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This is a question that always comes up whenever I speak to fellow artists. Whether you are a beginner or have been in the art game for years. What do I rate my commissions at? How much should I ask for my art?

And these are pretty important questions we should be asking. We as artists love creating, but lets be honest…most of the time we are too timid, self-aware and too reluctant to say our say when it comes to selling our art or pricing our commissions correctly.

So, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned over these past 3 years as a fulltime artist in the world of putting value on your work in a respectable manner.

Please note that this is how I rate my art based on a few factors such as the economy, the country I’m in and my typical type of audience.

First thing, first. How do I rate my commissions?

I use this formula to calculate all of my commissions.

Hourly Rate x Minimum Time + 30% from the total of hourly rate x time

For example my Hourly Rate is R250.00

And I need to create a full body character that will take a minimum 6 hours

R250 x 6 hours = R1500.00 + 30% (R450) = R1950.00 The reason why I include 30% extra, is for the event that I might spend 7 or 8 hours instead of 6, I get to then cover at least an 1h30 worth of work. In reality we never know how much time we will end up spending on an artwork as we can sometime over do it.

There is another crucial part I want to bring attention too. And that would be international transactions. When you get a client from over sees, I do not want you to ask your local fees.

  1. There needs to be a currency conversion done with your bank, that include fee charges.
  2. And your commission rate are most likely be influenced by the economy you live in. But international doesn’t count as local.

For example, I live in South Africa. My prices are lower to accommodate my local audience. However when I get a client in US then the Rand value is much lower compared to the dollar value.

So on top of the commission rate of R250 x 6 hours = R1500.00 + 30% (R450) = R1950.00 + 30% = R2535.00 This will insure that it covers any additional costs such as currency conversion rates and allows you to get a bit more from the project since 9/10 times an international client would be willing to pay your fee.

I used character design as an example, which is digital based art. But the same formula applies for traditional art. However the only difference would be that you now have to include material, shipping and packaging costs. And I personally double my hourly rate to R600.00 since my client base from the painting side are more willing to pay higher prices for good quality physical art.

How do you figure out your hourly rate?

Well I personally believe it’s determined on 3 factors.

  1. Your skill set in whatever medium you excel at.
  2. Your target audience
  3. Location

Talk with a few local artists you know or follow and ask them if they mind sharing their rates or go on their websites. Now that you have their rates. I want you to put aside your art next to theirs. I know a lot of artist are going to comment, YOU SHOULD NEVER COMPARE YOUR ART WITH ANOTHER ARTIST…

But this is the best way to assess whether your rates should be lower, equal or higher than that artist. It’s a good way to assess your current skill level.

I’m not discouraging the beginners. I’m just saying there is a starting point for everyone. When I started making art fulltime my hourly rate was R150.00 three years ago. Now it is between R300.00 to R600.00

I want to leave you guys with one last thing. And that is increasing your commission prices yearly. There are 2 absolute important things on this. Living expenses always increases and you have to accommodate with that if you want to survive. And secondly your skill level in your art will increase year to year. So you should match your skill level with your fees.

There is kind of a lot more we can go into depth with….if you have any other question let me know in the comments and I might make a part 2.

And that’s it. I hope this has been even a small shred of helpfulness.

Am I a successful artist? The answer is yes and no. Yes, I’ve made it to 3 years doing art full time, and being able to do what I love is a success in its own right…but also no. I’m not at that level where I am financially free just yet.

Before I continue, I’m Ettiene but just call me Ezra. I’m a contemporary artist specializing in the mediums watercolor and acrylic. And my main focus are character designing. I’m from South Africa where we have lions as pets and use candlelight because we have no electricity. I’m joking…well both of those are sorta true.

Why am I sharing publicly my level of success? It’s quite simple. I want you to understand that everyone has their own levels of success, and you shouldn’t be comparing your success level with theirs.

The question is, am I a successful artist? And my answer is yes and no. I started in 2021, where I went fulltime and left my stable web design & development career.

I thought, because I worked in the marketing space, and have had continuous conversations with different business owners, that I would be able to use that to my advantage and make a 100 000 easily within the first year. Oh boy, was I wrong. Needless to say, my attempt of creating anime merch was a total disaster. I had to end up lending money from my parents to get through a few months.

I was completely lost, - 0 in my account… and feeling like I have made the worst decision in my life.

Now, mind you.. I decided to focus on character designing which at that point I’ve only been practicing for a year…and didn’t focus on my paintings which I’ve had 4 years of practice back at that time.

Needless to say, thinking back, it was ridiculous that I thought I could make 100 000 for the first year with my mediocre skills in designing and rendering characters.

Forward to the beginning of 2022 I had a chat with my friend that happened to be a business coach and she suggested I join up with my local network chapter called BNI (Business Networking International). There I learned immediately that focusing on original character instead of fanart, would be a much better direction. It’s also a platform that taught me so much about business and how to get from point A to point B.

Forward to 2024, and many things has happened. I started slowly making more money from the characters and artwork I created. I had my first booth display at comic con.  And I’m blessed to have gotten this far as a fulltime artist.

But its not all sugar and honey. I had to pivot my business and start offering graphic design services to fill the holes where my art can’t fill the spaces, financially speaking. I also freelance websites from time to time, just to make that extra bit of money.

The reality is, that I might have my social platforms where I post all the artworks, and promote my book, and promote my art. And I might seem successful as an artist, but there are many other things I sometimes have to do in the background that isn’t art related to make ends meet. When I see artists selling their artwork for 500 000, I feel that sore stab in the heart, but I also realize that their journey and mine starts at different points.

With that being said, despite the things I’m not successful on, the things I failed to make a success. I know I worked my ass of, and did everything I could to get me at this point where I’m better of than 3 years ago…but I still have a long way to go. And I know I’m at a better point as a skilful character designer and contemporary artist, much better at running a business and understanding how to be a better businessman. and the things I have hoped to happen 3 years ago...might happen this time around.

The important thing that I’ve learned, is to stand up after that beating and keep on walking. Be patient, and you will eventually find yourself walking in the corridor to success.

So yes, I am successful and I’m not. I hope by sharing my story, that it has resonated with you a bit and helps you realise just to keep on pushing through. You aren’t alone in the struggle.

And to my clients or future clients, I hope this makes you realise that I truly do take on a project with upmost care and truly do try and create the best design or artwork for you.

Also, for those character designers that is just starting to learn or those that wants to improve some more… check out my e-book “How to draw a character in just 8 weeks”. I’m trying to build up funds to get the book published so I can get physical prints going. So by supporting me to buy these e-books helps me to get this going full stream. https://www.ezra-art.com/books

Ezra signing out…see you in the next blog.

Don’t forget to sign up and support me on Patreon too. Thanks to my Patreon member Nikita for the continuous support. Become a member for free

https://www.patreon.com/ezra_art

Do you have a tendency to start with characters, but you aren’t really sure how you want to push the design. Or you have this idea, execute it, and end up with a completed character….and most likely it looks great, but you are just not getting a connection or feeling from the design? How do you improve your character?

Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. As a matter of fact, practically every single character designer in the world has most likely gone through that as well. And it’s not the end of the world.

I’ll give you some insight on how to plan out your characters before you start rendering for 20 hours straight. This is actually something I learned from Ross Draws, and now I’m giving you the same insight, but in the way how I understand and execute it.

What is the golden secret that will get your characters to a higher level that will actually end up connecting with people?

You only need to implement these 5 things.

  1. Character background story
  2. Using the correct shapes for character building
  3. Unrestrictive flow in the design
  4. Rule of 3rds
  5. Become your character

Character Sheet: Anime Techo anime girl. Collab with Oby1

To explain how to implement these 5 things into a design, I’m going to use one of my original characters as an example.

Now, it is important to keep in mind that by learning and improving on the basics such as shapes, anatomy, perspective, clothing design etc., still plays an important role in creating better work.

1. Background Story

I have a character series called ‘Endangered Species’ where I will take a specific animal and use that as inspiration to create the character. Before I start creating a character, I will first think of a basic background story to set an anchor and get an idea of the characteristics.

The animal chosen is a Snow Leopard. When I think of a Leopard, I think of stealth, intelligence, apex and independent. Looking at the colors of the fur, being white with black spots and golden eyes. Gives me the idea to go onto a more bad boy type of route.

jin-woo min character information card

So, here is a background for my character Jin-woo Min: Age: 35 | Ethnicity: South Korean | Occupation: Leader of The White Dragon

Dark Snow is the leader of The White Dragon. It is a famous Mafia group that generally deals with smuggling of weapons & are famous for the amount of information and dirt they have on the biggest political leaders in the Eastern part of the world. Dark Snow has a reputation of his clean escapes & combat abilities.

Dark Snow is just a front. Jin-woo is connected with the Pillar of Souls. Which means he is one of the 12 protectors chosen by the Snow Leopard Spirit to protect a certain location from human interference.

The Pillar of souls is a connection between all my characters from the endangered species series, it helps bind them to one world collectively while leading the story and character development for each of them.

You might be asking the question, “do I have to name my character when building the character story?”

No, not at all. As a matter of fact, it is better to name the character afterwards. There are 2 reasons.

  1.  You only wrote a basic background story that could change, because you are still understanding your own character through the design process.
  2. It’s easier to give your character a name when you have a completed design, because looking at your character, you will get an immediate idea of what weight the name carries. You can’t name a Mafia boss Fluffy, and 2 year old kid, Killer. They don’t match up. Unless, you have a very specific reason.

2. Shapes

Yes, we are back to the basics. Have a look at the most popular characters in pop culture, if you put Deku and Bakugou next to each other. You will notice that Deku has rounder shapes, where Bakugou is more rigid. That is because shapes help determine the personality and behaviors of a character.

As for my character, Jin-woo. You will notice that he has a lot more triangular features. And the reason is that it creates a stronger and more unapproachable personality. Remember, he is a Mafia boss.

In summary, when you create your character, think about the role shapes will display in your design.

3. Flow

When we talk about flow, we are referring to the design elements such as clothing design, accessories, color ect. When you design your character, keep in mind to have consistency. Having a character with a blue shoe and a white shoe on the other foot, a pink tshirt, with a royal robe on, in army pants, with yellow hair and face tattoos. Makes absolutely no sense at all. Is the guy homeless, a maniac, is he a rebellious royal? What is he? If it becomes confusing for yourself as the artist and your viewers.

Stay consistent, implement designs that compliments the characters personality and behaviors.

Looking back at my character Jin-woo, I kept that consistency in the flow of the design. Each element should connect with the characters personality and behaviour, and some elements telling the stories of his past, or giving hidden messages.

I went with dark semi-professional clothing as he doesn’t want to be seen, and work in the shadows, a large winter coat, and silver hair falling over his face. The coat is bold, yet creates a sense of curiosity. “What is he hiding under there?” The hair falling over his face gives him an unapproachable feeling, as if he is hiding and if you bother him, you will regret it.

In summary, be consistent in your choices of design to make sure it connects well and tells the story, personality and behaviors of the character.

4. Rule of 3rd

This is quite simple. The rule of thirds applies well with accessories, color, patterns and small details. Look at Jin-woo, you will notice that his Necklace, the pieces of metal on he’s coat and the buckles on he’s shoes are all gold. That is the rules of thirds. If I had to remove either one of them, it feels uncompleted.

5. Become your character

Actually take the time to imagine your character, imagine what your character went through In the past, imagine your character loosing or gaining something. And what would they do in conflicting situation?

By putting yourself in that characters shoes, will you be able to understand what the ideal personality and behavior traits should be, to truly create the ideal character that connects with your fans. 

In summary

To improve your skills on character designing, implement these 5 things.

  1. Character Background Story: Starting of a basic story helps you understand the direction you want to take your character to. Will he or she be the hero or villain of the story?
  2. Shapes: Understanding how shape and shape phycology works, will help build a stronger base for your design.
  3. Flow: Consistency is key
  4. Rule of 3rd: Just by including 3 of  the same design elements, or color usage throughout the design can complete it in a matter of minutes.
  5. Become your character: Imagine yourself in the shoes of your character, and you will know exactly where to lead your character development.

Hi all, it's Ezra here once again. A professional indepentent character designer, illustrator & contemporary artist. I have a very special art business topic for my fellow artist & creators today, so let's dive into it.

The Art of Protection: Why Digital and Traditional Artists Should Have a Service Level Agreement in Place

In the world of art, where creativity knows no bounds, the last thing on an artist's mind may be the need for a contract. After all, art is about passion and expression, not legalities, right? While that may be true to some extent, it's essential for both digital and traditional artists to protect themselves and their work by having a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place. Let's delve into why.

Source: Ace Attorney

1. Clear Expectations:
An SLA sets clear expectations for both the artist and the client. It outlines project details, deadlines, revisions, and payment terms. Having a well-defined agreement ensures that both parties are on the same page from the beginning, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and disputes down the road.

2. Protecting Your Artistic Vision:
Your art is an extension of yourself. Whether you're a digital artist creating stunning graphics or a traditional painter crafting masterpieces, your work reflects your unique style and vision. An SLA helps protect your artistic integrity by specifying how your work will be used, displayed, or modified. This can prevent clients from making changes that compromise your artistic vision without your consent.

3. Payment Assurance:
Artists deserve fair compensation for their time and talent. An SLA defines the payment structure, ensuring that you get paid for your work as agreed. It can include details on upfront deposits, milestone payments, or final payments upon project completion. This not only protects your income but also sets the client's expectations regarding payment schedules.

4. Scope Control:
Scope creep can be a nightmare for artists. Clients may request additional work or changes beyond the original agreement, potentially leading to burnout and missed deadlines. An SLA can clearly define the scope of the project, outlining what is and isn't included. If the client wants extra work, it can be addressed with a separate agreement or amendment, protecting your time and energy.

5. Legal Recourse:
While we hope it never comes to this, having an SLA in place provides a legal framework to resolve disputes. In case of non-payment, copyright infringement, or breach of contract, you have a documented agreement to fall back on. This can be crucial if you need to seek legal remedies to protect your rights and work.

6. Professionalism and Trust:
Having an SLA demonstrates professionalism to your clients. It shows that you take your work seriously and are committed to delivering a quality product. It also builds trust because clients can see that you are transparent and accountable.

7. Peace of Mind:
Perhaps most importantly, an SLA offers peace of mind. It allows you to focus on your art without constantly worrying about the terms and conditions of your work. Knowing that you have a legally binding agreement in place can free your mind to create more freely and passionately.

In conclusion, while art may be driven by passion and creativity, it's also a business. Digital and traditional artists invest time, effort, and emotion into their work, and they deserve to be protected. A Service Level Agreement is a simple yet effective way to safeguard your artistic vision, income, and professional relationships. So, before you dive into your next project, consider the value of having an SLA in place—it's a brushstroke of protection that every artist should embrace.

This is an example of an SLA (Service Level Agreement) I use myself when I work on any projects. You are more than welcome to use this as an example to write your own SLA... however I do highly advice that you contact your local lawyer to make sure everything is according to your needs. When you do write a SLA make sure the following points are included: Intellectual Property, Term of Service (Duration), Expectation, Client & Artist Requirements, Terms & Conditions and lastly Payment Structure.

Legal advice is definetely recommended. If you are in South Africa I am able to recommend Steyn Ip to assist you on a SLA and on any other agreements.

cover

Welcome back, art enthusiasts! It’s Ezra here and toay we'll explore a fascinating topic for artists. While social media platforms are undeniably powerful tools, diversifying your avenues for visibility can open up exciting opportunities. Let's dive in!

Building a Strong Portfolio

One of the key foundations for gaining commissions is having a strong portfolio. It showcases your skills and serves as a visual representation of your capabilities. Consider creating a dedicated website or an online portfolio on platforms like Behance or ArtStation. Highlight your best work and provide clear descriptions to help potential clients understand your artistic style and expertise. If you guys need help with the website, send me a dm and I’ll give you some advice there… I worked as a professional website designer and developer before so I know all the kinks around proper design even if you use platforms like square space, I won’t mind helping ya’ll out.

Ezra Art profile on Artstation

Participating in Art Exhibitions and Shows

Art exhibitions and shows provide valuable offline exposure and networking opportunities. Look for local galleries, art fairs, and exhibitions where you can display your artwork. These events attract art lovers, collectors, and even potential clients who may be seeking artists for commissions. Remember to prepare business cards or brochures to share your contact information and direct interested individuals to your portfolio.

Collaborating with Local Businesses and Organizations

Establishing partnerships with local businesses and organizations can be mutually beneficial. Reach out to cafes, restaurants, boutiques, or even non-profit organizations in your community. Offer to create custom artwork or murals for their spaces, which can enhance their ambiance and give you exposure to their clientele. It's a win-win situation that allows you to showcase your talent while gaining commissions and visibility.

Networking with Art Communities and Associations

Joining art communities and associations can provide you with invaluable connections and opportunities. Attend local art events, workshops, or even join online forums and discussion groups. Engage with fellow artists, curators, and art enthusiasts. Building relationships within the art community can lead to referrals, collaborations, and exposure to potential commission clients.

Seeking Commissions through Art Agents and Galleries

Working with art agents or galleries can help artists gain access to a wider audience and clientele. Research reputable art agencies or galleries that align with your artistic style and reach out to them. Be prepared to showcase your portfolio and demonstrate your dedication to your craft. If they see potential in your work, they may assist you in securing commission opportunities and promoting your art.

Collaborating with Interior Designers and Architects

Interior designers and architects often seek custom artwork for their projects. Collaborating with these professionals can open doors to commission opportunities. Reach out to local designers or architects, or even showcase your work at design-related events. Your artwork may complement their projects, such as residential or commercial spaces, and lead to commission requests.

All in all

Remember, gaining commissions as an artist goes beyond relying solely on social media… as we all know by now that it is becoming more increasingly difficult for artists to trend on popular social media platforms.

That’s why by diversifying your visibility channels, you can unlock exciting opportunities and reach a broader audience.

Together, these strategies will help you thrive as an artist and secure commissions that showcase your unique talent.

If you found these tips helpful, subscribe to my Youtube channel for more exciting content. You can view all the tips directly in my blog, link is down below As always, keep creating and exploring new avenues for success. Thanks for watching!

I’m a small artist and I’m pro Ai art and  I’m against it. I sound like a hypocrite but hear me out. Yes, the controversy around Ai Art has been crazy from artists work being used as data to learn the ai algorithm without their approval, their work getting stolen and artists being attacked by internet users as “being too sensitive to the subject “ But even after mentioning some serious pointers, for me as an artist to still be pro AI , why?

Look as it currently stands  yes their is ethical situations around the fact that our work gets used without consent,  and there needs to be a middle ground between artist’s and the companies behind creating this Ai stuff like Mid Journey and Stable Diffusion so both parties can end up enjoying the benefits that this brings.

Before we go further. What the fuck is AI Art

Ai art isn’t Artificial Intelligence at all. It really is a image generation builder. Meaning that humans need to feed data to this algorithm in order for the “ AI “ to create an artwork or image based billions of images in it’s database, breaking them apart and recreating a new artwork.

How does it work?

Let’s break it down to the easiest factor. The AI art algorithm crawls the web and collects data “Images" such as artworks,  photos ect. It then gets fed into the database. But in order to create a new artwork you need an external factor ( that is the person that types in a prompt )  to command the Ai to create an artwork using the words that you’ve added. It’s text to image basically.

What is the problem Artists have with this?

It is their style, their art that are used to build the AI algorithm without their consent and they feel violated of their rights of ownership.

Sam Yang from Sam Does Art is an unfortunate example of his stylized work that has been used and fed into the these programs without his permission,  and people started posting Ai generated art in his style on twitter and some even saying it was their own work.

Why Artists are Fed Up with Ai Art - Sam Does Art

And when Sam said something about this, he got back lash from so many people saying that he is over sensitive. I mean, what the fuck? How would you like if someone takes your years of hard work on something and suddenly says it’s theirs. That’s bullshit, you worked for it. Any case, I highly recommend you check out the video “Why Artists are Fed Up with Ai Art” on Sam’s Youtube channel.

With all said and done, we shouldn’t really stress too much about this. Artist, relax... everything will be fine, Ai will not replace our work. Until it can think and act on it’s own we are fine.

Besides it’s not the program that we are scared of it’s the users that has no ethical standards. So if you’ve played with these prompts to create an artwork, used a specific artists name to render it in their style and posted it as your own , then you’re toxic and should be cancelled.  And I said what I said. Because the problem doesn’t come just from this generator, it comes from the user that thinks they can ride on the back of artists success and get away with it. And that is what exactly happened to this twitch stream artist

In another instance of art theft using AI, artist AT @haruno_intro was live stream drawing Genshin Impact fan art on Twitch and one of the stream’s viewers took the unfinished work and finished it using AI, then posted it onto Twitter as a finished work as if it was theirs. What’s worse, when AT finally posted their original finished piece, the person demanded they get credited.

After the individual promptly got bullied off of Twitter by enraged onlookers, AT then received to get over 400,000 likes on the original finished piece.Extract from https://scadconnector.com/2023/01/05/ai-art-and-the-ethics-of-automating-artistic-skill/

Image: AI left vs Artist Original Artwork https://twitter.com/haruno_intro/status/1580217941697888256

Yeah, so who was to blame there. It was the viewer that took unethical advantage against an artist, it was not Ai’s fault in particular.  Because it is merely a tool, and if unethical users use it we will see unethical results

The bright side of AI - Artists using it to it's innate potential

Yes, There are short comings with this, but again Artists don’t stress too much and don’t be against AI generated art either. Although there are major problems, there are just as many opportunities to this. You as an artist yourself can make use of it and create new works of art you where never able to create on your own. And I think for one that’s fantastic, it’s just another terrific tool to add to our digital tool kit.

It’s not all bad news. And if you don’t believe me, here are two great examples of artists that has successfully used AI to create their own unique work of art.

@NekroXIII on Twitter, who creates these beautifully complex art pieces using photobashing, a technique involving merging and blending images and even 3D assets into one final composition. A common practice in the concept art industry to streamline workflow and convey realistic textures better, Nekro embraces AI in an amazing fashion, generating their own assets to photobash their pieces together.

Another example is Jason M. Allen from West Colo. That entered his AI generated artwork called “Théâtre D'opéra Spacial into the Colorado State Fairs Annual art competition in 2022 and ended up walking away with the blue ribbon for emerging digital artists.

And while we are at it, I too used Midjourney to help me create an artwork. However I ended up using it more as a reference sheet for myself to help determine how I wanted to create this character inspired by the snow leopard. And yes here is the prompt I used.  So the opportunities are there to my fellow artists.

In Conclusion

The fact still remains that artist are being taken advantage of, however as it currently stands, a group of artists have set in motion a class action copyright lawsuit against popular Ai companies as per an article from Technollama. In my opinion, with time regulations will be set on AI as it was with 3d printing back then. Ai art is still new, and the change happened incredibly fast for us as artists, but I believe once these Ai companies hopefully realize that they are mistreating us as artists and realize that artists could be their biggest client base, I’m sure we’ll see some kinks fixed in the coming months.  

In part 2 of this AI madness  I’ll be having a discussion with my friend Christiaan Steyn from Steyn Ip ( A copyright and Ip lawyer)  about the legal aspects of Ai generated art and what we as artists should know. Don’t miss out on that.

NEW EVOLUTION OF ART

Image source from www.history.com

In the end realise this. Ai Art is the next evolution of creating art since photography was invented in 1839. Ai Art is the evolution of digital art as was digital art the evolution of traditional art and photography the evolution of portraiture. It is a new era of art, instead of being stubborn and unwilling to adapt... rather embrace and learn the new tool that has been created.

The fundamentals are generally universal across most mediums and styles. Whether it is traditional art like paintings for example or digital art and graphic design. But in today’s blog we will be looking at how to apply the fundamentals to character designing and illustrations.

The fundamentals I would consider would be Elements of Art (Line work, color ect.) , Technique (Application), Composition, Perspective and Iconology.

Elements of Art

Elements of art are stylistic features that are included within an art piece to help the artist communicate.

1. Line Art

Line Art plays a crucial part in character designing or illustrations to help define what it is about and gives it attention and dimensionality.

Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin.

I’m not saying you have to have clearly visible black lines, but there should be a hint of line work in your art to help divine it, for it to be readable for your audience.

Look at these examples below:

You will see that each one has their own unique twist to applying line work to their art.

Figure 1: Portrait of Faye. Art by Ross from Ross Draws
Ross offers great tutorials on his YouTube Channel and has a  Art Bootcamp where you get to learn on hand from Ross on improving your art, I highly recommend checking it out.
2021 Art Recap. Art by Ezra Art
Figure 2: Lemonhead Shark Reference, Art by RinoTuna

2. Shape

Shape Language is a concept used to communicate meaning based on shapes we are familiar with. When used in character, object, and background design, shapes can tell a story, show personality, and illicit an emotional response in the viewer without using any words.

Learn more about Shape Language and how to apply it in your own art. – Click Here –

Figure 3: Art by Ross from Ross Draws
Figure 4: BNHA Gym Outfit Designs. Art by Your Drawing Pineapple
Figure 5: Violet Evergarden Fanart by Ezra Art

3. Color

Color theory refers to the body of principles which address how we see color and what it is.

The theory is much easier to comprehend by breaking color into its three individual elements, being hue, saturation, and value.

Hue: Where the color is located on the color wheel. Red, blue, yellow, green: these are different hues.

Saturation: How vivid or rich a color is. A color which is highly saturated is vivid. A low saturation color is weak and close to gray.

Value: How light or dark a color is, on a scale of white to black. High-value colors are light and low-value colors are dark.

Okay so you have the basics of it sorted, but how do you apply it? My best advice, just try different ways in using the colors and have fun with it.

By using warm tone colors and applying purple tinted shadows, darkening the colors and just using the principals of color theory I’ve created a dangerous, bloodthirsty atmosphere that ends up making you as the viewer uncomfortable and scared.

Original Character: Ax. Artist, Ezra.

Technique

There isn’t much to say about this, but here we go. In my opinion how technique would be used in character design is combining everything you learned from the fundamentals of art together. In other words it would be the sort of style you are trying to convey. Whether it is more of a painterly aesthetic, 3d looking or styling your art in a 2d way.

Some example below. Look at the different ways of application.

Figure 7: Portrait of Faye. Art by Ross from Ross Draws
Figure 8: Original Character: Ax. Artist, Ezra.
Figure 9: Eren Yeager Peeker Sticker by Ezra Art

Composition

Composition means “putting together”. In graphic design, a successful composition is where all the separate elements come together to form a whole design.

This is everything from:

  1. Scale (Having each element of your character from anatomy, clothing, accessories ect. Be in the same scale and proportions with each part of the character.)
  2. Balance ( Refers to whether it is symmetrical or asymmetrical. Generally we have a thumb of rule to include some asymmetry in designing as it makes the character or illustration more compelling and interesting. )
  3. Rhythm (How is the flow of the design, is it chaotic, calming or balancing? )
  4. Focus point (Where is the focal point of your character, is it the eyes, maybe the clothing it’s wearing. Or if it is an illustration of a landscape, maybe there is a flower that might be the focal point. )
  5. Unity (The elements of your character or illustration come together in unity and complement each other.)

Examples below on composition:

Figure 10: Aurora. Art by Zdenek Benjamin Cehelsky. Rykyart
Figure 11: Lubbock Fanart by Ezra Art https://www.instagram.com/ezra_animeart

Perspective

Perspective in art usually refers to the representation of three-dimensional objects or spaces in two dimensional artworks. We as artists use perspective techniques to create a realistic impression of depth, 'play with' perspective to present dramatic or disorientating images.

With character designing we apply perspective to characters to create dynamic poses and relay a specific sort of view that tells the viewer a message.

Look at these examples below:

Figure 12: How to Draw Dynamic Poses: Step by Step Guide and Tips. By Jae Johns. https://jaejohns.com/dynamic-poses/
Figure 13: Art by Rykyart

Iconology

Iconology is a method of interpretation in cultural history and the history of the visual arts used by Aby Warburg, Erwin Panofsky and their followers that uncovers the cultural, social, and historical background of themes and subjects in the visual arts.

Okay, but this isn’t visual arts but character designing and illustration; so how does this apply to it? It’s simple, what message do you want to convey with your character. What is the personality, the intentions what is the reason for your characters existence.

Whether you want a mundane, hyper enthusiastic, murderous, friendly, depressed, smart, dumb, skilled in sports or science character… whatever the case, that is Iconology and that is what you want to convey for your character. Iconology applies for illustrations like landscapes or buildings too.

Summary

In the end if you want to improve or learn character designing or illustration, learning the fundamentals is important. Every artist, if you’ve been doing it for a year or 10 years, applies the fundamentals of art in the work they produce.

Now how can I learn these fundamentals? We live in a technological era where information is easily accessible. There are many artists out there that actual gives tutorials on these principals.  And to name a few, Ross Draws or Jazza (Older tutorial videos) on YouTube. Skillshare and Udemy are great platforms too. And one last option I would suggest is the Art Bootcamp run by Ross.

Now get out there and start creating. If you have any questions, send me a email and I’ll be more than happy to give you advice. hello@ezra-art.com

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