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

If you're seeing this first because it came up stacked first in your messages, please, go read part one first! It might be a bit confusing otherwise!

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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thisisaNORMALname Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
The westernization thing at the end made me die laughing.
kittenz77 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2016
The nose thing just blew my mind...
kaiserqueen Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2016  Student Digital Artist
miel128 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2016
shark235 Featured By Owner May 4, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
No offence but you do realize that western eyes can be large and that western world started the whole big eye thing. However I have to say this is a pretty good tutorial.
DaveBarrack Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I definitely have this problem. I mean, I have a problem with proportions in general, but I definitely have long mid-face-itis, and it's something I've been fighting for years.
mincyy Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2015   General Artist
That Natalie Portman, i just fucking love. I really, really love that Natalie Portman.
God that is the best thing.
DarkRageTM Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Hobbyist
This is really nice, pretty cool tutorial. However, I don't have any plans to stop drawing anime.
Zekehimberry95 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The goal of this tutorial wasn't to get people to stop drawing anime. They mention specifically that anime isn't a bad thing. Its about improving what you want to do by understanding how real life eyes, noses, ect look first.
DarkRageTM Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2015  Hobbyist
Oh no, I know, I was just sharing a thought. The tutorial is really cool.
C-Puff Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2015  Professional Filmographer
This tutorial is very good.... but it doesn't solve the problem you stated at the beginning of the first part which is this; "Learning to draw from life is only one step".
Basically, the real question I was looking for was "How to go about simplifying" which is my biggest problem. So, although interesting and helpful, the entire argument just looped back on itself; "Study from life".

Which is good advice.... but then what? How does one learn how and what to simplify and how to do so? I know, I know. "You learn to do so innately with practice" but to find some DIRECTION to start in would also be nice.

Nevertheless, good advice anyway. Just sad to find it's not what I was looking for as I thought it was when I read part 1.
Penny-Dragon Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2015  Professional General Artist
Go back to studying from different artists. Once you know the basics of how anatomy works (studying from life) go out and look at other artists and see how they've translated life into symbols. They've already simplified the form. Look at a wide variety of art and take inspiration from your favourites, combine that inspiration with your own knowledge of the form. Practice practice practice until your comfortable with how it all looks. By that time you'll probably have your own 'style', i.e your own set of symbols you use to represent a form. 

Hope it helps :)
Spudfuzz Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Omg this tutorial is great. I had a good laugh. I'm kinda in this boat, though not nessecarily transitioning to 'western', just adding a little more realism here and there. I have been borrowing directly from real life but nose length is actually one thing I kinda struggle with now and again. I notice in real life models, it can go either way. Some people seem to have short noses or long ones (not nearly as long as your example, though). I'm trying find a balance between natural variations vs 'proper proportions' when it seems like half the time most people's bodies don't like to follow the "Average Human Look 1.0" so it makes tough work trying to pick apart technical corrections vs personal preference in people's critiques.  I just don't want to fall into that category where you can only tell the characters apart by their hair and eye colours. :crying:
IamMonday78 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015
Good Lord I really needed this!! As luck would have it TF2 is something I have really been trying to draw for the longest!! This will defnitely help me and oddly encouraged me even more.
usernamesarefornerds Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
guilty as charged. will definately keep this in mind. was just drawing and noticed i drew someone and they had a weird nose Confused 
CorvoPls Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been stuck in this rut for a few years now, thanks a lot for this! It's really helpful c:
Okasen Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Student General Artist
This was a really great read (as was part one) and now I'm gonna go check for long noses.
BugzAttack Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my gosh, This explains so much.  Wow! 
CeberusTwice Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014
In terms of the "updated" drawing of that woman, she doesn't just have too long of a nose; she doesn't have enough chin.
Just observing, if it helps anyone.
who-the-moon-is Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:clap: Thank you for saying this. All of it. It's great.
Hopfield Featured By Owner May 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so true! But it works the other way round as well.  I'm happy with natural proportions in portraits but can't draw the more stylized faces at all, because my brain only sees the pattern of big eyes, small nose instead of the change in symbols used.  Drawing less stylized features at 'anime' sizes looks weird.  Really weird.  The appeal of moving away from realistic faces is being able to convey big expressions with fewer lines - economy of line is the goal.  I'm finding Disney animations are a nice middle ground to try and ease myself away from realism, with quite realistic proportions in the earlier cartoons (ignoring Snow White - she's a freak), then progressing to a much more cartoony and anime influenced look once you get to Aladdin or thereabouts.  There's a lot of habit breaking involved, but it's fun.  Sorry, babbling - this tutorial is awesome, going straight onto my favourites.

And Andrew Loomis is back in print! At least he is in the UK - got my hardcover 'Figure Drawing for all It's Worth' for Christmas, and it's amazing.
arhiee Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014
CrimeanDoodler Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
This is really insightful.
Cow-Butt Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014
I was just thinking about TF2 when I read that. I had to double check to see if I hallucinated it. 
ZeltidisFreak Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
is anime style bad? like do people look down upon it? I'm just curious c:
heysawbones Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
It's not bad, but just like a lot of other things that aren't bad, lots of people do look down on it, unfortunately.
ChesyreFrog Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I don't think so, and I would say that it really comes to the viewer of the work to make that judgement. Some people like an anime aesthetic while others prefer a more western design, or something abstracted. 

The best way to address your question is to note that if you're drawing something in "your" style then it can look however you want. The audience that likes your work will like something about your design. If they don't like it then there's something they just don't dig.

The comments I hear about not liking anime are things like "they don't look asian", "their (insert feature here) is out of proportion/looks unnatural" or that the style is disliked because they don't watch anime. These comments are from people who hold a bias to begin with. 

If you browse galleries you'll see many different styles that may incorporate themes found in western/eastern art and that span all levels of realism. Draw what you like to draw, and admire what you admire. Above all else dabble with changes to your style and get a handle on the subject that you're drawing and let the rest develop organically.
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The problem occurs when you try to self-develop your own personal style and end up taking the fancy of another artistic style. It's close to art theft and its a type of corner-cutting. The rest won't develop "organically" as you put it if there is an incorrect presupposition involved in your mind that you are accessing as your state of reference. Even in art there is a right and wrong and good art and bad art, even contained within one's own style; its not as settled in opinion as you might think.

And it comes from trying to copy a design. The suggestion "Draw what you like to draw, and admire what you admire. Above all else dabble with changes to your style" is exactly what the artist is trying to get people to avoid. Because by doing so, you're in danger of incorrectly jumbling the personal style with a different, copied style.

The core idea is to completely strip away drawing everything you like and all the styles and types (Western, anime, etc.) and draw everything directly from real life. From there, after understanding realistic art crafts, divert on your own accord to fit the specific abstracts requirements. When you fail to meet those requirements, you have done it incorrectly. 
ChesyreFrog Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Well said. :D
ZeltidisFreak Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
Thank you! <3
HeartIsIce Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
So true!
K-B-Jones Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You might be interest in something I just posed on my blog here:… . I think the reason for the long-nose anime error is that the proportions an anime artist learns for their anime is not the same as the proper proportions for realistic faces.  It isn't helped by an awful lot of tutorials out there teaching these anime proportions AS IF they are the classic, realistic proportions.  So, someone just learning to draw thinks they're getting it right when they draw this way, but in reality they're having the problems you're talking about here.  
Wolfypaints Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Kyo Shoma is so much cuter in american style!  You did such a good job on this article.  Kudos  :heart:
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok hmm... VERY interesting. 

Now that I understand this, I think I found my artistic problem. I'm trying to go backwards, from Western realism and devolve into anime-esque cartooning and I am having a monstrous problem doing it.
ineses Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist
i love you
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
For those interested in Andrew Loomis: I found this post with links for downloading five of his books; the books (with an additional one) may also be found at, here.

Lots of thanks for this "guide/essay-thing" Love  It really gave me an insight. I'm one suffering from this right now, and I really would not have recognized it. The Natalie Portman demonstration made me laugh!

This makes me look at my work more objectively now.
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Oops, sorry. Miscounted. There's no additional one at They are the same number.
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Now that I've downloaded the them, turns out they are the same file, except for "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth." The one on has cover page for the first page, whereas the one the other website has the dedication page for the its first page.
calicokatt Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really intriquing and helpful. It's helped me look at my style more critically and actually thinking about what I'm drawing and going, "if this were real life, would this look right?" And it gave me a bit of a giggle too with the Natalie Portman thing. Thanks much :)
Tetsu-Deinonychus Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
Great advice for artists of any style. Nicely done!
bread-doh Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
who knew, just from that long mid face-nose thingy we could interpret why anime faces are still appealing to many, to so many possible answer. :p

"we were enlarging the eye socket so the cheekbone goes down, and so cheek fat and nose too, but seeing that V-shaped face outline we weren't sure from just the front, are those puffy cheeks or jawline". "or maybe we were sizing down the jaw and mouth enough that its not the nose that's long".

Viataf Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Student General Artist
man this opens my eyes to alot. its funny how you mention understanding the original source material of the subject of your art to develop a closer-to-what-i-would-like-it-to-be art style. I kinda realized that early on. I realized that my style was changing but instead of going western i wanted to be able to draw realism if it came to that but my range of comfort lied in the area between anime and real life. kinda like in the phoenix wright games!! I really like how they mix anime with realism in a balanced way while retaining comedic effect. Its comforting.

oh and thank you~
Eninaj27 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Was interesting to read and watching anime turning into western style :)
After all, I think long noses and other "wrong" anatomy can make an awesome, interesting style too.
Chips13 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
I really love this. It highlights and explains the cause of most problems in art I see everyday. Long nose Natalie Portman will remind me to be more careful from now on.
lvl99tonberry Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Excellent and beautiful!

Now I just have to figure out if my faces look wonky and whether this is the cause, because I have a serious love--in art and in real life--of large, long, dramatic and prominent noses. eheh.
TalkingToMyArt Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd been drawing anime for years before I decided to switch it up a bit and focus more on a western-style of drawing. And recently, I found out that the massive amount of anime influence was making my attempts at realism look wonky and deformed, but I never actually thought someone would go and make a tutorial to help AVOID that kind of stuff!

Nuclear-Shrimp Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cool tips! I always hear about people coming out of their "anime phase" to draw more realistic so this is pretty interesting!
AishaTsukiari Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this tutorial sure made me learn a lot....Even if I draw anime and don't want to change it, man I neither want to end with horse-human faces xDDD I'll practice my anatomy from the source, as you said! Thanks a lot for making this! c:
Sakiusa Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't even know how I found this, but thank you. I kind of want to improve my art style, and I figured the best way to really start was to focus on anatomy, so I've started there. Reading this actually made me more determined to improve, so thanks again. I'll be sure to send this to my friend when she gets on.
Zumiex Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
Wow! That's some good insight! I have wanted to get away a bit from the anime style I want just for something a bit more 'realistic', however I normally found that going right from one style to a new one too quickly actually makes it look worse so I'm trying to take my time by incorporating new things as using real anatomy references at the same time. However do have a hard time with the nose, mostly because I can't figure out how to draw a nose that I actually like (they all look ugly to me, I mean in general), so yeah. But this will help me to get a new perspective on things, thanks! :D
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