In the last year, I've been pressed to change the way I draw.
I'm a self-taught, so in most of my years I've been learning things from here and there. It was good to meet some actual local artists, who told me how to fix some of my mistakes and do what people wanted.
One of the things I was pushed was to draw free-hand (thing I couldn't do without pencil and paper and most of my traditional work had a dirty, ugly finish). I took a small course of ceramics and I learn a little more about art teaching (In fact I learned art with an actual designer for the first time) and so, even it was a little too basic for me and took around a few weeks, I gained a little more control on the pencil and I got to practice a lot those teachings with my cintiq.
About my characters, I've been reading a lot my old writings and I found out my influences on the early creation of most of Orium Caspium characters. Using my annotations I realized some of those characters had a very different look at the begining or dressed quite differently. This made me change them into the look they were supposed to be at the first time, (the concept was created around the turn of the century).
The fist thing was to get a different style from manga. I don't use most of manga characteristics on my stories, like fan-service, early teen nudity (or almost nudity) or mascots. I was drove to arts because of the books I read or movies I saw... Manga style appeared as an initiation and was a good teaching at the time, but copying or adapt other's style is the worst thing you can do.
If you are a self-taught or are aspiring to be an artist in any area my advice is:
- go out and find some actual inspiration.
- Begin with simple shapes like tree leaves or small flowers, before trying animals or human shape.
- Make good use of anatomy and costume reference books.
- First pencil and paper, later... you choose what is more convenient
- And finally, but more important: DAILY PRACTICE!!!