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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
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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!
That's completely normal, and this feeling will never stop, better get used to it
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
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.
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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.ChocoStrawberry wrote: ↑Mon May 14, 2018 4:53 pmHey Everybody, extreme newbie over here!
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
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! (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!
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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.
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!
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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.
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Back in 2009, I could draw like this:
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:
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.
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-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.
Want some CC sprites?
If you aren't doing a full fledged game with a production team, it's really hard to find an artist that's into the project as much as you are, and willing to do as much work as you are doing for free. Maybe it would be better to find an artist before you start anything? But then they have to believe that you will actually see your project through to completion, and the earlier you do that the less they have to believe in.
My current plan is to complete the whole game more or less, using placeholder images. Then an artist will know that the project will be finished and released, and they will know exactly how many pieces they need to complete. Going back through and refitting images that don't have the same pixel size or proportions will be a lot of work, but I think that this would be a far better "deal" if you aren't going to pay out for an artist.
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