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Do you believe that art can fundamentally change your sense of who you are?

Vote! (95,370 votes) 1,171 comments
41,002 Deviants Online
:icontechgnotic:







The Serenely Powerful Art of `yuumei


In the top half of an hourglass, a polar bear and her cub perch perilously atop a wedge of melting ice, its dripping water becoming the "sand" that is inexorably drowning an urban couch potato figure in the hourglass's bottom chamber. The beautiful yet arresting digital painting is "Countdown" by yuumei and it is currently one of the most popular pieces on deviantART. It is "archetypal yuumei" in its perfectly balanced blending of a striking lyrically beautiful visual with an underlying urgent social or political message.



Her specialty is digital art in an anime style, but she often employs traditional watercolors and other elements. Her cause is saving and preserving what's left of the Earth's wildlife and its environment; she donates large portions of profits from her artworks to a host of wildlife and environmental organizations and urges all deviants and others to do the same. But what has really been her stand-out achievement setting her apart are her beautifully illustrated literary works that she publishes on deviantART that have been translated into over 20 different languages by deviants from all over the globe.
































1000 W0RDS



"1000 W0RDS" tells the story of a child of divorce's longing and loss in a series of interactive flash comics panels combining `yuumei's anime-style characters with a running text of poignant dialogue between a child and an artist. The narrative is clever, acute, thoughtful and does not cop-out with a final dive into sentimentality, but instead finds a healing revelation in personal growth and a commitment to creating one's own happiness. It has become a deviantART favorite with almost one million readers having viewed it since its debut two years ago.




Someone once told me art is about content not skills. And a picture is worth a thousand words.










KNITE



"KNITE" is a flash comics tale set in China and being released chapter by chapter on deviantART. It's the story of a troubled youth whose avenue of rebellion is to light up the night sky with his Christmas light-festooned kite, an act which inspires others to fill the heavens with their own "stars". The symbolism of flights of freedom beyond totalitarian fences is subtle and effective without detracting from the simple enjoyable storyline. The framing of scenes and the perfectly juxtaposed lines of text with characters' telling facial expressions is worthy of finer Hollywood cinema drama. And yuumei often provides a brief explanatory commentary at each chapter's end. One can be swept along in the flow of beautiful images, linger over the thoughtful literary text, and then be further enlightened by the author's "final thoughts."




















Flash of Lightning, Resonant Thunder (cont.)


Whether she's projecting guiding stars into the firmament above China, saving the whales off the Pacific coast or the polar bears losing their icy domain in the Arctic, yuumei epitomizes the one world artists' community spirit of deviantART. She is an artist for our times, engaging issues with her art as massive as the global collapse of the environment – and as intimate as the collapse of hope in the heart of a heartbroken child. Hers is an artist's heart that refuses to stop loving and hers is an artist's head that refuses to stop dreaming. The deviantART community and the human narrative itself is infinitely strengthened by her contributions to the arts, and to the world.




Love - Mom and Dad by yuumei
Sunday Afternoon by yuumei
Project WE Character Sketch 7 by yuumei
Knite: Bringer of Stars by yuumei
































An Interview with `yuumei



As an artist with a bright future as a storyteller – a future that is already proceeding as a model of new paradigms in art technology and literary publishing – we had many questions for yuumei (and happily, she answered some).










techgnotic:

As a storyteller creating narratives such as "1000 W0RDS" and "KNITE," do you think of yourself primarily as an artist or a writer? Or will you continue to develop your obvious talents at both in tandem?




yuumei:

There is a thin line between drawing and writing, if there is a line at all. Both art and words exist for the purpose of communication. However, I do see myself as more of an artist than a writer. Truth be told, I am completely awkward with words. I often can't find the right words to express my emotions, and I marvel at those that can speak and write so eloquently. My roommates enjoy poking fun at my strange grammar on a daily basis. It's fortunate that I don't need to be a poet to plot a story. Images and colloquial dialogues flow through my mind, and that's how I create my stories. The art of storytelling is not just about the words or visuals; it's about the thoughts behind them which is why one doesn't need to be an artist nor a writer to be a storyteller. The popular comics and memes employ simple words with simple pictures, but they express an entire world of relatable situations. If it gets the point across, then it's brilliant. Nevertheless, I will continue to try to improve my language skills along with my drawing skills. The transition from Chinese to English was a short one, but the journey for self-improvement is always endless.





















techgnotic:

Your "politics" of wildlife conservancy and environmental activism is evident in most of your art, yet the message does not overpower the visual beauty of your art. How have you achieved this balance which so many other "artists with causes" fail to maintain?










yuumei:

Though there are many things in the world that I hate, such as oil spills and shark finning, I do not truly believe in the existence good vs. evil. I think this mentality of mine allows me to find visual beauty in subjects that I personally despise. During the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, I couldn't help but notice the elegant way each disgusting drop of oil moved through the water. It's easy for my human mind to associate the oil with the destruction of what I love, and therefore symbolize it as "evil", but that is just my own ego speaking. If I stepped back and looked at the grand picture, I can let go of that ego and capture the actual beauty in everything. I don't believe that it lessens the environmental message by doing so, but it does increase the chances of getting people's attention.





























An Interview with `yuumei (cont.)











techgnotic:

"1000 W0RDS" deals with the social trauma of divorce affecting children. Have responses on your basing a "comic" narrative on this painful subject been mostly positive and supportive or has there been any significant backlash?





yuumei:

I am happy to say that the responses have been 99% positive. Before I made "1000 W0RDS", I created "Tape it Back Together" and I received a lot of encouraging feedback. Children of broken families would tell me about their personal experiences which all served as inspiration for "1000 W0RDS" and "Rumination". My greatest joy was when a child told me how my stories saved her parents' marriage after she showed it to them. Be it positive or negative comments, the feedback from dA has been the greatest encouragement for me to improve. People are honest on dA, and if they disagree with me, they will say it. Their critiques have taught me to be humble, but have also taught me to stand firm for what I truly believe in.
























techgnotic:

One might ask: Once a story has been read online, why would anyone buy a traditionally published version of that story? And yet a publisher will be releasing "KNITE" as soon as the online chapters are completed. Is this because your fans will buy the "finished" edition, having "invested" themselves in the interactive author/reader creation of the online story, contributing praise, support and suggestions with each chapter? Has building a pre-existing e-readership online become a benefit rather than a hindrance to traditional print?















yuumei:

An e-readership is definitely a benefit, and the proof is in the rising web comic industry. As my publisher, Eric San Gregorio at 4th Dimension Entertainment, would be happy to tell you; the comic readers of today don't want to spend money on what they don't already like. I share the same feelings myself. If I truly love a story, I will buy the printed book just to support the artist. If I have never read the story before, I feel less willing to spend my money on something that I may not even enjoy. Beyond that, it's simply impossible to keep anything off of the internet in the information age. All of my favorite printed mangas are scanned and translated for free by volunteers within days of publication. The standard view these days is that all information should be free for public viewing, and since art is just another form of information, it's only natural for every comic to be free online as well. As long as your work is engaging, the readers will be happy to support you by buying a printed copy or some other merchandise. This is something my publisher has fully embraced, and if you check their listings at Team4D you will find most of them to be webcomics of various genres. The transition from print to digital in the comic industry is like a revolution. Now artists don't need sell their rights to publishers to get their work out, and it's all thanks to great art sharing sites like deviantART.

































An Interview with `yuumei (cont.)





techgnotic:

How much of a help is it to an author/artist to have the continuing instant feedback and personal interaction with millions of deviants worldwide during the chapter by chapter creation of an online narrative? Do you make story adjustments in ways you might not have originally envisioned because of fans' suggestions?







yuumei:

The wonderful feedback from the dA community have been the best influence in not just being an artist, but also in being a person. I can honestly say that I was practically raised by the dA community since I was 12. They have helped me from simple technical details like fixing my anatomy or correcting a typo, to adding an entire character to a story. The best example would be when the Knite group Knite-Fliers ran by 1illa hosted a create your own Knite character contest. I thought it would be fun to offer the winner's character a cameo in my story. I was stunned by the talented aozorize's spectacular character design of Zhen so I got her permission to make him a main character. The addition didn't change my prewritten plot for Knite, but her character definitely made the story much more dynamic and exiting. People have expressed concerns that I was no longer writing my own story, but simply trying to please the public. That's far from being the case. I am open to critiques on how to improve, but I do not change my stories to simply please the crowd. It's hard to draw the line between self confidence and arrogance, but once you have found a balance, the vast expanse of opinions on dA will help you more than any professors at fancy art schools.























Spring Blossom by yuumei
Autumn Spell by yuumei
Summer Glow by yuumei
Winter Rose by yuumei










techgnotic:

Once your stories have made the leap from online narrative to traditional published print media, would you like your characters continuing on into movies or games in either animated or live action incarnations?






yuumei:

I would love to see my stories animated and made into live action movies or video games. I believe the goal of most artists is to have their work be seen by the world, and different mediums would definitely expand the audience. From novels, to comics, and finally movies, each medium has its unique way of communicating information. The interactivity of games also adds another layer to the experience. People that don't like to read novels might like to watch movies, and while each medium's appeal is different, the message conveyed can be the same.













techgnotic:

What are your thoughts when you check the "FlagCounter" tracker on your webpage showing so many people from so many nations looking at your art worldwide?





yuumei:

It's a very flattering experience, but my nerdy self is more interested in the social implications, which is actually why I got the flag counter in the first place. I wanted to study the flow of information in cyber culture and their relations to location. For example, the top 4 countries are English speakers, showing that the language barrier has the biggest impact on dA traffic. What's interesting is that though China has the highest population in the world, Chinese people make up a very small percent of the visitors, falling far behind other smaller non-English speaking countries. China is still a developing country, so many people do not have internet, but beyond that, China's Internet Police often blocks access to dA to prevent the Chinese people from learning about democracy and free speech. I was very frustrated when I couldn't visit dA at times of political turmoil while visiting China. All of this is very relevant to my research about cyber activism, which is the topic of my next comic, Fisheye Placebo. I hope everyone wasn't too turned off by my nerdy ramble. I promise the actual story is much more interesting than analyzing a flag counter. ;)


































WARNING! This giveaway is OVER! :) :)



Edit 10.1.2013:

Thank you everyone for participating in this point giveaway!!! :la: It was tremenduos how many people took part!! :D

SOOOOOOOO.... The 10 winners of 100 points each areeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.......

*drum roll*

:iconchisaii: :iconxkrittterz: :iconfiregoddess2148: :iconsilverkiwi78: :iconneocargalpha: :iconcell-fey: :iconstephanie-chivas: :iconmaroy: :iconenigmaticsmile: :iconulrich-ironpaw:

CONGRATULATIONS!!! :iconlachoirplz:

Pls dont be disappointed if you didnt win! Stay tuned for the next event I am going to host anytime soon!! :D Thank you so much for your support!! :heart:

*Edit over*




-----



1000 POINTS GIVEAWAY!! 10 WINNERS!! :D





:la: :la: Let's PARTY HARD, cause as I am close to reach incredible 30,000 watchers I thought I should give something back to this awesome community by doing a point giveaway again!! :la: :la:


Just +FAV this journal

And you need to be a watcher of mine to be able to win! :D




---> 10 winners will be chosen totally randomly, each of them receiving 100 points!

---> The giveaway will be over three days after this journal is submitted!


Have fun! And if you want you can tell your friends/watchers about this! :D :heart:

Thank you for your support! :heart:




---



This doesnt belong to the giveaway/contest, but still it may be interesting for you to read! :D

My personal dA 3 1/2 years flashback:

My first submission:

Winters Wrath by sanguisGelidus

With this picture it all started... My style was much much different back then and I was not really advanced in using Photoshop and my tablet, but I thought it was the first picture worth posting here on dA. I was mostly inspired by sandara by then, who is still one of my biggest rolemodels. :heart:

My first popular deviation:

Avatar Neytiri by sanguisGelidus

This picture is the one, which started all the popularity and the overwhelming support I gained over the years. Avatar became the most popular movie of all time and I had much luck and kinda chose the perfect moment to draw and submit my Neytiri piece. Over night I got more than 1500 favourites and over 100 comments, which was the most exciting thing ever! My other pieces never got more than 50 favs back then. Till today the picture was downloaded more than 40,000 times, which is my most downloaded picture. This was really the starting point, because I also gained many more watchers and interest in my art. I still didn't really find my own style, I was still experimenting. :)

Fotolia Contest.. best decision ever:

God of Evanescence by sanguisGelidus

I would call this the first picture, that really developed my own personal style. And it is one of my favourite pieces, even today! I submitted it to the Fotolia contest here on dA and it got the most popular of all entries over night. It was so exciting and overwhelming to read all the supportive comments and the picture is still among my most popular (most seen, most commented) pieces. It has also been my icon ever since! :D Even though I didn't win the contest, it still was the best decision to participate!

First Pokemon inspired piece:

I am here with you by sanguisGelidus

Pokemon has always been my favourite game. It influenced my childhood and youth in a manner, that no other game or show could ever do. Till then I mostly drew fantasy pictures, dragons and stuff like that. I wasn't sure if my watchers would also appreciate Pokemon fanart, but when I submitted this painting I was tought differently! In no more than 3 days it had over 8000 favourites and 500 comments and was my first deviation to be the most popular of 1 week and even 1 month. Since then Pokemon became a major inspiration for me, not just because it was a popular topic, but because I always enjoyed drawing it and now saw, that people actually wanted to see more! :heart:

Simplicity makes the picture:

Night Bringer by sanguisGelidus

This piece is one of my personal favourites. It is also one of the pictures, I spent no more than 5 hours on, so it is rather simple compared to many other pictures by me. But I learned, that a picture is much more about the atmosphere and idea than a massive amount of detail. This piece is also my most sold print, as it was featured by the staff of dA on the dA print shop. I am so happy to be able to even earn money with my hobby, it is still unbelievable for me!!

My first Daily Deviation:

Forgotten Fairytales by sanguisGelidus

This piece by me was the first one to be featured as a Daily Deviation. It was the greatest honour for me, when I logged in and saw my piece down between all the awesome pictures, which were chosen to be featured. Till today I have received 4 DD's, of which each one is more than appreciated! :heart:

Princess Mononoke:

Princess Mononoke by sanguisGelidus

This is my all time favourite picture of mine. The movie "Princess Mononoke" had a great impact on my childhood and I loved that movie ever since I can remember. When I finally got to draw a fanart, I was really satisfied with it and had so much fun drawing it! It also hugely developed my style and I improved in drawing humans! And it is my most popular deviation, with nearly 18,000 favourites as of this moment. I can't believe that many people decided to fav it! It is just incredible!! :la:

Universe:

Universe by sanguisGelidus

This is the first traditional picture I was really really satisfied with! After all the years of drawing digitally I was not used to traditional art anymore, but my sister PixieCold kinda got me into it again! This picture means a lot to me and it also proves, that simple things often are better than the hyper complex ones! ^^

...

That was it about my little "flashback".. ^^ I really hope you enjoyed reading it! :D I am so happy about all the exposure, feedback and awesome opportunities this site has given me as an artist! Every one of my watchers contributes highly to my success and improvement and you all inspire me to keep going!! Thank you so much for everything! Without you I would be nothing! :heart: :heart:

I FINISHED IT!!!!! :iconfinallyplz:

:iconpurplerose1plz::iconpurplerose2plz::iconpurplerose3plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose1plz::iconpurplerose4plz::iconpurplerose5plz::iconpurplerose6plz:
[SSB x AoT Op.2] Perfect Attendance Crew by AmazingArtistYellow[SSB x AoT Op.2] Lucario and Zelda/Sheik by AmazingArtistYellow[SSB x AoT Op.2] Pit by AmazingArtistYellow
:iconpurplerose1plz::iconpurplerose2plz::iconpurplerose3plz::iconrose1plz::iconrose1plz::iconpurplerose4plz::iconpurplerose5plz::iconpurplerose6plz:


I can't believe I'm done...after 6 months of working (Could've been 4 or 5 if school wasn't in the way all the time...T__T) I'm done...:faint:
My initial deadline was by the end of April, but....I finished a lot earlier than that. I FEEL INVINCIBLE NOW!!!! :mwahaha:
If you're gonna comment, it would be nice if you were to comment on the actual YouTube page. But if you can't because of reasons, then it's okay....I guess....
Feel free to share on Tumblr or other websites as long as you link back to the original video page.
Please do not reupload as your own. I worked very hard on this after all.

Now for a challenge! If anyone is willing to make a fluent Hetalia Fantasia (Yes, I'm gonna be specific, HETALIA FANTASIA) version of this----> [SSB x AoT Op.2] Perfect Attendance Crew by AmazingArtistYellow (With the characters in this order: America, France, England, Russia, China, Germany, Japan, Italy) before I do, I will grant you my eternal respect (Along with some other stuff, like, I dunno, points, a llama, maybe a free request....)

Join a SOPA and PIPA debate

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 7:04 PM by makepictures:iconmakepictures:


:bulletgreen:  What are SOPA and PIPA?


The United States Congress is proposing two laws that address the problem of wide-scale unlicensed distribution on the Internet of motion pictures, songs, trademarked goods, and patented pharmaceuticals.  
  1. One of the proposals is called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and would direct search engines in the United States to block Internet sites outside the United States that are primarily engaged in distributing unlicensed content.
  2. Another proposal called PIPA (Protect IP Act) would block websites located in the United States as well.
The Obama administration is putting a stop to these proposals.  It wants the Internet companies and the content companies to get together and come up with more functional and less destructive solutions.


:bulletgreen:  What would happen?


In both proposals, if they became law, the government of the United States would determine on application if a website was primarily engaged in unlicensed distribution.  A court might hold a hearing but only if the people who run the website showed up.  Otherwise, the site would be blocked by an order directing all websites in the United States with search capabilities or links to refuse to resolve any results or clicks to the blocked address.

Blocking addresses is hard to do without damaging every address on the Internet.  The blocking methods suggested in these two proposals would completely confuse existing Internet functions. They would encourage multiple hacks to get around the blocks (and the proposals, it turns out, would be ineffective against very simple work-arounds).  Maybe a few copyrights get saved but the price is opening massive wormholes in the Internet permitting hackers to re-direct traffic all over the place -- to malware, spyware, and phishing operations.


:bulletgreen:  Who's affected by these proposals?


Identifying sites that "primarily" infringe on copyrights is full of complexity. Nobody agrees on what "primarily" means. Many sites like Wikileaks and other activist, political, and cultural websites need to copy material that is copyrighted by others who oppose their goals in order to criticize them or to bring important documents into the light.  Some organizations, particularly political and religious ones, would use these laws if they were passed to try to block sites that republish controversial writings of a dictator or of a priest that they would prefer to keep under wraps.

Even harmless Internet behavior can be "primarily" an infringing activity: for example, a Tumblr account with still frames taken off of Glee. The unique address of the Tumblr account potentially could be blocked under these proposed laws.  


:bulletgreen:  What are the implications of SOPA?


SOPA, which would only block websites outside the United States, is a complete embarrassment to a country that has avidly supported the freedom of all peoples to express themselves openly particularly in the face of oppressive regimes.  The role of the Internet in populist liberation movements is well-known and the tools used by these movements come from the people and companies that built the Internet and the Web -- not from motion picture companies and sellers of consumer goods.  If the United States blocks websites over a Tom Cruise movie or a Rihanna song, other countries are certain to be encouraged by this to find cultural and political reasons to block websites from the Unites States and will refuse to open their borders, virtual or otherwise.

The Internet that has connected the world would become disconnected under these dangerous proposals.

The Internet is fragile.  The worldwide protection of copyrights and trademarked goods is extensive and the laws for them already are powerful. By comparison, laws that protect an open Internet are few and far between.

The compromises that the White House calls for are going to be very difficult to reach.  The motion picture studios and record companies are getting actors, directors, and singers to support SOPA and similar measures and have announced that they are not going to back down.  Internet users are up in arms and protests are scheduled for January 18, 2012.


:bulletgreen:  SOPA and the deviantART community


The community on deviantART is in a special position.  Our members make art -- copyrighted content -- and they want it to be protected.  But everyone on deviantART uses the Internet to expose themselves, their work and sometimes their souls to the world and we depend on an open platform for the very existence of the community.  

DeviantART as a site and as a company promotes the rights of artists.  However, SOPA and PIPA are poor "solutions", and we should all work towards other ways in which to resolve valid concerns about infringing conduct on the Internet that do not potentially harm free speech or the Internet itself.  

Where do you stand?

How much power should copyright owners have?

How open must the Internet be?

Is free speech, a public right, more important than the personal rights of an artist?

Many claim that a culture can only grow and speak at all by protecting private rights in art, books, movies and music.  Do you agree?


Joshua S. Wattles (makepictures)
Advisor in Chief
deviantART.com


Get educated:



The Electronic Frontier Foundation's update on SOPA:
SOPA Manager's Amendment: It's Still A Blacklist and It's Still A Disaster

Motion Picture Association of America's statement:
MPAA Response to White House Position on Anti-Piracy Legislation



Make your voice heard:

Stamp: Stop SOPA by TheRyanFord Stamp: The Great SOPA Debate by TheRyanFord Stamp: I Heart SOPA by TheRyanFord


STOP SOPA Bill by sakimichan

:star: Update


Stop S.O.P.A. by Heir-of-Phoenixa Stop S.O.P.A. by Heir-of-Phoenixa Stop S.O.P.A. by Heir-of-Phoenixa

Take a look at the deviantART front page using "Newest" in the Browse to see a remarkable community protest of SOPA and PIPA.

:star: As of January 20th, it now seems that SOPA and PIPA will not move forward through Congress.  As previously mentioned, the White House opposed these bills before the protest began in earnest this past Wednesday. The White House reflects the position of the majority of the Democratic Party. Last night at the Republican Party primary debate in South Carolina (watch a video clip here) all of the candidates came out against the bills. The frontrunner, Mitt Romney, was particularly forceful on the notion of an open Internet.  In the video you can hear the crowd reactions as being quite negative towards SOPA and PIPA.  So both of the major U.S. political parties are now aligned as against the proposals.

Meanwhile, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America has called for the White House to intervene and help big content and big tech reach compromises. See this New York Times article for more information about the issue.

Given the extraordinary grass-roots response to these proposals, almost overwhelmingly negative as reflected in all of the comments to this Journal and others on deviantART, this is a political hot potato everyone in politics will now want to stay away from.


Notes on Character Design

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 1:24 PM
I received the question pictured below at my tumblr blog.  In case it's useful to anyone here, I decided to go ahead and use this otherwise dormant journal to share the article I put together in response.
-------------------------------------

character design question


Character design and drawing are tome-sized topics and even if I had all the answers (I don't - I have a lot to learn), I'm not sure I could communicate them effectively. Here are some thoughts an ideas that might help, though.


First, some general things...

- Relax.
Let some of that anxiety go. This isn't a hard science. There's no wrong way, no rigid process you must adhere to, no shoulds or shouldn'ts except those you designate for yourself. This is one of the fun parts of being an artist, really - have a heady good time with it.

- Be patient.
A design is something gradually arrived at. It takes time and iteration and revision. You'll throw a lot of stuff away, and you'll inevitably get frustrated at times, but bear in mind the process is both inductive and deductive. Drawing the wrong things is part of the path toward drawing the right thing.

cat sketches

- Learn to draw.
It might seem perfunctory to say, but I'm not sure everyone's on the same page about what this means. Learning to draw isn't a sort of rote memorization process in which, one by one, you learn a recipe for humans, horses, pokemon, cars, etc. It's much more about learning to think like an artist, to develop the sort of spacial intelligence that lets you observe and effectively translate to paper, whatever the subject matter. When you're really learning to draw, you're learning to draw anything and everything. Observing and sketching trains you to understand dimension, form, gesture, mood, how anatomy works, economy of line; all of the foundational stuff you will also rely on to draw characters from your imagination. So, spend some time honing your drawing ability. Hone it with observational sketching. Hone it good.

  • I don't think I've ever seen anyone do this sort of thing better than Claire Wendling. In fact, character designs emerge almost seamlessly from her gestural sketches. It'd be worth looking her up.

- Gather inspiration like a crazed magpie.
What will ultimately be your trademark style and technique is a sort of snowball accumulation of the various things you expose yourself to, learn and draw influence from. To that effect, Google images, tumblr, pinterest and stock photo sites are your friends. When something tingles your artsy senses - a style, a shape, a texture, an appealing palette, a composition, a pose, a cool looking animal, a unique piece of apparel, whatever - grab it. Looking at a lot of material through a creative lens will make you a better artist the same way reading a lot of material makes a better writer.
It'll also devour your hard drive and you will try and fail many times to organize it, but more importantly, it'll give you a lovely library of ideas and motivational shinies to peruse when you're conjuring characters.

- Imitate.
It's a powerful learning tool. Probably for many of us, drawing popular cartoon characters was the gateway habit that lured us into the depraved world of character design to begin with. I wouldn't suggest limiting yourself to one style or neglecting your own inventions to do this, but it's an effective way to limber up, to get comfortable drawing characters in general, and to glean something from the thought processes of other artists.

- Use references.
Don't leave it all up to guessing. Whether you're trying to design something with realistic anatomy or something rather profoundly abstracted from reality, it's helpful in a multitude of ways to look at pictures. When designing characters, you can infer a lot personality from photos, too.
horse reference horses

And despite what you might have heard, having eyeballs and using them to look at things doesn't constitute cheating. There's no shame in reference material. There's at least a little shame in unintentional abstractions, though.

shame


Concepts and Approach:

- Break it down
Sometimes you have the look of a character fleshed out in your mind before putting it to paper, but usually not. That doesn't mean you have to blow your cortical fuses trying conceive multiple diverse designs all at the same time, though. You don't even have to design the body shape, poses, face, and expressions of a single character all at once. Tackle it a little at a time.

The cartoony, googly eyed style was pre-established for the simple mobile game goblin character below, but I still broke it into phases. Start with concepts, filter out what you like until you arrive at a look, experiment with colors, gestures and expressions.

Carl the goblin accountant cyber-monkey-death-bots


- Start with the general and work toward the specific.
Scribbling out scads of little thumbnails and silhouettes to capture an overall character shape is an effective way begin - it's like jotting down visual notes. When you're working at a small scale without agonizing over precision and details, there's no risk of having to toss out a bunch of hard work, so go nuts with it. Give yourself a lot of options.

Above sample silhouettes from an old cancelled project in which I was tasked with designing some kind of cyber monkey death bot. I scratched out some solid black shapes then refined some of them a step or two further.



Design:

- Shapes are language.
They come preloaded with all sorts of biological, cultural and personal connotations. They evoke certain things from us too. If you’re ever stuck about where to go with your design, employ a sort of anthroposcopy along these lines - make a visual free association game out of it. It’ll not only tend to result in a distinguished design, but a design that communicates something about the nature of the character.

Think about what you infer from different shapes. What do they remind you of? What personalities or attitudes come to mind? How does the mood of a soft curve differ from that of a sharp angle? With those attributes attached, how could they be used or incorporated into a body or facial feature shape? What happens when you combine shapes in complementary or contrasting ways? How does changing the weight distribution among a set of shapes affect look and feel? Experiment until a concept starts to resonate with the character you have in mind or until you stumble on something you like.

Lucky Charms rejects


If you don’t have intent, take the opposite approach - draw some shapes and see where they go. (It’s stupid fun.)

monster shapes


- Cohesion and Style.
As you move from thumbnails to more refined drawings, you can start extrapolating details from the general form. Look for defining shapes, emergent themes or patterns and tease them out further, repeat them, mirror them, alternate them. Make the character entirely out of boxy shapes, incorporate multiple elements of an architectural style, use rhythmically varying line weights - there are a million ways to do this

Here's some of the simple shape repetition I've used for Lackadaisy characters.

And for potato shaped characters, use potato shaped shapes.

- Expressions.
Let them emerge from your design. If your various characters have distinguishing features, the expressions they make with those features will distinguish them further. Allow personality to influence expressions too, or vice versa. Often, a bit of both happens as you continue drawing - physiognomy and personality converge somewhere in the middle.

For instance, Viktor’s head is proportioned a little like a big cat. Befitting his personality, his design lets him make rather bestial expressions. Rocky, with his flair for drama, has a bit more cartoon about him. His expressions are more elastic, his cheeks squish and deform and his big eyebrows push the boundaries of his forehead. Mitzi is gentler all around with altogether fewer lines on her face. The combination of her large sleepy eyes and pencil line brow looked a little sad and a little condescending to me when I began working out her design - ultimately those aspects became incorporated into her personality.

expressions


I discuss expression drawing in more detail here (click the image for the link):

expressions

- Poses.
Rendering poses is another one of those things for which observational/gesture drawing comes in handy. Even if you’re essentially scribbling stick figures, you can get a handle on natural looking, communicative poses this way. Stick figure poses make excellent guidelines for plotting out full fledged character drawings too.

Look for the line of action. It’ll be easiest to identify in poses with motions, gestures and moods that are immediately decipherable. When you’ve learned to spot it, you can start reverse engineering your own poses around it.

line of action

- Additional resources.
Here are some related things about drawing poses and constructing characters (click the images for the links).

expressions


expressions


Lastly…

Tortured rumination about lack of ability/style/progress is a near universal state of creative affairs. Every artist I have known and worked with falls somewhere on a spectrum between frustration in perpetuity and a shade of fierce ongoing contrition that'd make Arthur Dimmesdale wince. So, next time you find yourself constructing a scourge out of all those crusty acrylic brushes you failed to clean properly, you loathsome, deluded hack, you, at least remember you’re not alone in feeling that way. When it’s not crushing the will to live out of you, the device does have its uses - it keeps you self-critical and locked in working to improve mode. If we were all quite satisfied with our output, I suppose we’d be out of reasons to try harder next time.

When you need some reassurance, compare old work to new. Evolution is gradual and difficult to perceive if you’re narrowed in on the nearest data point, but if you’ve been steadily working on characters for a few months or a year, you’ll likely see a favorable difference between points A and B.

Most of all, don’t dwell on achieving some sort of endgame in which you’re finally there as a character artist. There’s no such place - wherever you are, there is somewhere else. It’s a moving goal post. Your energy will be better spent just enjoying the process…and that much will show in the results.

:bulletred::bulletorange::bulletyellow::bulletgreen::bulletblue::bulletpurple::bulletpink:
:star:On the following days, draw/write your OTP:

:bulletgreen:01 - Holding hands
:bulletgreen:02 - Cuddling somewhere
:bulletgreen:03 - Gaming/watching a movie
:bulletgreen:04 - On a date
:bulletgreen:05 - Kissing
:bulletgreen:06 - Wearing eachothers’ clothes
:bulletgreen:07 - Cosplaying
:bulletgreen:08 - Shopping
:bulletgreen:09 - Hanging out with friends
:bulletgreen:10 - With animal ears
:bulletgreen:11 - Wearing kigurumis
:bulletgreen:12 - Making out
:bulletgreen:13 - Eating icecream
:bulletgreen:14 - Genderswapped
:bulletgreen:15 - In a different clothing style (Visual Kei, gyaru, lolita, ect. )
:bulletgreen:16 - During their morning ritual(s)
:bulletgreen:17 - Spooning
:bulletgreen:18 - Doing something together (this can be anything from watching tv to having sex.  Just remember to tag appropriately.)
:bulletgreen:19 - In formal wear
:bulletgreen:20 - Dancing
:bulletgreen:21 - Cooking/baking
:bulletgreen:22 - In battle, side-by-side
:bulletgreen:23 - Arguing
:bulletgreen:24 - Making up afterwards
:bulletgreen:25 - Gazing into eachothers’ eyes
:bulletgreen:26 - Getting married
:bulletgreen:27 - On one of their birthdays
:bulletgreen:28 - Doing something ridiculous
:bulletgreen:29 - Doing something sweet
:bulletgreen:30 - Doing something hot (once again, be sure to tag if you make it extremely NSFW!)
:star:

The Resource Roundup #2

Mon Nov 21, 2011, 5:00 PM by mattdanna:iconmattdanna:
The Resource Roundup is a regular feature showcasing some of the best resources deviantART members share with the world!

Whether you're a beginning artist or seasoned pro, deviantART's Resources Gallery is an inspirational and benefitial asset for art creation.  Take a look at a few of the incredible submissions below – they might help enhance your next artistic creation!



Brushes

My Awesome Pencil Brush set by Denki89RANDOM BRUSHES by dweddleUnderwater Realistic Bubble PS by FrostBoCloud Abstract set by VPDesign by droz928Tree Brush - Brushes Pack by WinerlaDrops Splash and  Rain PS by FrostBoStitch in Time by gothika-brushStar Brushes by kuschelirmel-stockFractal Brush Pack 02 by above-and-beyond

Textures

Metallic Spiderweb Texture VII by Melyssah6-StockThe smell of love by Grosojecorroded landscape by awjayPaper Pack 3 by dieratlight texture by Insan-StockAcrylic Gold Paint Swirl Stock by Enchantedgal-StockLocal Texture: Three by One by Beyond-OdditiesSun comes up-texture by iNeedChemicalXGlitter Bokeh by FallOutGirl9001TEXTURES 7 by Inthename-Stock

Tutorials

Sharpie Wig Dyeing Tutorial by FireLilyCosplayPen Tool Tutorial by Popo-LiciousCopic markers tutorial by mary-dreamsDreamy Photo Effect Tutorial by Planet37How To: Constructive Crits by RipfangDragonPhotoshop Animation Tutorial by detransRealism Tutorial - Esp::Eng by Calaymo3ds Max Planet Tutorial by hoevelkampIce tutorial by NakubiScarypet's 'ROCK'ing tutorial+ by scarypet

Lightroom Presets

Indian Summer - My first LR preset by DorottyaSLR preset: Purple Nature -free by kakiii2 Universal .RAW presets .LR3. by ABipolarTeddyBearLightroom Presets - Package 1 by dzutrinhGeneral Workflow Lightroom Preset of 12 by Lady-ToriLR preset: Vintage by NatashaSmithPhoto

Stock Photos

Stairway to Heathens - Exclusive HDR by somadjinnStock - Grey Crowned Crane 2 by AmandaDrage25 Aquatic Plants in PNG by FrostBoMushrooms by simfonicUnder the Downtown Bridge by krissybdesignsstockExplosion Stock - Set 2 by JosiahReevesStacy Facial Expressions by etherealism Old Walls by Burtn Milk4 by 4t0m1c-w07f Clock I by Black-Ofelia-Stock

Round #02 1200 points give away, winners announced

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 5, 2013, 4:12 AM

Scroll down for the winners <3
More points to give away <3
:bulletpink: 10x100 points to 10 lucky deviants
:bulletpink: 2x100 points to 2 random deviants I choose  that commented here <3

Christmas gift by lieveheersbeestje


What you have to do is:
:bulletpink: Fave this journal so I know you're in!


Good luck! I will pick the 10  winners (100 :points: each) with random.org and 2 myself, 2x100 :points:) = 12 winners :3
Deadline: 7th January '13 same as my other points give away journal:  fav.me/d5qdo8q < you may join both of course!


Nom nom by lieveheersbeestje Booboo scarf by lieveheersbeestje
Much love from my piggies!


I want to thank Garficar for his donation of 200 points! <3
And also I want to say thank you for all the nice comments for Booboo :hug:

I'm sorry that I can't reply to every comment, but I do read them all :heart:


Winners congrats!
1. MoonyLuna19
2. minifresita2
3. MissElizabethViro
4. xxkimistarr
5. limbothedonkey
6. sweetneko3
7. HanniHamster
8. Fuego48
9. cynthiacxli
10. DancingWingedGirl
11. AtomicLEGO
12. LostMessageInABottle


2500 Point Giveaway

Journal Entry: Mon May 5, 2014, 11:14 AM




Giveaway by TsaoShin


GIVEAWAY OVER!  THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED


I have amassed a nice number of points from print sales and commissions through deviantART so I think it's time for a....

good 'ol fashioned 2500 Point Giveaway!


:iconaawplz::iconaawplz::iconaawplz::iconaawplz:

:bulletblack:
I will give 500 points Points to a total of 5 people at random
:bulletblack: Winners will be announced May 19, 2014
:bulletblack: Limit one entry per person
:bulletblack: I will notify the winners via notes on May 19, 2014

How do I enter?


:bulletblack:  :+fav: fav this journal entry! (I'll use this list on random.org to determine the winner)
:bulletblack:  Be a watcher or become one! 

Remember, even if you are watching me I still need you to fav this journal entry since this is where I'll generate the list from!  A HUGE THANKS to all of my supporters here on deviantART!  Thanks for all the +fav's, Added to my devWatch!'s, and comments!  Good luck in the giveaway!



Features by TsaoShin

Grendel by KarmaDash
Lovely Grendel fanart by KarmaDash!  Thank you!