnotinthisreality:
NotInThisReality Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I completely agree with you, and I think it was wrong of whoever said that "If doing what you love isn't about dedicating your life to improving your art, you aren't an artist." to you. I can't say that I'm not improving or that I'm not trying to, only because I haven't tried every style, and I'm still learning what my own style is, but telling someone that they aren't an artist just because of differing viewpoints is discusting.
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:iconmattpichette:
MattPichette Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Look. There are artist that want to improve their style and others that feel fine at where they are. And that's fine. Personally, I'm someone who enjoying trying to hone my skills. But if that's not you, then that's not you. People shouldn't hate. But a major problem I'm seeing from all this hate is the attitude you give off about all this negativity you receive. Especially when you put it in some of the comics you do. Yes artist get hate. I do too, but I don't make a rant about it. Comics aren't just about how good the art is, but about how you utilize your the art (good or bad) in an engaging manner. When you ranting into your comics, it diminished the quality in your writing. It makes it hard to read and may even spawn more hate. And as it builds up, people nitpick at things about your art (Comments like "Your style hasn't improved") just to rile you up. If you stopped caring about negative criticism, blocking people, and ranting about others, you won't have a target on your back for people to jab at. If you don't like a comment with criticism (constructive or not) that you agree with, take it with a grain of salt, let it slide and keep working on what you love to do.
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:iconbeatrixthefarsighted:
BeatrixTheFarSighted Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
If only more people were like you on DA. .~.
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:iconmattpichette:
MattPichette Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Oh wow, I forgot how long ago I posted this. Yeah, that's a big problem that always occurs here, and that's really why I haven't really been very active on this site. I don't want to be involved with a place that just spews negativity. I still have an account here because there are a lot of artsits who's work I enjoy, and a few of those only post here. Also I try to keep my work up to date here, but I'm not very interactive with many people unless it's replies to comments, notes or watches.

But I guess nothing can really be done to those who tarnish the site's reputation, and there are two kinds of people that give DA a bad name.
Those who can't take criticism (good or bad) and go ape shit about it, and those who are the ones doing the criticism solely to poke fun at the people mentioned before.
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:iconbeatrixthefarsighted:
BeatrixTheFarSighted Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
Couldn't have said it better myself. I remember when DA was warm and inviting for me. I could look at art and have discussions. Personally, I never had to deal with drama when I was first on here, all issues were dealt with through communication, and I remember when I could note people, even when I was blocked, if I ever wanted to apologize, etc.

That's all in the past now. I'm going to be honest though I would poke fun at people before when I criticize them, not anymore. The community's gotten so bad, it's not even funny anymore.
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:iconticklespickles:
TicklesPickles Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Student General Artist
"Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same."


What is the point of having good ideas if you can't properly articulate it, honestly nobody would want to read a comic with terrible proportions, it might be good, but people will look at it and say

FUCK THIS SHIT


And also this argument is invalid, because if you think you already are so good at creating ideas and such, why not work on technical proficiency
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:icontompreston:
TomPreston Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"honestly nobody would want to read a comic with terrible proportions"

The fans of R. Crumb and Rob Liefeld would seem to disagree with you there...
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:iconticklespickles:
TicklesPickles Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Student General Artist
What i'm saying is somebody will look at it and not want to read it, you would get more views if you put EFFORT, into your stuff. Honestly, when i see very badly drawn comics i skip over them, they might be good, but it does not look like the artist gave two shits about it.

that is unless they are a beginner.

People flock to visually appealing things, if it isn't visually appealing, chances are, it won't be as noticed.
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:icontompreston:
TomPreston Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree to an extent, but I also think it needs to be considered what exactly you're working on...

For example, you wouldn't look at a Charles Schultz comic and say "that anatomy needs to be improved, and he need to make more backgrounds, and use better lighting, and etc etc" would you? I think a lot of people look at my simple SYAC comic and expect it to be of the same caliber and level of detail as, say, a DC or MARVEL comic book, when it was never meant to be judged by those standards.
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:iconticklespickles:
TicklesPickles Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Student General Artist
no, not me though, what i think is that when you do something do it to the best of your ability, or don't do it at all. Not saying you aren't, honestly i don't actually "Know" the best of your abilities. For all i know you could be 1000x better then we think you are at art or realism or any other artistic medium of your choosing.
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:iconprowls-little-angle2:
*shakes head*
"If doing what you love isn't about dedicating your life to improving your art, you aren't an artist." my arse.
I shall not comment further, or else I will probably start some sort of argument but summing up: I AGREE!
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:iconlunarmew:
LunarMew Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
"Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same."

I hate adding fuel to the fire because I will come across backlash, but that comment doesn't seem that offensive. I don't understand why people misinterpret. Maybe this is a stretch, but it actually reminds me of concept art in a way. You can be perfect in anatomy, perspective and color theory but if the creative part fails then your pretty drawing will go straight in the trash. True, the technical are important because the client wont accept a stick figure like drawing but that isn't the main part of the artwork that will blow him or her away. It's how the client's vision came off in paper or the ideas behind it if the artist was granted artistic freedom.


Still, that's just my perspective.
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:iconcnids:
Cnids Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You seem to have failed to notice that there is an incredible difference between the mediums of comics and just straight visual arts.

If you're a good storyteller or you're funny or insightful, your comics can look like shit and it doesn't matter. XKCD is stick people but it's still an excellent comic because it's well written. Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is hilarious, and just look at the "art". Seriously, go look at it; I'll wait.

Using two comics to attempt to show "improvement" is not even a true gauge of it. I personally find the first one to be more successful (the old one) because I think the over-exaggerated emotions and features in the newer one are kind of tacky and distracting. Yes, the newer one shows a stronger ability to render characters or whatever, but it's not necessarily "better" in terms of a comic.

So basically I think you can get a free pass on never improving with your comics if you want, but if you start trying to pass things off as "art for art's sake" or something then you better be willing to step up your game. No one takes an artist seriously if they flat out admit they don't want to improve, just like no one would hire a worker who doesn't want to get better at their job. Might as well just be a machine; same shit every single day with no variation or experimentation.
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:iconsuperpower-pnut:
superpower-pnut Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
True. I used to read the webcomic 'Elf Only Inn', and for quite a while his characters were simply cut-and-paste figures. But it worked b/c it enhanced, not detracted the punchline somehow
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:iconredhelmet28:
RedHelmet28 Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I personally believe Tom to be correct.
Drawing; it's the techniqual side. The part where you improve your art, give good anatomy, so on and so forth. It's just a part of art.
But real art is about expressing through drawing.
I don't believe that there is just one side. You can improve, but that's just a part of being a artist. Improving and drawing anatomy isn't the only thing about art. Only part of it.
The artistic imagination and the drawing skills are both needed. They both seperate, but they have a common factor.
Us being artist.
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:iconprojectzuel:
ProjectZuel Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For people offended by the comment:

"Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same."

You need to read deeper than the surface. He's saying that its important but its not always the sole reason you draw. When you draw something, for example a comic your goal is more likely to be how you write the characters and the story rather than technical prowess; this is to say that the technically aspects are there but they AREN'T a driving force.

The "stagnating" aspect is not directed at the artists themselves like Leonardo and Michelangelo but is a comment on diversity which feeds back on technical proficiency not being the main reason why all artists draw.

This isn't an attack or desmisal of technical skills, this is just Andrew clarifying that is isn't the main reason why he draws and it doesn't have to be everyone elses either.
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:iconidiotwithacause:
IdiotWithACause Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
"Technical proficiency is important, yes, but it is not the sole driving factor. Thank goodness it's not, because if it was everyone would be making nothing but realistic paintings like Leonardo and Michelangelo, and the art world would be stagnating and boring because everything would be the same."

Not even going to comment on the debate of your art.
Because this quote is not okay.
No, no, no, no, no.
Someone else probably already addressed this much more eloquently than I'm about to but this just makes me angry.

After going through a graduating an art program how can you honestly say that?
That is an awful thing to say. Just because you don't care for technical skills doesn't mean you need to dis the old masters. Pull up a Da Vinci painting and a Michelangelo painting on your browser. Know what? For shits and giggles, open up Renoir and Rembrandt too because I happen to like them. Look at these four paintings at once and tell me with a straight face that these show stagnation in the progression of art and that they're boring.
Just because something is rendered realistically doesn't making it boring or the same as another realistically rendered piece.
After taking a single painting class I have so much respect for anyone that creates anything near realistic paintings. At the point where you're pouring hours/days/weeks/months (especially months if we're talking about oil paint) how can you say that something doesn't have an emotional value?

Going back to saying they all look the same because that for one really grinds my gears. Comparing Michelangelo's and Da Vinci's most famous paintings already many stylistic differences become apparent. Da Vinci has a much softer touch when it comes to paint, he is very subtle. Michelangelo is true to his sculpting knowledge and truly molds the forms in hard, but still soft human fleshy forms.

Seriously, bro.
I'm not going to ramble because you're getting enough shit from other people but coming from someone who graduated from art school, even if it was cartooning, you must have a basic respect for realism and the many forms it can take.
Saying all realism looks the same is like saying all cartoons look the same. This is a two way street here.

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:iconpsychoviech:
Psychoviech Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
I'm sorry, but I think you completely and utterly missed the point he was trying to make. I have no clue where you got the idea that he's "dissing the old masters" or "saying that they all look the same".


"Just because something is rendered realistically doesn't making it boring or the same as another realistically rendered piece."

"Comparing Michelangelo's and Da Vinci's most famous paintings already many stylistic differences become apparent."

Art is about diversity, different ways to tell a story or get a message across. More than one perception of reality. All TP is trying to say is that if the goal is perfect imitation of reality and if everyone did that, it would be boring. It doesn't mean that realistic art is per se boring or that it would all look the same and it is certainly not meant to diminish the artists themselves. But in the context that every artist is trying to draw (or mold or whatever) things as realistically as possible, there would be less innovation - I think that's what he means by stagnation.

It would all "be the same" (not *look* the same) in the sense that everyone would be doing pretty much the same thing: trying to copy this reality and not inventing new ones. That doesn't mean there aren't any differences between individual artists or that realistic art is worth less than other kinds of art. Again: Diversity. Some artists may strive to achieve perfection (and yes, Michelangelo and Da Vinci were amazing in this regard) while others focus on the idea or the story they are trying to tell, which is what TP is doing. Both is perfectly acceptable.
Apparently many people misinterpreted this...

"At the point where you're pouring hours/days/weeks/months (especially months if we're talking about oil paint) how can you say that something doesn't have an emotional value?"

I honestly don't know where you found the piece about emotional value. He doesn't say anything even remotely like that.
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:iconidiotwithacause:
IdiotWithACause Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
Uh, well. He said, to paraphrase, "The art would would stagnate because everything would be the same".
At least to me that implies "Things would be boring because everything would look the same.

"Art is about diversity, different ways to tell a story or get a message across. More than one perception of reality."
I'm going to disagree with you but this is probably going to be a personal taste issue over a solid conclusive point issue. I do agree that there are different ways to view the world and that makes art interesting. I'm not going to argue on that point. Just what I'm trying to say is that even in the realm of realistic art, the ways that realist artists view the world varies greatly. There is still innovation in realistic art, the photo realism stuff that I've been seeing is completely mind blowing, and that's part of people trying to fit their art more closely to their view of the world. I don't view realistic art as stagnating at all and that was what really irritated me about what he said.
"If everyone was doing realistic art then it would get boring" is the same as saying "Well if everyone only did comic art then it would get boring and stagnate." Yes, there has to be diversity in art styles but in terms of what style to call boring it's always realism.
Not to take digs but one could argue that TP's art is boring because he tends to use those old classic comic expressions that we've all seen before.

Again, maybe it's just my taste but I'm not one for super fantasy art. I'm thinking dragons and wizards since you said a different reality. I'm fascinated by people trying to depict accurately really mundane, day to day, life moments. I don't think you have to create a new reality to tell an amazing story, but that's what I like. You don't have to.

As for the emotional value point, I got it from this "perfection of the craft is often secondary to concepts and ideas and your ability to evoke feelings and emotions in your audience."
Rereading it, I did actually misread that little paragraph when I made my original comment.
So just to tag on, as much as he says that your technique shouldn't matter if you can portray a story or feeling, you're still an artist. I shouldn't be faulted for caring more about technique, because the entire tone of the journal kind of shames people who are more technique driven.
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:iconpsychoviech:
Psychoviech Featured By Owner May 15, 2012
Implies. Meaning, you might just read something into it ;)
No sorry, but this was exactly what I was trying to explain to you but maybe not good enough. Let's try a different approach.
Imagine a world where all books are just one genre, for example romance novels. You will still have lots of different writing styles, different stories - you can have cowboy romance, alien romance, vampire romance... but you'll always have a love story which, after a while, probably gets boring no matter how well it is written. Or food. You can cook a million different kinds of pasta - but it will always include noodles. There might be a great variety but imagine the variety you get when you start to include rice, fruits, chocolate you name it.

So yes, of course there is innovation in realistic art. Neither TP nor I claimed there wasn't, just that there would be less if the main focus was on being realistic. Realistic art is not stagnating, but it *would* be if[...]

"If everyone was doing realistic art then it would get boring" is the same as saying "Well if everyone only did comic art then it would get boring and stagnate." Not arguing with that. It probably would. That's why we don't only have one style.

"Yes, there has to be diversity in art styles but in terms of what style to call boring it's always realism.
Not to take digs but one could argue that TP's art is boring because he tends to use those old classic comic expressions that we've all seen before."
One could argue that and some will. But if they can find comic art boring then other people can find realistic art boring and can say so. Though again, I don't think that was TPs intention.


"Again, maybe it's just my taste but I'm not one for super fantasy art. I'm thinking dragons and wizards since you said a different reality. I'm fascinated by people trying to depict accurately really mundane, day to day, life moments. I don't think you have to create a new reality to tell an amazing story, but that's what I like. You don't have to."

First, to equate new reality = fantasy = wizards and dragons is a pretty narrow view of "new reality". Second: I don't think you need to create one to tell a good story either. Perhaps I should have elaborated this some more.
Let's go back to the "perception of reality" part. Sure you can have a completely new reality as in nothing like the real world (though it will always be influenced by our real world experiences) But you can also just have a different angle and see the world as you have never seen it before, thus changing your(perception of) reality. You know how when something happens and five people see it you will have 5 different stories?
But I digress. Actually I just wanted to point out that there's a bit more to new reality than dragons.

"As for the emotional value point, I got it from this "perfection of the craft is often secondary to concepts and ideas and your ability to evoke feelings and emotions in your audience."
Glad this is cleared up.

"I shouldn't be faulted for caring more about technique, because the entire tone of the journal kind of shames people who are more technique driven."

I don't find that at all. I'm sad that you interpret it this way. If he's shaming anyone it is the people who pick on him or others for being not enought technique driven. I didn't get the impression he has anything against someone trying to improve his/her art - but it's not *his* major goal.
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:icon1-step-2-happiness:
1-step-2-happiness Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Student General Artist
To add more to what I said, BASICALLY in order to give certain feelings to an audience, you NEED the technicals. Like, if you want to make a character look scared, you need to go into the technicals in order to actually make them look sad

I'm not saying you should get carried away with technicals, but they ARE important. and as a result, are things you need to improve on in order to achieve your goal of moving an audience.
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:icon1-step-2-happiness:
1-step-2-happiness Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Student General Artist
Wouldn't trying to make characters have expression and making the characters evoke feelings to the audience count as wanting to improvE? I mean, you're trying to improve your ability to better evoke emotions in your work, sooooo.....
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:iconmakarovjac:
MakarovJAC Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
He says so, but he's still stuck on what he was capable of back 4 years ago.
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:icon1-step-2-happiness:
1-step-2-happiness Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Student General Artist
What was he capable of four years ago?
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:iconmakarovjac:
MakarovJAC Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
The very same stuff you see everyday he updates weith a new drawing.
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:icon1-step-2-happiness:
1-step-2-happiness Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Student General Artist
xD
Well, I can definitely see some improvement compared to what I saw before, which was a year ago, I'll admit. xP
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:iconmakarovjac:
MakarovJAC Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
Don't care, he still has the same flaws he had at anatomy and design as he had back four years ago.
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:icon1-step-2-happiness:
1-step-2-happiness Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Student General Artist
That's a point.....
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:iconceallach-monster:
ceallach-monster Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Wow... This journal is so full of ignorance, I can't even stand it.
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:iconcaptainspadevatore:
captainspadevatore Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Calm the F down people. You're just jelly of Tom's attention. There is NO need to bitch about him not wanting to improve his work, because the content within the art is the real reason everyone reads his comic. I feel that if he was as perfect of an artist as everyone complains about him not being, the content of the comics just wouldn't be as fun. Tom's comics represent what it's like being a cartoonist, not what it's like being a painter/sculptor/animator, just drawing cartoons, and if drawing cartoons can make him and thousands of his fans happy, so be it. Quit your bitchin folks.
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:iconfriedmetaki:
FriedMetaki Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
LOL I love that argument. "You only dislike them because you're just jealous of so and so." Whenever I see that in a comment I just lauhg since it's too stupid to take seriously. That would only apply if the person had any actual talent that a person might envy. That is not the case here.
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:iconcaptainspadevatore:
captainspadevatore Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I said jealous of his attention, not of his ability. Show me some actual arguement of why I'm wrong, then. He does have talent as an artist. More than me, and MUCH more than you. But I read his comics because of the content and its jokes. Not because I'm blown away by his amazing artistic skills. Have a nice day, and quit your bitching.
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:icontotho:
Totho Featured By Owner May 9, 2012   Filmographer
I think so many people are missing the point, including Tom here. This is a website where hundreds of thousands of people from around the world post millions of pictures every day. Your not going to be the best, your probably not going to be the worst, art is subjective as is so it's impossible to even measure those things tangibly. That being said, taste is subjective too, but if you burn the shit out of something till it looks like charcoal, most people will agree your a pool cook. There are principals that guide art, and a style is not defined by mistakes, but choices. Tom, you said you know this, you said you've learned this; yet it seems you often chose to ignore it. Nobody expects anyone to improve overnight, and if it takes a million pieces to improve then so be it, you are you, the problem lies in how you see yourself.

You've say you see your faults, and you desire criticism, but I think that's just because you know that's what you are suppose to say as a "serious" artist. You don't really mean it, you don't really want to hear anything other then what you do is great... and that's ok! If you don't really care about being a professional artist. If drawing is a hobby, and you do it for fun, then the bar for your skills and ideals is set however high you put them. The problem is if you want to take yourself seriously, you owe it to yourself to want to get better. Now something all artist can appreciate is listening to criticism is hard, especially with art. You pour hours, maybe days, of your heart and soul into a picture. That picture is a reflection of you, so when people tell us there is something wrong with it we take it as them saying there is something wrong with us. It's upsetting, its frustrating, but in the end we need to hear it. If we can create the separation needed to look at the picture not as the artist, but as a viewer, we can begin to grow.

Rather then the heart of the issue, we get bashing and white knighting. Its unfair to you, on both sides: The flamers obviously are just trying to make a scene, generate lulz, or whatever; usual internet nonsense that we unfortunately have to deal with, and should be ignored. The white knights are not doing you any favors either though, they somehow get it into their head that when someone insults you in any way, they are insulting them by proxy (for liking you) and take it upon themselves to swarm an negativity. They will shot down honest critiques they are not prepared to hear and provide you with a false sense of comfort about what what you do. Let me be frank here for a second, you aren't terrible. Your good, but, that's all. The two pictures you posted above to show your improvements, are honestly pretty similar. The really interesting thing about it is you posted a comparison in the first place. Actions speak louder then words, and your actions betray you Tom. If you truly didn't care about improving you wouldn't post stuff like that, or on deviantArt at all. My advise is lower your defense a little, and have fun with it. You said above art is more about passion now, so be passionate about!

Or maybe I'm wrong, and good enough is truly good enough for you. In the end its your artistic journey, and your artistic goals. Think about what you want to leave behind as an artist, if anything at all.
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:iconreccahanabishibankai:
reccahanabishibankai Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
[i/]Have I ever told you your my hero?[/i]
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:iconcrimson-shine:
crimson-shine Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
Hmm. I always figured there was no need for constant improvement if you could convey what you wanted to convey with the skill level you currently have. :/
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:iconanobu:
Anobu Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Student General Artist
The number one question my instructor asked me was "have you found your style yet" I said no, as im always changing. You would be a complete douche if you said "ya".
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:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
What people forget is that comics/cartoons/graphic novels have TWO different kinds of art. Visual and written. You're allowed to put more effort into one than the other.

I just started drawing comics over at :iconcomic-jedi:, and the visual art does NOT take center stage at all....the story does. I use the visual art as a means of telling the story I want to tell....and don't care about it much beyond that. Improvement, if it happens, will be unintentional.
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:iconpilotslover:
Pilotslover Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You really should care about it though.

If you just want to write a story then become an author, someone who draws comics should care about the over all package and not just one element or the other.

That'd be like me saying I want to write a book but I'll only use words I already know the meaning of without making the conscious effort to improve and learn new ones.

The idea that the story is more important then the art is a little ... obtuse, really; you need both to succeed and without consciously making the effort to improve the rate at which you'll organically improve is just far too slow.
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:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I have no aspirations to be a professional author. This is something I do for fun.

Instead of posting the millionth ad in the projects forum saying "I have a comic idea and I'm looking for an artist"...I decided to make my life easier and draw them myself.

Also, part of writing the comics for me, is deciding exact expressions and posture for the characters. So I would either have to micromanage any third party artist I found, or not be 100% satisfied with the result.

I'm not saying I look at graphic novels, and think that the story is more important than the art. I appreciate both in the abstract...but when I write graphic novels, I personally enjoy the story more than the art.
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:iconpilotslover:
Pilotslover Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That's not the point I was making.

But to suggest you wouldn't actively try to get better is really illogical to me, why would you even bother in the first place if you have no intention of getting better?

You say when you read graphic novels you think both elements are important but then say you enjoy the story more then the art when you create your own, that just seems a bit odd to me; I can't fathom how that wouldn't translate over to the readers.
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:iconstarlit-sorceress:
Starlit-Sorceress Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I do enjoy the drawing, and when I think of new things to try, I try them, but it's always within the scope of the comic. I don't take time to do any kind of drawing specifically for the sake of improving...and come to think of it, it's the same with the writing. I'm just better at writing than drawing.

Does that make more sense? My point is that an amateur (which is basically French for hobbyist) in a genre can still enjoy their work and produce awesome stuff without having to be super professional and devote time to improvement.
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