Well, since I’ve spent several days writing about making studies of historical paintings, I thought that I’d do the literal opposite today and talk about making original art (eg: art that isn’t fan art).
Yes, it might not get as many views. Yes, it’s more difficult to make. But, it can be a really great source of self-expression, not to mention that it gives you a greater degree of creative freedom and control over your work.
So, here are some tips for making original art:
1) It’s ok to take inspiration: Although I’ve written before about how to take inspiration properly, one misconception from people who are new to original art is that their art has to be “100% original”. However, there’s no such thing as “100% original”.
Even if you don’t consciously take inspiration from other things, then you’re going to do it subconsciously. If you’re an artist, then something has inspired you to become an artist (rather than a writer, a poet etc..). I could go on for a while, but there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by other things. In fact, it is quite literally impossible to make art without being inspired by other things.
Making original art means just taking inspiration from other things (rather than copying them directly) and, more importantly, finding an interesting mixture of inspirations that allows you to make art that doesn’t look like it is based on just one thing.
2) Start with something easy: Making non-original art requires slightly different skills to making more original art. The former involves modifying and/or re-interpreting a pre-existing thing and the latter involves creating something without doing this.
So, a good way to ease yourself into making original art is to make types of original art that allow you to draw on the skills you’ve already learnt from making less original types of art. In other words, things like still life paintings and paintings that are based on photos that you have taken.
Since you’ll still have to arrange the subjects for your still life painting, take the photos yourself and/or choose from photos you’ve taken in the past, then this still fits the definition of “original art”. But, at the same time, you’ll have something already there to base your art on. So, it’s kind of something in between the skills needed for making fan art and the skills needed for making original art.
3) Don’t be afraid to look stupid: When I started practicing art daily in 2012, I made a decision to mostly make original art. But, of course, my imagination was a lot less evolved than it is now. Yet, I was still able to produce a piece of art every day. How did I do this?
Well, for the first couple of years at least, my art would often look a lot more… random… than it does now. Like this:
The backgrounds would often be kind of generic, the character designs would occasionally be a bit strange, my compositions were often very unimaginative, the events of the pictures would also be fairly random too. Yet, without pushing myself to come up with new ideas for art on a daily basis, I’d never have got to know my imagination as well as I do now.
What I’m trying to say here is that you won’t become an expert (or even vaguely competent) at making original art overnight. Like any skill, it has to be learnt through practice. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And don’t be afraid to look stupid whilst you’re learning.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂