Today’s Lesson: Don’t use stock images in your art and why not.
Hello everyone, and welcome to my brand new blog series Artist Sins. In these I will be sharing my old.. Very old art with everyone and take the time to point out the artistic mistakes I have made in the past and what I’ve learned not to do since then.
No one ever really thinks about how the artists they look up to on their favorite social media sites may have been rather mediocre once. I know I didn’t when I was a teenager. Everything that came across my screen was pure gold and brought me an endless source of inspiration to draw from.
Now there are moments in which I look back on those same pieces that used to inspire me so much and discover that that they weren’t quite as well drawn as I remember. A realization that can be disappointing at times. And yet this fact can also be all the more inspiring because it just means that you’ve developed a better eye for catching mistakes and may have even improved yourself since the old days.
Believe it or not this fact even applies to you
know what I mean? Think back to your old art. Be it a week ago or 5
Years ago; odds are you’re probably not as fond of that illustration as
you used to be. You’re embarrassed to look at your old works and may
even refuse to look at them due to how terrible they look to you now.
of you may have even deleted your old work all together just so you’d
never have to look at them again but don’t do it! And if you already
have.. Well. Then don’t do it again.
Let me explain.
The reason I say this is because every single piece you’ve created, even the ones you absolutely loathe now is essentially one huge timeline showcasing your improvement.
know many artists who firmly believe that they haven’t remotely
improved over time. They work hard for hours upon hours on one
particular illustration only to want to scrap it as soon as they’re
finished. The euphoric feeling of pride and appreciation as fleeting as
perfume.. There one minute, gone the next.
But this simply isn’t true. You have improved and you need only look at your old art to see it. All those mistakes that have appeared overtime? That just means you’ve gotten better! And like me you’ve learned how you could have improved on them since.
So without further delay, I present to you: Artist Sins by your host, Lurockia.
About this Illustration:
Featured Artwork Created In: 2004
So, I was a huge fan of Shaman King as a kid. I woke up early every Saturday morning just so I could turn the channel to Fox Kids when I could have been sleeping in. You know.. Considering it was in fact the weekend.
But it didn’t matter.
Shaman King was on! And with that the Fan art that followed. Fan art that eventually led to my very first attempt at using Photoshop. Did I know what I was doing? Of course not! But that didn’t stop me from trying; and lets face it we all had to start somewhere, right?
I was so proud and awestruck at how professional my art looked on the screen. So smooth and crisp.. Nothing like what I could capture with my colored pencils which was all I had been using up until that point. It was beautiful.
…Not so much nowadays. Lets learn about what I did wrong.
Today’s Artist Sins Lesson:
So, what’s wrong with this picture? Well for someone who was just starting to learn to use Photoshop for the first time not a whole lot can be said when judging a 13 year old kid. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from analyzing this particular piece. Because this is a common mistake that I have seen many artists do.
You’d be surprised to learn how common it actually is for someone to just draw out the main subject and then just slap on a photograph in the background immediately afterwards thinking it will blend together seamlessly.
You know what though?
It doesn’t. Maybe if you were a super, hyper, realistic artist and you painted over the background to match your skill set it may be possible. But in general the photographic background will always look out of place when put into contrast with your art piece.. If you’re only just starting out it might look good at the time since you don’t know any better, but trust me. It does not age well especially when you start to improve.
You didn’t draw that, you know you didn’t draw that, and the people you show it to know you didn’t draw that.
My advice? Don’t use raw stock imagery anywhere in your work. If you must have a background of any kind I’d strongly advise on working to create your own. If you don’t have the tools or means to create one then just leave it blank for the time being. Trust me when I say it’s in your best interests because while it may look amazing now in time it quite honestly just won’t.
Plain and simple.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this first segment of Artist Sins and will consider joining me next time for my next segment on tracing and how it affects you as an artist.
TLDR; Your art and the photo you chose just to skip out on actually drawing your own background doesn’t blend well together; and they never will. Focus on actually developing your background skills rather than trying to find an easy way to cop out and then forgetting who to credit for the background you used. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank yourself later.