I promise that I’m not trying to be Stephen Silver or anyone like the sorts haha—I’m nowhere near qualified to speak to their caliber. I just figured it’s easier to be somewhat relatable on a personal level, as a creative at least, speaking from personal experiences and what has worked for me.
So, individuality is a tough thing in the creative world, right? Not the art world, just the creative world. You start out trying to be someone you really like, your mentors, or whoever it is that you take most of your inspiration from. You see their successes and go “Huh, that’s obviously something that works,” but then sooner or later realize that what they did or do doesn’t work for you. And you move on to the next trend, and then the next trend… and the next trend.
What do I consider a trend? Disney is great example of a trend. A big trend. An overwhelming trend. And, working for Disney one point in my life, I feel somewhat in place saying that. Haha. And, this is in no way talking bad on the company at all, so please don’t assume I’m trying to be snarky.
On the subject of Disney, the look of their art (specifically to that of the animation studio) is pretty recognizable in its many forms. A lot of people like to draw “like them” —and I want to reiterate that it’s not a bad thing. It’s up there with how many draw anime. There are styles people are privy to; some more than others.
People are going to like, dislike, or be indifferent to what you draw, but a lot of inexperienced minds are going to flock to what is popular to gain some type of limelight, and a lot of the time it works. I understand that mentality. But the only problem I have with it is that some people grow out of it and most do not, therefore they lose their individuality and get lost in the over-saturated sea.
When I used to look at portfolios, it got pretty tiring seeing the same old song-and-dance. It’s clear that they all cater to the “same” look. I get it, you’re trying to be appealing to the studio you’re applying to. But what most portfolio reviewers like seeing are things that provoke feelings, thoughts, or passion. It’s pretty obvious when you look at a passionate piece in comparison to a not-so-passionate piece.
Originality and adaptability grows out of studying and finding inspiration.
“Well, it’s kinda hard to be original nowadays.”
As the world gets older, the truer that statement becomes unfortunately.
I tell this to the people who ask how I go about my process:
If you ask yourself why you do what you do and your answer is “Because I want to look/be like so-and-so,” chances are you are still learning or you are having trouble finding your style and ground, and that’s completely fine because everyone goes through it. Finding your way of doing things doesn’t just happen overnight, it can take a long time, but I can assure you that it is very rewarding, especially for yourself.
Originality comes from why you see things the way you do and why you choose to execute what you envision. If someone asks you why you did that specific piece, you should be able to answer that pretty passionately and sometimes mindlessly.
So don’t ask how you’re doing what you’re doing, but why you’re doing what you’re doing, it’ll help with your creative perspective.