Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

Forum organization and occasional community-building.
Forum rules
Questions about Ren'Py should go in the Ren'Py Questions and Announcements forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
ChocoStrawberry
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 4:13 pm
Contact:

Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#1 Post by ChocoStrawberry » Mon May 14, 2018 4:53 pm

Hey Everybody, extreme newbie over here!

I have always had a love for Visual Novels and recently have become inspired to try my hand at making my own creation as a sort of summer project. I have never tried anything like this before- not even close- and am finding it really hard to try and get started. Beyond the writing and programming difficulties I am expecting to challenge myself with, my main problem is my lack of digital art skill.

Every time I start to write the script and get excited over a story idea, I stop myself because I think - I can't draw that, so can I include it??

I am fairly proficient in pencil drawing objects and scenery, but character drawing has never been my forte. Art is arguably the most important part of a well done VN (after all they would be nothing without sprites at the minimum!) and I am already becoming discouraged with myself and my ability to make something that I am proud of. I know that I will never be able to make something as beautiful and quality as a lot of the work that I look up to and see on here, so how do I continue with my project knowing that what is in my head will never make it to the page?

My goal isn't to make the next number one game, or to even have a following of any kind- I just want to prove that I can do this. Maybe it is my pride that is making me hesitate. But my question to you guys is, what is your advice to artists with realistically mediocre talent wanting to make a good VN?

Thank you for any responses, they are all prematurely appreciated :D

mikolajspy
Regular
Posts: 139
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:05 pm
Completed: Jake's Love Story
Projects: NEKOKORO
Deviantart: mikolajspy
Location: Wrocław, Poland
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#2 Post by mikolajspy » Mon May 14, 2018 5:29 pm

I feel you!
I had similar thought when I started playing around VN more than year ago.
I decided to do as much as possible on my own, so I just bought sketchbook, set of pencils... and drew! Everyday, few hours/ few pages a day if possible.
After about a year I bought myself drawing tablet and went digital.
And well... Finally I was able to draw something decent enough to be put in a commercial game (which has many positive reviews, link in signature).

I wouldn't say "I can't draw this. I'm not good." ; but... "I can't draw it YET".
My advice - just keep drawing! Practice makes perfect as they say :)
Don't give up, set yourself believable goals and just go for it!
ChocoStrawberry wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:53 pm
I am already becoming discouraged with myself and my ability to make something that I am proud of.
That's completely normal, and this feeling will never stop, better get used to it :P
Your skills are still growing, so everything you did in the past will look inferior. You also get better at analyzing art, so you notice mistakes you make. And this is very important ability in order to improve!

And also, don't compare yourself to amazing artists out there, remember - they had YEARS of learning before they achieved that level of art.

TL;DR - Keep going, remember that "good" VN is not just art, it's everything together. Good story with bad art usually will be better than bad story with good art ;)
Last edited by mikolajspy on Tue May 15, 2018 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
fleet
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1416
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:25 pm
Deviantart: fleetp
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#3 Post by fleet » Mon May 14, 2018 7:14 pm

You asked "what is your advice to artists with realistically mediocre talent wanting to make a good VN?"

If you want to use your own digital or hand drawn art, the advice from mikolajspy is excellent.

If you don't want to improve your own art skills (not everyone is inclined to learn art), use free art assets or look at the recruiting threads for a free artist or one you can hire.
I can't draw and am not inclined to learn, but I still make visual novels using 3D images made with DAZ software.
Before considering the 3D art option, keep two things in mind.
1. It takes an investment of time to learn how to use 3D art programs to the point where the rendered images look decent.
2. Many people won't play any visual novel that uses 3D art.
Last edited by fleet on Tue May 15, 2018 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All of my VNs are at http://wolflore.net
Some are at http://www.visualnovelty.com.
Poorly done hand-drawn art is still poorly done art. Be a Poser (or better yet, use DAZ Studio 3D) - dare to be different.

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1796
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#4 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Mon May 14, 2018 7:19 pm

ChocoStrawberry wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:53 pm
Hey Everybody, extreme newbie over here!
[snip]
Maybe it is my pride that is making me hesitate. But my question to you guys is, what is your advice to artists with realistically mediocre talent wanting to make a good VN?
Thank you for any responses, they are all prematurely appreciated :D
I want to echo Mikolajspy and say that you just need to maintain a positive outlook and practice. No one is born being able to create great art - it all comes down to diligent and consistent practice.

I've drawn most of my life. For a long time, I only drew objects and landscapes because people and characters are hard. But you never get better at something by avoiding it.

I went to art school with a 70 year old man who started out only being able to draw stick figures - literal stick figures. But he wanted to learn to draw. After a year and half of practice he could draw quite good realistic portraits. By the time he graduated after 4 years, you'd would have thought he had been drawing all his life. He just drew and practiced for assignments - dozens of drawings a week. Most of them were awful in the beginning - but that's OKAY. There is a saying that we all have 10,000 bad drawings in us - it's best to get them out of the way as soon as you can! :lol: (That's not literal by the way - it's just meant to illustrate that it takes lots of practice to achieve mastery.)

Why have I told you all this? It's because I don't believe in 'talent'. That isn't real - it does a disservice to people who are called talented, and it does a disservice to people who think they weren't born with an exclusive ingredient for success. Someone may be born that is a little more observant, so their drawings are little more accurate to start with - but it doesn't mean the Art God reached down and put a pencil in their hand. All children draw - artists are children that never stopped drawing.

So if you want this - PRACTICE. Reduce the scope of your VN so you have to draw fewer things at first. But just keep at it.

I'll leave you with this wonderful advice from Ira Glass which every beginning artist and creator of any type should keep in mind.

Good luck and happy creating!

User avatar
Draziya
Regular
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:50 am
Completed: I Don't Have A Clue [QRMJam 18], Cautionary Tale [NaNoRenO 18], OP Dodge Cross [GGJ 18], Acetone [AceJam 18], Ah! My Girlfriend is a Demon Summoned from the Depths of Hell! [MonJam 17]
Organization: Watercress
itch: Drazillion
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#5 Post by Draziya » Mon May 14, 2018 8:17 pm

I agree with everyone that has posted. Art is something that you can only improve through practise. If you're fine with not using your art, or indeed not having the characters look just as you imagine them there are Creative Commons assets that you can use. You can also alter Creative Commons assets for a middle ground.

I don't have much to add myself because this twitter thread I found a few days ago that sums all I'd want to say all up. In short, if you want to try and improve your skills, finishing a lot of small ideas is more beneficial than trying to perfect one idea.
Image

ChocoStrawberry
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 4:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#6 Post by ChocoStrawberry » Wed May 16, 2018 7:42 am

Wow!

I never expected so many people to respond with such thoughtful advice. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I know whatever I produce won't be near what I want, but that doesn't mean that it won't be someday. I went out and bought pencils and sketch paper today, and I'm going to start practising right away!

Thanks to all!

User avatar
Preseva
Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:18 am
Projects: The Miller's Daughter
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#7 Post by Preseva » Wed May 16, 2018 7:26 pm

What everyone here has said is true. I'd like to add that when it comes to learning to draw, how you study is perhaps even more important than how much time you put into it. You will learn more by drawing from real life and copying artists that are better than you than you will drawing from your imagination. I've seen promising new artists get nowhere because they spend 100% of their time drawing fan art instead of studying, and I've seen people advance rapidly in their skills because they spend most of their practice time drawing from life and studying anatomy.

Until you reach the skill level you're satisfied with, if what you really want to do is just make a game, then you could consider going for simple, stylized graphics or even avoid sprites altogether. Emily is Away is an indie hit and it doesn't have any visible characters.

User avatar
Katy133
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 567
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:21 pm
Completed: The Heart of Tales, [redacted] Life, Must Love Jaws, A Tune at the End of the World, Three Guys That Paint, The Journey of Ignorance, Portal 2.5.
Projects: The Butler Detective
Tumblr: katy-133
Deviantart: Katy133
itch: katy133
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#8 Post by Katy133 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:11 pm

I've written about this before, but I'd like to give advice on this using myself as an anecdote.

Back in 2009, I could draw like this:

Image

It was the best of my abilities, and I was very proud of it. Fast-forward five years later to 2014, and I could draw like this:

Image

And again, I was proud of it. And with my experience, I could now better see the flaws in my older work. Now, four years after that it's 2018, and I can see the flaws in my older work. I don't think I'm anywhere close to my best work yet, so that's something I can look forward to every day.

As I got more experience as an artist, I realised that talent--and the ability to draw well--is not something that appears suddenly like a lightning bolt, fully-formed from the head of Zeus. Talent is really just a person's passion and interest in doing something. And because they enjoy that thing, they continue doing it for years and years, getting better and better at it, going out of their way to find the time to do that thing. Which is a hard thing to do, but *wanting* to do it really helps.

So don't be afraid to build up something--like your drawing skills--from the ground up if you find enjoyment in it. It takes time. Skills do not come overnight. They just come eventually.
ImageImage

My Website, which lists my visual novels.
Become a patron on my Patreon!

User avatar
Mammon
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 652
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:09 pm
Completed: Pervert&Yandere, Stalker&Yandere
Projects: Roses Of The Thorn Prince
Contact:

Re: Discouraging Lack of Art Skills

#9 Post by Mammon » Fri May 18, 2018 5:13 am

Echoing what everyone else has already said, practice and time. If you can draw on paper and have something to scan the drawing in with, you could always draw and trace it over. For a novice, not even the art purists should be complaining about that one. I myself started out with some awful art of my own, and slowly improved. See the first and third link in my signiature (the couple and the rose), the former shows my awful first characters and the latter shows the progress I've made since.

Some advice:
-Never take the first few sprites you made to put in the eventual project. Make a few meant for discarding afterwards but do finish them completely, so you get a feeling of the system you'll be using. Aside from learning to draw digitally and such, you can start to get a system of things like what line thickness you'll be using and what style of noses works for you etc. And you'll come across some big mistakes that you can start avoiding with following sprites.

-Start with your side characters and end with your main cast. You want to do it the other way around, it's only natural, but start with the sprites allowed to look a bit worse. You'll improve and get into the system you'll make for yourself better with each sprite. Be sure that your MC and not that one character appearing on one scene is the sprite that looks best.

-Ask for feedback. People will see things that you as the artist may not see, for example with my first project that overly saturated colours are not a good thing for sprites to have. There are plenty of people on this forum willing to help, so use that help.

-Don't do too much. You're a beginner, so don't feel any hesitation to cut corners. Scrap characters, don't give the sprites certain things like holding an object, limit your CGs, etc etc. A project always takes longer than you'll expect, so don't think you need to add all the things you want to add or think are necessary. If you do that, you may be buried in the workload and never see your project to fruitition.
ImageImageImage

Want some CC sprites?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users