We didn’t always draw anime as kids. In the beginning we would doodle characters from western animation, make up our own characters, and copied from books around us. Even as we would draw anime, we would occasionally draw things not in that style. But from the ages of 9-17 anime took over the life of our art. That coencided with the height of Cartoon Networks Toonami. During our teen years we discovered art on the internet (remember that dialup noise anyone!) and Deviantart.com. We saw people do those slick drawings that turned out to be digital paintings. For various reasons, we were stuck with traditional art and it became apparent that there was no way to make our stuff look that ‘cool’. So we stuck to being as best we could with traditional art. We did mess around with online tutorials and those infamous “How to Draw” books; y’all know the ones I mean.
By the time we were a couple of years in college, we had all but stopped watching anime for various reasons. When we decided to pursue art as a career, we did not delve back into anime for the following reasons:
-we spent so much time on learning fundamentals. We took the time in school to learn what we could. As I said above we did dabble in the basics of art but we did only the bare minimum that we thought we needed to make cool little drawings. We didn’t exactly know where we wanted to end up when we started taking drawing classes but we knew that we needed to build a solid foundation. At that time we didn’t want to focus on making a style.
-we started looking at other types of art/media. Soon after we immersed ourselves in basic art we took a look at art history, architecture, graphic design. We had to as part of our degree program but we did learn that there were so many disciplines! There were so many cool things in the world other than anime. We couldn’t just unsee all of it. We also broadened our horizons because we were becoming more aware of our worldview at the time.
-we needed to look into realistic career options. The options that we were aware of did not leave room for the style.
-there where things we wanted to articulate that weren’t served drawing anime. When we were younger we saw art in books or maybe on the internet. Those works were seen basically out of context. But we were seeing these digital paintings and cartoons on a screen, in their element…they way they were meant to be consumed. It wasn’t a fair fight! Then we were going to museums and galleries as adults. We’ve seen work from Kinkade, Dutch masters, Hudson River school, pre-Raphaelite paintings, life size portraits IN PERSON. Even work from contemporary artists is impressive in person but when I saw my first gold leaf medieval painting face to face at the Nasher museum in Durham I knew that there was a standard that I needed to reach for; especially with the subject matter I wanted to explore. The anime style would have handicapped our artistic expression.
Should other artists do anime then?
This is not a hard and fast no.
we do implore our fellow artists to do the following in the early stages of your artistic journey:
-get multiple influences
-figure out where you want to go with your art and assess the practicality of this plan
Please realize that anime style may not survive all of that but the experience will be rich and rewarded!
So what do you think? Please comment on your experience in different styles. How did you decide to make the art you do now?