Hi There, taliesinian!
First off, thank you very much!
You have asked, what I consider to be, one of those big-ass questions. I’m gonna try to answer this as best as I’m able to… but there’s a good chance it won’t end up anywhere helpful.
HERE I GO ANYWAY!
Is that the natural way that I view and draw figures? It’s how I’ve pretty much always drawn because I like the way it looks, but it isn’t necessarily the way that I naturally draw figures. More and more it’s becoming the way I do things naturally. Frequently I’ll draw from reference pretty photo accurate, then start simplifying trying to find the right shapes and forms. Applying things I’ve learned and concepts of art I understand until it looks good. Someone said that nature doesn’t paint a pretty picture. That’s up to you. I like that.
Anyway, I grew up on cartoons more than comics, I prefer the simplified, stretchy, ultra dynamic stuff… but I have no formal training so that’s kinda my process and it it’s a big pain.
Is it from emulating other artists? It was either Picasso or Faulker or Stravinsky who morphed a funny line about poetry into the now famous, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” I’d be lying if I said that isn’t a significant part of what I have done to get to this point… But the important thing, and it’s REAL important, is understanding WHAT stealing means. It’s not drawing hands the way Jim Lee does. It’s picking apart and understanding how and why he draws hands the way he does, THEN putting it through the lens of me…. or you in this case.
It’s taking Bill Sienkiewicz’s technique for drawing ribbons and altering it so it fits the picture of Phoenix. I could go on telling you about every piece of that picture and how you can see Sean Galloway, Skottie Young, Otto Schmidt, Mike Mignola, Mingjue Chen, Adam Ford, Cory Loftis, Claire Hummel………
It’s a long list and there are more than the ones I just rattled off the top of my head. Anyway, it’s trying to understand the hows and whys of the way they do things and not simply doing what they do…. if that makes sense. That’s how I think about it anyway.
It is something I have to work on. Yes. I have to work on it every day. It’s how you get good at drawing and also how you find out who you are as an artist. And I’ll tell you that I’m not there yet. I drew a hand today that I had no idea who I referenced it from other than myself. I think every day I become more and more myself and less and less like any other artist, but I don’t think I could have gotten even to where I am (which is NOT that far) if I hadn’t being picking apart every picture I love to figure out how it works. I still do it.
But there’s a REALLY important second step that’s all about MY work. I have to do the opposite of everything I just said with my own pictures…. There was one this weekend I did that I hated. Like I REALLY hated it. Like set it on fire and never speak of it again hated it. BUT. I went through the exercise of STARING at that thing I hated until I figured out why it was bad and why I wanted it to burn in the white hot fire of a thousand suns. Then I went on, did another and thought it came out pretty ok. It was a tough 10-20 minutes, though. Boy howdy.
tl;dr: Draw everyday. Learn why you like what you like and don’t like what you don’t like then draw with that understanding.