Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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LiveTurkey
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Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

#1 Post by LiveTurkey » Tue May 23, 2017 11:17 pm

I'm working on a Visual Novel and have decided to complete the coding/ writing aspects first. I'm making decent progress on those two fronts so the necessity for art is starting to increase.

Right now I have to choose whether I want to go down the path of commissions or go down the path of learning how to draw.

Here is the way I see it

Commissions Pro:

1. A lot easier.
2. Don't have to learn a skill in a month that people spend years working on.
3. Will probably launch the game sooner = higher revenue.

Commissions Negative:

1. A lot more expensive (Total cost would be around $2000 for Chapter One and so on for each additional chapter.)
2. Finding a good balance of well-priced artist that is willing to make my commissions and creates good art is no easy task. This will probably take up a good amount of time.
3. Some more time lost to communicating changes, vision, direction, etc

Learning to Draw Pro:

1. I feel like art difficulty is exponential. As in to achieve 50% mastery would probably take a month, 75% would take a year, and 99%+ mastery would take 5+ years. Am I correct on this assumption? And with that being said, I feel like I could get by with the 50% mastery for my project
2. Great skill to have. (Will help with my other ventures)
3. Drawing should be relaxing. Can do it as a form of meditation while listening to podcasts.
4. Low start-up cost ($100-$200) for a tablet
5. Lots of resources and tutorials online that will severely cut down on time spent.
6. Complete control over my art. Whatever I see in my brain I could create.

Learning to Draw Cons:

1. Take A LOT of time.
2. Will almost definitely delay launching my game

How long would it take to learn how to draw something like this

Are high-quality, beautiful commissions for cheap a myth? Or do they exist if you really look for it? That includes searching for artists outside of your country/language.

Any thoughts? Has anyone been in my position before? What did you do and how did it turn out? Right now I'm leaning towards learning how to draw.

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SexBomb
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Re: Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

#2 Post by SexBomb » Wed May 24, 2017 12:26 am

There's one key component really needs to be considered in all of this, that being, do you actually like to draw? If not, the answer should be obvious. If so, the answer might be a little more complicated.

That said, learning to draw is not as simple as sitting down, pulling up some tutorials, and breaking out your tablet. Unless you are imbued with inherent natural talent, it will take far longer than a month to even get started. I grew up drawing, I attended college for animation, I've been a professional freelancer for over 5 years, and I still do not consider myself a master artist. There are so many aspects to consider in producing high-quality artwork... anatomy, colour theory, character design, even learning to use the proper programs and making the most of your tablet all take an incredible amount of dedication.

Unless you are committed to art beyond your solo project, I would highly suggest commissioning an artist. There are tons of great artists on the lemmasoft forums (as well as many other websites!), all available at varying levels of skill, experience, and price. I would suggest finding one that fits your specific needs, and taking it from there.

Best of luck!

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Re: Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

#3 Post by Evy » Wed May 24, 2017 8:30 am

I agree with SexBomb on the part about liking to draw, though I'm of the opposite opinion regarding natural talent. You can learn any skill out there so long as you dedicate yourself to it. I've been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil (so, toddler age) and now I'm 27. There have been many times throughout my teen years where I've considered giving up because I felt I wasn't progressing quickly enough, but that's the most counterproductive thing one could do. Learning art is a lot of work, just as any other skill is, but the key to that is perseverance. I actually get really bothered when people say I'm "naturally" talented because to me it feels like it's dismissing all the time and hard work I put into it.

That said, if you're really short on time, then yeah, you'll want to commission art instead. But don't let that stop you from learning something new in the meantime!

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Re: Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

#4 Post by Celianna » Wed May 24, 2017 4:45 pm

The CG you linked - that should take you a minimum of 4 years to be able to understand lighting, anatomy, perspective and to be able to use your drawing program like it's second nature, to achieve that kind of look.

Drawing isn't a quick and dirty job, but don't let it discourage you. I've seen someone improve tremendously in just two years, despite having no skills whatsoever. It's never too late to start drawing, I suggest you go for it, you might end up liking it.

On the flip side, I will also recommend to simply commission someone to draw the art for you. Sometimes it's simply too much work for a single person - I know plenty of artists that hire other artists to do certain parts of their game, despite being able to do it themselves.

Me, I'm a bit crazy and kind of draw everything myself. But it took me 7 years to have this much improvement (I'm slow though).
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Re: Should I start commissioning or learning how to draw?

#5 Post by MoonByte » Sun May 28, 2017 12:40 am

Well, depending on how fast you need the images for your VN, why not do both?
I assume, that VN will not be your last, so the skill will be useful anyway.

If it is about learning how to draw, consider trying out the "Sketch 356" challenge. You literally make one image a day for a year. Can be a sketch, a painting, anything. It can be good or bad, humans, plants or pokemon, doesn't matter. The only requirement is: make one image. Every single day, without exception.
If you do just one specific thing (eg portraits), even a 30-day challenge might be enough to get really good (As seen here).
There is a reason why there is the claim that you need 10.000 hours to become good at something. If you spend 2 hours every day during that challenge, you already managed something aroud 10% of that. And that is a lot, considering that the best artists usually have spend many, many years since they were pre-schoolers to hone their abilities ;)

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