Obtaining one's artistic talent

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Voight-Kampff
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Obtaining one's artistic talent

#1 Post by Voight-Kampff » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:28 pm

I'll admit, I haven't been around LSF for nearly as long as some people. So you'll have to excuse my naiveté in this regard. However, I see a lot of posts on the forum asking for artists. And I'm wondering - how have your experiences been? Have you gotten what you asked for? Are the artists who lurk around LSF generally reliable? Are there more success stories here than tales of woe?

Or do people generally feel it's better to go out and actively seek artistic talent?

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#2 Post by Ghurdrich » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:33 pm

As a total newcomer myself, but with an up-and-coming project (And having no artistic talent whatsoever myself) I'm also interested in this. I'd also like to pose an additional question for all the artists out here: How much does getting paid matter? I know many of you want to get paid for your work, and that's completely understandable. I would want to as well. However, how far does charity extend? If you like the project, would you do it all for free, and for the publicity? Or what about quantity/quality? Is there a certain point where you consider your work too highly to give it out for free? Assuming you like the idea, and the writer can show that he is willing to follow through to the end, how many sprites would you consider 'too many' to give out for free?
I realize it's a lot of questions, and I hope I'm not jacking the original point of this thread, it's just something I'd like to know. Let's say that I have a vested interest in this thread :lol:

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#3 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:11 pm

@Ghurdrich: I have no experience collaborating with another person in a project such as a VN. As an art student however, I know that it takes a lot of time and effort to make something look good. Because of how demanding such a project as illustrating for a VN can be, I've never found a project on here that I would even consider volunteering making art for. Not to say that they aren't good projects. Some of the ones I've seen here are very interesting. But not to the point where I can justify sacrificing so much time and effort for free. Perhaps that will change one day, but for now I don't assume that attitude will change.

You mention the publicity of doing a game for free, but in my experience, I don't usually notice the specific artist a VN has. The most interesting art I can recall off the top of my head in recent VN's I've played was the character art from Heiress II http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =11&t=4917 but I don't remember who the artist is, and I doubt I would seek them out even if I did. At the same time, I know that some people would do that, but I don't think the artist would likely gain a following outside a creator community such as the LSF (an example is Deji, who made the lovely celeste doll).

Obviously, there are other people who feel drastically different from this, but this is just my opinion.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#4 Post by LVUER » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:21 am

There are several reason why someone is willing to do free work (not only art, but also software, things, etc).
1. They want to be known (marketing/promotion). Who want to pay someone unknown. Perhaps everyone here know Chrono, PyTom, FIA, Jake, Mugen... but someone who rarely do things won't be known by many (like me).
2. They want to do good deeds. Believe in God, do a good deed in His name... I believe we hear that a lot. No matter what your religion is, or evey you are atheist... I believe that man want to do good things in his life.
3. They want to train. Ability to draw is like plants. Forget to water them and they will wither. And it's not that easy to train without an objective.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#5 Post by DaFool » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:14 am

LSF has always had very few artists of professional caliber -- those who went to art school or otherwise training to earn a living from art. And as expected, they're usually booked on either commercial or grand projects which have their own communities. Artists are not likely to offer their services to someone who just registered and already wants an epic game with multiple event CGs. But perhaps if your game were small enough, it may be possible to ask a good artist to donate a custom sprite or two.

When I first looked at the scene, I realized that I had to tie my bootstraps and make my own art for my games, and even some for others, even though I came upon the fandom as an aspiring writer/director. The low supply high demand ratio is so pathetic it's not even funny. On the other hand, it was good that it helped me to level up in skill as I would have been practically laughed out of the forum in any other art-focused place on the internet. When there's writers who know that beggars can't be choosers, and people who just want to get things done, then you have games. Not polished games, but at least complete ones.

When the community was small, I used to give art to small projects, but even then it was for people who I knew were in the community for some time and whom I already know what to expect based on their online behavior. Now the community has grown and those very people I worked with are veterans and I know I can always chat with them for anything VN-related or otherwise. So in other words, my 'vested interest' takes the form of friendship. For the more ambitious projects where I know I'll have to shell out more effort (then, say, for a typical nanoreno game), I practically demand co-production. My writer's characters become my characters, because I designed them.

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#6 Post by Samu-kun » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:52 am

In my experience, I have found three artists who volunteered to work for my project on this message board, but none of them could stay on board for more than a week. It's hard to work with a person without being able to see him or her face to face. Also, it's difficult to give other people a good idea of a project's creative vision through the internet. Not only that, but personality clashes can happen, especially because not many of us are professionals in the field and so lack a professional mindset.

The most successful partnership I had was with artist Sixten, who I recruited outside of Lemmasoft. Several factors contributed to its success, including the fact that we both generally had common interests, similar personalities, and because Sixten had professional experience. However, not even that partnership could last because real life issues interfered. So in the end, I can say that I have so far not had any success with recruiting artists.

My reasons for recruiting some of the artists are different though. Even though my art abilities are certainly far below what would be considered mediocre by professional standards, I am confident enough in them that I feel as if I could complete an amateur visual novel using my own abilities and still have people be satisfied with the art quality. I just want to hire artists to speed up the production cycle. Because of this, I don't think the "beggers can't be choosers" scenario applies to me since I have adequate art abilities myself, and so I put bigger expectations on my artists and am not afraid to offend or dismiss them if I don't think they are contributing positively to the project.

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#7 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:26 pm

Samu-kun wrote:It's hard to work with a person without being able to see him or her face to face. Also, it's difficult to give other people a good idea of a project's creative vision through the internet.
This is the single biggest reason I've never tried internet collaboration of any kind (visual novels, RolePlays. etc.). I find that there's not enough of a connection between anonymous strangers to really invest in such a proceeding. I've done collaborative work with friends before, in real life, and I think that the only reason we stuck with those projects for as long as we did was because we saw each other in person and were forced to remember and think about our projects. And now I cannot really form those same connections with those same people since they've moved away. Proximity is sometimes tantamount to dedication.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#8 Post by Voight-Kampff » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:48 pm

AllegroDiRossi wrote:This is the single biggest reason I've never tried internet collaboration of any kind (visual novels, RolePlays. etc.). I find that there's not enough of a connection between anonymous strangers to really invest in such a proceeding. I've done collaborative work with friends before, in real life, and I think that the only reason we stuck with those projects for as long as we did was because we saw each other in person and were forced to remember and think about our projects. And now I cannot really form those same connections with those same people since they've moved away. Proximity is sometimes tantamount to dedication.
I have to wonder if that has more to do with organizational issues than operating via the internet. By that I mean - if there are no clearly defined roles for each person to take on, if there are no general deadlines for when things need to be done, or if there's no sequence of tasks that need to be done, then I would expect any collaboration to fall apart.

If there are no roles, I can envision a lot of people wasting their time on collaborations: duplication of effort, or skipping tasks altogether. Without deadlines, even if they're just self-imposed, it can be difficult to get motivated. And if one doesn't know the sequence of tasks to be done, then once again, a lot of effort can be wasted. For some reason, I'm reminded of the sprites found in Tsukihime. Arcueid has very few sprites of her looking happy. She's got a metric ton of annoyed, angry and neutral expressions. Without a script done ahead of time, imagine the wasted time and effort if someone had made dozens of sprites with lots of emotions that the script didn't call for.

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#9 Post by Jake » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:56 pm

Samu-kun wrote: not many of us are professionals in the field and so lack a professional mindset.
This said, it's very easy to have a professional mindset without being a professional, and equally easy to be a professional "in the field" and not have a professional mindset, so I don't think these two points are really that related.
Samu-kun wrote: Because of this, I don't think the "beggers can't be choosers" scenario applies to me since I have adequate art abilities myself, and so I put bigger expectations on my artists and am not afraid to offend or dismiss them if I don't think they are contributing positively to the project.
To be honest, this kind of attitude is one of the main reasons I would be very reluctant to partner in any way with someone I didn't already know fairly well and get on with. If you're asking someone to work on your project for free, you're either bringing them on board as a creative equal - in which case they also have some influence in the direction of the project and you can discuss things with them rather than complaining that they "don't understand your vision" - or you're trying to pick up slave labour. I've got no interest in finding myself on the receiving end of an attitude like Samu-kun's above, so there's basically no chance whatsoever of me collaborating with someone I don't already know. If you want to push your artist around, then pay them money, otherwise they will leave. (Paying them money will not necessarily stop them leaving, it just makes it less likely.)




Also, bear in mind that it's pretty hard to maintain a good work ethic when you're working on someone else's project for no recompense other than Internet Fame™. If your artist doesn't feel like they have a personal stake in your project (say, because you're very defensive of your creative genius and won't listen to their ideas) then it's likely that they'll slack off and do other things which are actually fun rather than slave away on your project, and this is why they don't turn out sprites as fast as you know they can. If your artist isn't working hard, then they need encouragement; sometimes they just need reminders to keep working on stuff, sometimes they'll need you to involve them more; calling them lazy will probably just piss them off, even more so if you don't do it to their face.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#10 Post by pkt » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:15 am

I agree with Jake. I've worked on some projects gratis for a long time but when someone demands perfection and doesn't want to either pay up or change anything then it's not likely to happen. I like free stuff myself and I plan on releasing some projects as free and possibly open source. That said, if you were to spend a bunch of time and effort on something and got almost nothing out of it then for most people it's not worth it. Art pieces tend to take hours and the pay rate often reflects that. Sometimes it's a flat as 5 bucks an hour on something that takes about 5 hours to do so it really won't pay the bills and buy you a ferrari but you could scrape by on that. If I ever start doing these things I'll start at around the same price but that's a huge if.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#11 Post by Samu-kun » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:28 am

To be honest, this kind of attitude is one of the main reasons I would be very reluctant to partner in any way with someone I didn't already know fairly well and get on with. If you're asking someone to work on your project for free, you're either bringing them on board as a creative equal - in which case they also have some influence in the direction of the project and you can discuss things with them rather than complaining that they "don't understand your vision" - or you're trying to pick up slave labour. I've got no interest in finding myself on the receiving end of an attitude like Samu-kun's above, so there's basically no chance whatsoever of me collaborating with someone I don't already know. If you want to push your artist around, then pay them money, otherwise they will leave. (Paying them money will not necessarily stop them leaving, it just makes it less likely.)
In practice, "creative equals" doesn't really work that well. It's a lot more efficient to give artists creative input, but to have creative control myself. It was actually Sixten who told me this, since we were too busy debating over what should be in the story and what shouldn't be to actually get anything done. A part of having a professional mindset is that we all have a job to do. The artist's job is to maximize the art quality and the director's job is to organize everything and provide a creative vision.

Sometimes, treating the artist as a creative equal can also cause problems because the artist may not be confident in his or her writing abilities and so may feel as if the artist is being asked to contribute to something that he or she does not want to deal with.

So far in my experience with working with artists, I've had the greatest success by giving artists what they want to draw rather than with providing them with control over a project's direction. I've found it much better when I know what my artist wants to draw, because then I can just include lots of them in the story. I've found that while I want creative control over the plot, characters, etc since I am what would normally be termed a "creator," for artists this may generally not be the case since they are the most concerned with a) what they draw and b) the technical merits of their art. As a director, it's my job to use the skills of my workers efficiently and to provide them with the most opportunities to exercise their craft, so it's best to give the artist plenty of opportunities to draw what he wants to draw. Obviously, there's a overlap here between providing the artist with what he wants to draw and providing the artist with creative direction, but there's still enough of a distinction between the two, I think.

In terms of partnerships I've had, money generally hasn't been a factor. We both know that neither of us are going to get paid for this and both of us have already agreed that the project will be distributed for free, so there's not much point in discussing money.

I think a large part of being professional is that we just have to swallow our pride and do what must be done without complaining. And this applies both to the director and the artist. While a project is in production, various things end up happening and both of us end up sacrificing creative control for one reason or another anyways. When we're working, it's normal to do things that we wouldn't be able to forgive each other for if we were friends since we are both trying to get a job finished. (Although this is a job that both of us care enough to finish without getting paid for it.)

However, that doesn't mean that either of us are necessarily beggars. We can always expect greater things from the both of us, since we're both skilled enough to hold our fort, so to speak. After all, it's the job of a director to quality check and to maintain some sort of an "artistic standard," so adopting the "beggars can't be choosers" approach probably won't be that great of an idea, unless you're desperate enough that you're willing to release a work that could actually have been better if you've just maintained a higher standard.

In the end, partnerships are pretty complicated and I may be too dizzy right now to explain very well... I got rained on all day yesterday and now I've caught a cold. =_=; Japanese umbrellas are way too small, I swear...

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#12 Post by JinzouTamashii » Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:31 am

LVUER wrote:There are several reason why someone is willing to do free work (not only art, but also software, things, etc).
1. They want to be known (marketing/promotion). Who want to pay someone unknown. Perhaps everyone here know Chrono, PyTom, FIA, Jake, Mugen... but someone who rarely do things won't be known by many (like me).
2. They want to do good deeds. Believe in God, do a good deed in His name... I believe we hear that a lot. No matter what your religion is, or evey you are atheist... I believe that man want to do good things in his life.
3. They want to train. Ability to draw is like plants. Forget to water them and they will wither. And it's not that easy to train without an objective.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#13 Post by Jake » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:30 am

Samu-kun wrote: In practice, "creative equals" doesn't really work that well. It's a lot more efficient to give artists creative input, but to have creative control myself.
"Creative Equals" does not mean that no one person has control over any aspect of the creative process, and it doesn't mean that your project has to flounder in indecision forever. It means that you actually listen to your artist when they suggest things, and consider their suggestions, and in turn they'll listen when you suggest things and consider your suggestions.

You have a writer, who is in charge of doing the actual writing, but that doesn't mean that the artist can't say "have you considered that this character that you're getting me to draw is woefully under-used in your plot, they only show up for two scenes, and they don't serve much purpose; could you consider either expanding their role or writing them out entirely?" The writer listens to the suggestions and considers them, but ultimately he decides what goes into the writing. The artist respects the writer, so he doesn't get pissed off when his ideas aren't used.
You have an artist, who is in charge of doing the actual drawing, but that doesn't mean that the writer can't say "hey, wouldn't it be cool if everything had a kind of art-deco look to it, it would fit well with the setting of the story and give it a unique look". The artist listens to the suggestions and considers them, but ultimately he decides what goes into the art. The writer respects the artist, so he doesn't get pissed off when his ideas aren't used.

You seem to be suggesting that the writer side of this is a good thing, but that the artist side isn't; the artist should just draw whatever the writer tells him to draw, because the writer has a grand vision and he isn't allowed a vision at all. This, you see, is inequality. It's treating the artist like a replaceable commodity, it's arrogant, and it pisses people off. The fact that you apparently presumed that 'creative equals' meant some pesky artist meddling with your story and couldn't mean anything else speaks volumes about you.

And frankly, if I was considering doing art for one of your projects and I heard that you considered me disposable because your own art was adequate, I'd feel pretty insulted by that, too. And not just because of the standard of your art. The way you're talking basically suggests that you don't really respect your artists, as much as you might pretend to in public, and this is a surefire way to have them leave your project.

Samu-kun wrote: So far in my experience with working with artists, I've had the greatest success by giving artists what they want to draw
I suspect this is because if you find an artist who already wants to draw what you want them to draw, the fact that you brook no deviation from your grand vision will be less obvious to them. They won't be trying to deviate in the first place, so it'll take them longer to realise that you don't respect them as a creator.
Samu-kun wrote: I've found it much better when I know what my artist wants to draw, because then I can just include lots of them in the story.
So instead of treating your artist like an equal, you're treating them like a dog whose concerns and desires can be ameliorated by feeding them treats...
Samu-kun wrote: for artists this may generally not be the case since they are the most concerned with a) what they draw and b) the technical merits of their art.
You're obviously not an artist, so I'll be blunt with you: genuine artists are not just concerned with 'the technical merits' of their work, and they're not just concerned with the subject matter - drawing is an equally creative task to writing, and you need to recognise this if you want to keep an artist happy.
Samu-kun wrote: In terms of partnerships I've had, money generally hasn't been a factor. We both know that neither of us are going to get paid for this and both of us have already agreed that the project will be distributed for free, so there's not much point in discussing money.
You missed the point. The point is that artists also need to eat, and so if you pay them money they'll put up with a lot more than if you don't. If they're doing something for free, they want it to be fun, and it's not fun to follow someone's precise intruction and direction without any creative control of their own. They want something they can be proud of, and it's hard to be proud of something when all of your ideas have been shot down by some egotist who thinks he knows visual arts better than you do despite apparently not being able to draw himself. On the other hand, if you commission an artist for money, that's exactly how they expect to be treated, and they'll put up with it because even if it's not fun, they're getting paid.
Samu-kun wrote: I think a large part of being professional is that we just have to swallow our pride and do what must be done without complaining.
You're confusing the two meanings of 'professional'. A large part of being a professional as in, one who does something as a profession is swallowing our pride and doing what must be done without complaining. But that kind of professional, by definition, gets paid. See my previous point.

The other kind of professional is what people mean when they say 'professional attitude', which means doing things in a productive and sensible manner, organising things well, not holding up other people for no reason, not acting childishly or out of spite, behaving as if you want the project to succeed. Which is fine to expect of your co-project-workers to a point, but if they're not enjoying themselves at the same time, there's no motivation for them to keep at it... and the thing I would expect someone with a professional attitude to do at that point is tell you they're quitting.
Samu-kun wrote: (Although this is a job that both of us care enough to finish without getting paid for it.)
You're expecting your artist to care about your project without giving them any reason to care.




And seriously - I'm being blunt, but I'm telling you these things so that you (and anyone else reading the thread) can learn from them and try and do better in the future. If I was trying to insult you, I could have done so more effectively with a hundredth of the words - so while I appreciate that it's easy to just go on the defensive, try and take this post the right way.

[EDIT: typo]
Last edited by Jake on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#14 Post by Ghurdrich » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:34 am

Well, with respect to the people who are posting here, things are getting a bit off topic. However, I think that the point that you guys are trying to make is that generally artists are more willing to produce good results when they are either
A) Getting paid, or
B) Part of the creative process.
For someone who is just starting, then (Read: is poor), being flexible is the best idea? I get the impression that when a 'creator' or 'writer' is too demanding, the artist feels as though they are being slighted and will leave. However, if the creator is too lax, the artist feels like there is not enough commitment, and may also leave. So would it be safe to say that Jake's idea would be the best, then, since it is the middle ground? Work as a team with open communication, and give serious consideration to the wishes of the other party? It's obvious that if someone was doing art for free, I would be rather inclined to go well out of my way to insure that they will stay put and keep doing my art. If they say they want a character to show up more, for example, then I figure it's common sense to try and slot that character in more. I'd stock it up to common courtesy, and a respect for your partner's (or just general group member's) work.

However, that's my question answered, but I notice that it wasn't the original intent of the thread (Here I am talking about going off-topic, and going off-topic myself :roll: ). But it still is something that I'm interested in, if someone had some input on the matter. Is LSF a feasible place to look for an artist, or are people having better experiences overall with seeking an artist elsewhere? If, for example, I didn't know anyone particularly proficient with art, would it be better to ask around here, or is there some other place that people have had a high degree of success?

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Re: Obtaining one's artistic talent

#15 Post by Ren » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:29 am

Well, here you have some artists who are interested in VNs already, so a majority of them will share your interest in the medium.
Places like Deviantart might have more people, but not all of them (if many) are interested in drawing for a visual novel. On the other hand, they just funded a new VN group here.
You might as well keep an eye on it!

Hope it helps. :3

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