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Part one of my Understanding Your Style: Symbols, Design Pattern, and Anti-Pattern guide/essay-thing.

A lot of you already know about symbols and stuff - if that's the case for you, please skip ahead to part two!

If you like what you see here, please, share it with your friends. I literally put over a week's worth of work into writing, formatting, and illustrating this. If you like it, please support it! This message is extremely important to me, and I've been thinking about making a guide on it for a long time.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-03-28
UNDERSTANDING YOUR STYLE - 1 by *whitetrashpalace
(See also: Part 2)

This tutorial was suggested by by ~sweetychan and the following deviants:

`alexds1 says, "It goes beyond teaching how to draw and delves into the question of why we draw."

=NMNA says, "One of the most illuminating tutorials I've found on dA. What visual artist hasn't stressed over their style?"

*Sephiramy says, "Whimsically yet contemplatively written guide about the importance of studying from life and understanding the symbol sets used in our craft. It will make people take a closer look at their work and the world around them. The overall message is a great eye-opener."

*nayruasukei says, "Incredibly helpful for artists stuck in a limbo state, trying to improve. It brings science and philosophy into art, and it's wonderfully made."

*arsieiuni says, "One of the most well-made, intuitive and thorough tutorials I have ever seen."

*Somebodylost says, "It's helpful for artists to understand what 'artistic style' means. It gives insight, especially to those who learned to draw from cartoons, etc."

( Featured by FantasyStock )
alyandra Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Found this and part 2 linked on Tumblr... thank you!
Valkeus-and-Varya Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! You put this into words so well.
FilipePVasconcelos Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like to say "It's not style if you can't do it any other way."

Useful useful.
ImagenAshyun Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist
I shared this and Part II with my friends who are having difficulty in understanding how to apply symbols to represent the face. It also pointed out some of my own flaws in improving my own style without understanding how the style works.

By making this tutorial, you've provided me a more clear direction on understanding my own art while I am otherwise teaching myself with little professional guidance. I thank you for this very dearly.
heysawbones Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
You're exceedingly welcome. Good luck with everything!
MrPendent Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
CorvidCatastrophe Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This series has been utterly invaluable to me. I've been struggling with a lot of artistic confidence and art block issues of late, and I keep coming back to this.

:+fav:'ing this so I don't have to hunt for it again!! (and because it's awesome)
kat-reverie Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is brings up a lot of really good points and makes me think a little deeper on some stuff I had only skimmed. Thank you for creating this.
Raihiko Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Student
This is the most interesting tutorial I've ever read.
You've made a great job, and this could be really usefull for those (like me 'til one year ago) who are in a "style crisis". I've spent too much time to understand what this tutorial can say in such a "simply" and understanding way. This is important, and I'll share this :D

I wish I had found this tutorial years ago.
palmcastle Featured By Owner May 12, 2013
This was very helpful, and gave me a lot to think about. I really liked it. Thank you!
Broeckchen Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This changed everything for me! Thank you so much for posting it. ;u;

After reading, I noticed exactly what you described in my drawings (I have indeed started out by copying Sailor Moon, but quickly tried to move on to my own style - which I never really found) and could try to at least prevent a bit of damage. I started paying more attention to real life anatomy (especially position wise) and I'll try and this guide actually also helps me to understand common mistakes I make even when trying to draw from real life. Thank you!
PerpetualSunrise Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
Very, very helpful. I actually found this guide on thepunchlineismachismo's blog on his drawing advice piece. Really glad I found this and I hope it helps out me in my drawing journey-I'll be sure to show it to my sister as she's taken up drawing after not doing it for years as I haven't too. :D Thank you so much for this beautiful awesome guide.
DollGrownUp Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for this. It is incredibly helpful to me! :)
ZyseaZodiac Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Thank you so very much for making this.
BaneNascent Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'm drinking beer and reading these while I rest my busted up hands. It's fun!
KennyNoms Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012
I refer to this all the time! Thank you so much for making this!
LB-Lee Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
Had this faved on the old account, refaving for posterity. I MUCH approve of the stuff you're writing here and want to keep spreading it.
Boxliteyear Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
That's an interesting point of view. I never thought style can be explored in such depth!
Pluie-Froide Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Student General Artist
I feel like the only person in the world who has been drawing for years, yet didn't hesitate to study anatomy when I was told to. :XD: But anyway; well done! I learned quite a few things reading this, even after reading other tutorials about stylization. Well done!

(Also, I do have a friend who draws in Sailor Moon-esque styles, and insists that it is realism. :XD: )
albaoaurora Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Student General Artist
Aaaah.... You got me. You're blowing my brains out. I knew about symbols to some degree (there was a whole lengthy essay on this that I read a few years back, but I didn't quite understand it), but you just exposed so much to me. Goodness, this is wonderful.
mystylotus Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012   General Artist
I don't think I've ever read anything that so clearly gets this point across. Thanks so much for writing this!
arowell Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much for helpful and well-written.
SABAHN Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Student Filmographer
>Why Life Drawing is so damn important.

The best explanation.
sconesandpancakes Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012
Both of these tutorials are amazing - I will do my best to follow them. They are very helpful, thank you for making them!

bagasuit091 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very interesting and helpful. :clap:
YogurtPockets Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012
Have you ever read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics? It sounds like the same really important messages that he has in there, but spread out to the wider audience of DA, so, awesome job! It's really lessons that need to be spread!
BlueRoseLeaf Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012
this is beyond what you would find in your normal tutorial and guide. it reminiscences on a class lecture of art and its fundamental studies. Job well done! I look forward to part two! : )
SailorSun546 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Parts one and two of this tutorial may be the most important things I have ever read. I'm just now trying to come out of drawing Anime. I want to draw something that someone can look at and know I drew. I'm tired of trying to copy and learn from someone else's style, but until know, that's all I've ever known. How-to-draw Anime books and tutorials by other artists on dA have founded the structure of how I draw, and I'm not happy with what it's given me. I cannot express my gratitude enough to you for the incredible time and effort you have put into these pages. Thank you.
vollmondgrinsekatze Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012
and this is one of the reasons i recommend all my freinds scout mcclouds comic theories, even if they are not comicartists, but work with cartoons ;)

You made great work, and it is easy to understand. ^^
4-X-S Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
The resolution of symbol utilization, a wobbly diamond eye is an example of low resolution symbol utilization, it refer to a general concept of an eye but we don;t get the quality of that eye because the concept is too general. A detailed rendered eye is higher in symbol resolution, but an eye does not end here, because unlike other features, an eye cannot be perfected by physical quality alone, it has to communicate the state of mind, in order to do so it has to synchronize with the gesture and surrounding. The analogy of "resolution" com from the fact that digital image are better at high resolution because it communicates more information. The wobbly eye is analogical to low resolution image where everything is blurred with large pixel and compression artifacts, you can get what's in the picture but not enough details. The physical quality of a work is depend on the pixel resolution, the physiological quality of a work is depend on symbol resolution.
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
But the point of cartooning is to draw 2-5 basic lines and shapes and create a whole eye. Something quick and easy that tricks people into believing that what they are seeing is in fact, an eye. No other features required.
JodeOnslow Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish this would have existed back in 1998, or at least if I had the ability to print this out and then go back to 1998 and smack my past self around the face with it.
Conscious-dreamer Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011  Student Filmographer
Thanks for this. I'm trying to improve my art skills, and this is very helpful :)
FaceMeetsPalm Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Student Writer
Very, very helpful.
S-Tar Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
I'm so glad you wrote this, especially since most tutorials seem to reinforce the problem. I learned to draw from my brother's Marvel comics. While it's true and fair to say that I need to practice drawing, not many seem to realise just how hard it is to relearn when one has spent ten years thinking this is all there is to it and over five years more being too disheartened to even know where to start again.
shirabara Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011
I am putting this into my favorites...
DilutedMania Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
A well deserved DD, I think. This is the exact kind of advice I was hoping to find.

I've been getting really discouraged lately as to why I'm not seeing any change in my art... I had feared that I'd grown stagnant.

But after reading this (and part 2), I feel I can approach it with a different perspective.

Thank you for the solid, well-written guide!
Livington-Guy Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2011
A very useful tutorial that i wish any comics and graphic novels artists should anaylse and reading. (For true) :nod:

Sadly, we left a generation of good constructive cartoonings to a series of hybrid cartoons styles who never figure nowhere. Problem is, they made moneys with this. So, it play against us, who really want to mastering our skills and improve. Okay, i can like some stylisations but only if it's common sense. Not be random. I agree with anatomy. It was a problem when i started years ago. And i learned by cartoons blogs how it use and works. Construction and shapes are your bests friends when you made a character.

It's a interesting drawing process who help you to learn how a style works and be more individual than be a follower like the majority of comics of the last decade. :thumbsup:
Midsney Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Student Digital Artist
woah, fascinating
WSLaFleur Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2011  Student Digital Artist
it's so deep. i'm not used to taking in such artistic philosophy on DeviantArt.
Ciel-Reine Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011
This . . . that was so amazing! I have no words that can describe the usefulness and intelligence that makes up this guide!
chemical-youth Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2011  Professional General Artist
amazingly insightful ! :D i already knew this deep down but reading it here is giving me the extra push to go out and do loottts of life drawing :)
MyfuckingLestat Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2011
thank you for the tutorial!
Doxuumu Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011
this is beautiful and I love you for this.
Nebelstern Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011   Digital Artist
hm~ you're pretty smart : )
i can actually agree with that view.
Wyncandel Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011  Student General Artist
Thanks for this. It's excellent and helped me to understand some issues I'm encountering moving away from an 'anime' style.
LoveStrykes Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011
This is amazing. Exactly what I needed.
e-night Featured By Owner May 28, 2011
I needed to see this. Desperately needed to see it.

Thanks a pantload.
Legend-Sky Featured By Owner May 23, 2011
very interesting <-- long time did not say this word!
Disney-May Featured By Owner May 10, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've been thinking roughly the same thing for many months now, and it's helped me IMMENSELY!!
Thank you for writing this! It confirms my beliefs!!
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