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Years ago, when I was still a lot younger and I still drew like this, I used to admire people that had a certain drawing style that distinguished them from other artists. 
No matter how strange or extreme it looked, at least they had something unique. Something that made people instantly know it was their work. I didn't have that at the time. Throughout my youth, I've been influenced by Dragonball Z, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Ohmecha anime, anime movie posters, chibi's and vector art. Sure, I was nothing more than a 11 to 14 year old kid at the time, and kids at that age are well known for basically copying anything they like, art-wise. But still my style was nothing more than just "generic anime". I was told so many times by art teachers. That I wasted my talent by drawing that kind of "anime crap", only because it was popular on the internet. 

Comments like that used to hurt me a lot, because I was only a kid... remember? 
And I actually liked anime.

It wasn't until I got older and I learned more about realistic anatomy, that I came to see that the thing we call "style" is nothing more than a bunch of symbols put together in a certain way. And that that so called "anime art" was in fact nothing more than a certain set of symbols (small body's, big heads, large eyes, small noses and mouths). Before that discovery, I always thought that you had to follow a certain formula in order to make a successful artwork. That it would look ugly otherwise. And really, it actually did, back then. 
As I got older, I discovered that once you have a certain knowledge about anatomy, it doesn't matter all that much anymore. Because if you use that knowledge as the backbone to your drawings, you could put any symbol together, and still have to knowledge to make it look right.

Over the last few years, I've looked at art a lot, and tried a lot of things. I still copied small things from styles I liked, but I wasn't that bend on following a certain formula anymore. I just took parts and pieces of everything that I liked, art-wise. And I put them together in a way that I felt that fit me. So that, regardless of what people said to me, I would eventually end up with something that at least I liked. Something that would make me happy, at least. 
Although I think my art is still pretty anime-ish, I lately got a lot of people telling me that they like my work. That I have a certain style to my drawings. One that distinguishes my work and that makes people immediately know that it's mine. Although I think that statement is debatable, many people still ask me how I came up with my style.

From what I read the topics on the forums and journals around here, I see many people being concerned over this style-issue. Over how they can develop an original style that sets them apart from the others. To them, I would like to say: stop worrying! Style is one of those things you can't force. It's something you'll gain through experience. Something that gets to you naturally, once you pass a certain line of expertise. Trying to force this, will get you nowhere but frustrated. Instead, try to focus on your basics. It's a good investment.
 
Regardless of what many people might tell you around here, there's nothing wrong with occasionally copying a style to see how it works out for you -- as long as you don't fall back to tracing. Copying from other styles might seem pointless to some, but it learned me what I liked and what I didn't like. Combined with some solid basics, all those small elements you've picked up over the years, might some day evolve into something unique. Something of your own. 
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:iconlualady:
LualaDy Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Just perfect ! I totally agree with you !
I could add some things, but ah fck it !
I just read what I wanted to read when searching for "style" in the journals, thanx !
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:iconthe10s:
the10s Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   Digital Artist
I always thought that worrying about style is dumb; 'focus on technique and style would come on its own', I thought. Up until recently that I did start paying style some attention. After seeing so much art on groups and forums, majority of them just start looking the same. You get to the point where mostly everything is just gets saturated. Even when something is kinda good it's just a good clone of everything else you've seen before; all technique and no personality.

So yeah, I guess style really is that important cause even if you might not be as good as everyone else you have something that's different, that's 'you'. Btw, thanks for another inspirational piece! :)
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:iconskrayle:
Skrayle Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Student General Artist
You write fantastic journals. As someone else commented, they're just as inspirational as your art. It seems like such a silly thing to say, but thanks for posting your thoughts. C:
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
YW :hug:
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:iconieclipsei:
IEcLiPsEI Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Story of my life.
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:iconamygartist:
amygartist Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for writing this piece! ^ ^
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:icondelusionallove:
DelusionalLove Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is truly inspirational, thank you for sharing your experiences with us :>
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:iconforbiddenghost-64:
ForbiddenGhost-64 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Student General Artist
This was actually a really good journal. I actually cried a little bit, because I started out copying from manga I liked too. It really hit me hard when you wrote about that. Thank you for writing this.
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:iconhefeigal:
hefeigal Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like to think of style as a blend of your likes, abilities, and observations. 
If you really like artists A, B, and C, your art might resemble a combination of the three, and maybe even a little more. As you learn and watch others, you pick up on little things. The way she draws her noses. The way he writes introductions. 
Style is something you develop yourself; it can't be rushed, and can never be exactly the same as someone else's. 

Thanks for this journal! I'm a little late to the game, but it was a great read. :D 
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:iconengie-delane:
Engie-DeLane Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Writer
Before I start this, I would like to point out I am fully aware of how wildy inaccurate my drawings are proportion and anatomy wise. Seriously, bobble heads and noodle arms. I have also never taken an art class to teach it to me. But I still have a style.
I am waiting for the people to come tell me I suck, but I came on here to be a writer with some little drawings to show off my babies! Drawing is a side hobby for me, but even so my art style has improved a lot over the years naturally and I am still changing things.
It may be utter crap compared to people who actually know what they are doing, but I take pride in the fact that people at my school see me doodling and can say "oh hey, you draw comics for the newspaper right? I recognize your style"

In short, I agree with this :)
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh. Same here. I was originally a writer that started to draw because I wanted to show my characters to the world :)
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:iconengie-delane:
Engie-DeLane Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014  Student Writer
Really? That is so cool :D and you are so talented!
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:iconmhcomics:
MHcomics Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
And yes, sometimes for some works or sketches I do, I use other elements from other works to inspire me and then create something kind off new.
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:iconmhcomics:
MHcomics Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
that is definetly a cuestion that i'd been asking in my head for some time, thank you for telling us this it really helps me.
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:iconskinbyrdlillie:
skinbyrdlillie Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I liked this... the last paragraph made a lot of sense to me, too.
The more i got older, the more I began to see what sorts I liked and did not like.
Your journals are always a big help!
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:icondr8gonwolf666:
dr8gonwolf666 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Student
I agree with you. :) That is true
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:iconchameleonist:
Chameleonist Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
YAY!! Someone figured out how to put it in words!! I could never figure it out; the best I could do was, "You have your style, others have theirs; if someone disses your work, it's just because they're jealous."
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:)
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:iconhotkissshadows:
hotkissshadows Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
completely agree!! 
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:iconfmralchemist:
fmralchemist Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
This was a very inspiring journal. Thank you :)
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:iconuggybug:
Uggybug Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
People suck. I started drawing 'anime style' back when people barely knew what DBZ was in the US was thanks to Toonami, and for a few years, even though I was pretty bad, people thought it was neat because they hadn't seen it before. Then suddenly it was 'anime crap' for a good 15 years - from the end of highschool up through graduating college. So much ridiculous, unfounded hate.

I think you're absolutely right about style. You really can't force it. Spent many years trying to do just that and never made any ground until I realized that again, as you said, you just take pieces of what you like and sort of Voltron them into your own. In doing that, they eventually melt together to create something cool.

Thanks for posting this. Great read.
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:iconjaleibruderschmitt:
jaleibruderschmitt Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
I agree with this entry. That was me when I was nine.... Then I found out that I could make up my own style! Sehr gut!!
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:iconlizolb:
LizoLB Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think this little journal you have tells alot about the problem that eweryone has.
there are many artists that hides their and thinks it is not good enough because they saw some one that can draw better than themselves.

I ceeped photoshop lessons for beginners, an job I actualy did for free, but there was people that where unsure of what to create and wha it good enoug
but I told them to remember that they are beginners, I teache you to use colors ans shapes and what ewer you do i'ts not wrong.
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:iconch3karma:
CH3Karma Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014   General Artist
It's also good to tell the person that inspired you, even if it was just the way the eyes were done, respect art and the artist.  I'm sure there are plenty of "coincidences" but if you have a direct link to your reference, why not give a thanks? 
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... that can go for small artists.
Big television shows often have many people working on them... and have so many fans they could care less about people copying them
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:iconmightymog:
Mightymog Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Why do I want to cry after reading this? Wonderfully supporting journal Thank you for the confidence Xx
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
YW :)
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:iconcrazymai:
CrazyMai Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much for your that post :,( This was so inspirational und encouraging.
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:iconmohnlaura:
Mohnlaura Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This was so encouraging! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I think I'm finally at a stage where I can accept my drawings as part of a process of development, so I hope one day I can be happy about having a certain "style", too. 
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:iconunearthedarcana:
UnearthedArcana Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It all comes down to the finished product, regardless of how you got there; every element of style is a tool like anything else, and the only thing that matters is the effect you want to create.

In that sense, nothing is 'incorrect' - all shapes have their place.

Love your work.
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:iconshadowandamyrose:
shadowandamyrose Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Right now i guess i could be in that stage where i'm just a fan but i have some art pieces that might prove otherwise here's one-->shadowandamyrose.deviantart.co…

(i guess I'm still noobie)
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:iconweirdness-unlimited:
Weirdness-Unlimited Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
A lot of people I know started out drawing anime because they watched it and liked it, I did things backwards I guess. I distinctly remember being giggled at when I was about eleven years old because I had no idea what anime was (or how to pronounce it) so a friend handed me the first copy of the Naruto manga and told me to read it... Yes I started reading it in the wrong direction at first - anyway I found anime enigmatic for a long time, the obsession people have with it, the fanfare, the fan art, the cosplay, the pairings... it just made zero sense to me for a long time and I didn't get into any anime until my husband sat me down to watch Eon Flux, some Bleach and Wolfs Rain, I was nearly twenty by then but finally I found a couple shows that I could sit down and actually enjoy myself while I watched. Though this could be simply because in those three shows the main character's voices weren't annoying to me. I'd tried drawing things in an anime style when I was younger (11 - 14 years old) but I just could not put the formula together right, I was a bit TOO stuck on realism and I always had trouble putting huge eyes on a much too big head, in addition I was not familiar enough with human anatomy to execute such things correctly. I'd drawn animals more than anything else, I was always more interested in them rather than people so by my late teens I was emerging from under my rock where I primarily drew critters (and was fairly skilled at it) into trying to draw people. I still sucked at it but eventually through other fandoms *cough* aliens.. *cough* I grew an interested in drawing bipedal things though still in a more realistic fashion. I still have an extremely hard time drawing anime although I have managed to achieve a level of skill at it in my own feeble way that is.... acceptable to me. Your journal entry was quite thought provoking and insightful, I hope people take it to heart and try to improve their skill instead of getting flustered trying to create a trademark look before having the know how to do so. I think by now I have achieved some measure of a style of my own, though I think it may be sort of generic, basically that's what the fine arts guy at the community college said.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reading this whole story I was wondering: why did you WANT to draw anime that badly?
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:iconweirdness-unlimited:
Weirdness-Unlimited Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Because I get determined to win. the fact that I couldn't pissed me off lol.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Shall I admit something?
I cannot draw stereotypical manga too XD 
I don't know what to do with the huge eyes. 
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:iconweirdness-unlimited:
Weirdness-Unlimited Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Exactly. I can't help but liken them to squids. Huge eyes that are basically taking up all the space in the head.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hehehe. I still want to try it once, though ^^
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:icontheyuantwins:
TheYuanTwins Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is some sound and insightful advice.  There is something to be said for pushing one's limits by experimenting and learning the basics through, for want of a better term, imitation.  The danger lies in growing too used to using references for one's work and that is one point we would like to stress: a lot of people (no one here - we are referring to some folks we know personally) find themselves incapable of drawing without a reference.  As you said, learning the fundamentals is an equal partner in developing one's own style, but too many people ignore it.  They figure that the "easy" way to learning is by referencing other works and a few months or years down the line they find themselves incapable of drawing anything on their own.

We would caution against relying too much upon references.  Mind you, we're not saying that is something you're advocating because you're not.  It's just something we feel that we have to reiterate because we've seen a bunch of folks who are otherwise very talented hobble themselves by using references every time they sit down at the art table.

As you noted, learn the basics and learn them well.  No one ever crippled their own artistic style by knowing how to draw basic anatomy, but we can point out at least a half dozen examples of people who have leaned too heavily on looking at other people's work and now find themselves as nothing more than a self-delusional Xerox machine.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think the reference thing entirely depends on what you use as a reference and how you use it. 
Referencing other people's artwork is dangerous, since you might copy the other artist's mistakes. But I don't see any danger in referencing a picture or guidelines from an anatomy book. After all, they're meant to be referenced. Even the old masters learned how to paint by looking at real world examples.
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:icontheyuantwins:
TheYuanTwins Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
References, with a capital "R" as it were, are fine - anatomy books and the like (we should have made that clear).  What we meant were references as in, "Oh, I want to draw Captain America.  John Romita Jr. draws a good Captain America, let me look at his whilst I draw!"  A buddy of ours does that and it drives us nuts because he is otherwise talented, but when it comes to poses and composition, all of his work is directly influenced by other artists and it has almost gotten to the point where he has no style of his own.
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:iconlivelovelifeeleni:
LivelovelifeEleni Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
i lvoe to improve on my art and practice shading -only thing i  am working on and teaching myself ahh- i love to draw fashion, people, anime, cartoons and landscapes and objects and  i am trying to learn how to draw more realistically <3 and exactly i love tryin out new styles
great journal peace love and blessings <3
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:iconcakeofdemise:
CakeofDemise Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish I knew this three years ago. I probably wouldn't have given up drawing then (but who knows?). Yeah, style was something that I worried about in my art because I thought my particular "style" looked BAD. I was a stupid kid. I didn't learn a thing about anatomy before, so everything I drew I learned from anime (like you said, big heads, gigantic eyes, small bodies, etc.). So in a way, my art did look bad because it wasn't right, it wasn't ME. I'm still trying to find a style, but thanks for voicing all our opinions in an amazing journal! ;)
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:iconpetitebubu:
PetiteBubu Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with every single word of you, especially in the end: copying is a good thing, even if it's frustrating at first!
Ew, if only I could have understood it before, sigh .-.
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:iconwandereratheart:
WandererAtHeart Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
I definitely used to feel the same way, but lately I've started to notice that my drawings are taking a more consistent form that I like. When I see an artist whose style I like I draw their drawing in my sketchbook to kind of internalize it and understand what they're doing, and then I break it apart again and take what I like the most and synthesize it with what I already do.
Personally, I feel like continual growth as an artists is better than having a certain style, though it would make marketing much more difficult if it was someone's income
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:iconsayuriito:
SayuriIto Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The anime and manga has motivated the artists of our generation
That is undeniable. In childhood we all draw sailor moon and dragon ball z (and others)
That's not crap, is incentive.

Sorry for my bad EnglishSweating a little... 
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:icontwin-cats:
Twin-Cats Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
As a girl who mostly draws fanart, I couldn't agree with you, more.

I'm ok with my style. In fact, I'm happy with where I'm at, but sometimes I have no problem trying something different, once in a while :la:
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:iconofthevirtus:
OfTheVirtus Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Your journals are always the best and have some great insight. As an art student I have had to start breaking some old habbits and trying out new ones. Granted, I was breaking away from the anime formula before that, but my anatomy class really showed me what to do. I have a great fear of finding my own style cause I keep changing it, but maybe I need to worry about that less and more about the over all quality. The style will fall into place on its own.

There is nothing wrong with using anime as your style of drawing. The most important thing is the effort put in and the enjoyment you get out of it.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You shouldn't fear the change. It's a sign you're developing. Embrace that :)
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:iconlegomaestro:
legomaestro Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Symbols! Yes, i'm glad that that's been pointed out. Someone totally butchered me when I used that term. I watched these sycra vids on methods of drawing, and they pointed that out too.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I thought that was general knowledge for artists.
It's what all basic drawing books teach you :/
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