28 - From Fine Art to Entertainment Art

General / 31 August 2022

Welcome back my dear readers and hello new visitors! It's the end of August 2022 and here are some thoughts on my 4-year self-directed learning journey. I hope some of you will find it relevant and helpful.

As a longtime fan of video games (since 2000) and anime (since 2009), I decided to learn how to draw four years ago. However, I've felt like I'm betraying my own self lately. Starting from the third year of my drawing journey, I have barely played games nor watched anime. I've spent all the free time I have learning Fine Art, digitally, day after day, for the sake of making 'better' art. "What is happening?", I wondered.

Figure in Neon Light, a painting assignment from Renae Wang at New Masters Academy

What led to this confusion is that most Entertainment artists aren't great at teaching art fundamentals as slowly and clearly as the Fine Art ones. That was the number one reason I decided to learn from Fine Art teachers instead and ignored Entertainment artists after my first two years of self-study. Then, things got tricky after the next two years. As I can paint better by studying Fine Art masters, I get further and further away from the Entertainment side. As a result, I watched more movies with realistic human characters to better my fine art painting, and eventually, forgot entirely my childhood dreams, including video games and anime.

Luckily, there was a deciding moment when I saw a post from a VFX animator on ArtStation, Ivan Boyko, just a few days before the end of July this year. That was when I realized that even if I want to paint cool effects like teleportation and energy shots, I will not likely find them in any Fine Art environment anytime soon.

Teleportation VFX by Ivan Boyko at Artstation

Therefore, starting from this August, I've looked at the Entertainment side of art once again. It's about time to apply my Fine Art knowledge to the Entertainment field, I guess! It's tough to figure out how much Fine Art fundamental I need to know before I can at least play with designs and storytelling. Or this may be the never-ending cycle of learning Fine Art and Entertainment Art throughout the whole life of a professional artist. At least, a friend of mine who is working in the game industry told me that shapes and textures are super important. So, I will take that hint and go from there.

Thankfully, the knowledge I've gained from Fine Art training helps me follow entertainment artists much more easily. This means all the time I've spent on learning Fine Art knowledge is not meaningless at all. I just need to go back and forth between two worlds when needed:

  • Storytelling, Design and Software skills from Entertainment Art,
  • Anatomy, Figure Drawing, Color theories and Value/Edge controls from Fine Art.

Below are some gesture drawing exercises I did while learning from Alex Woo at Schoolism. I have learned gesture drawing from Fine Art, but this time, it's different and exciting. There is an idea or a story that a pose wants to tell the viewers. Thus, I need to use lines of actions, shapes, and silhouettes to convey the message clearly. I'm designing shapes to tell a story, that's what it feels like!

Gesture Drawing with Alex Woo

I've allowed myself to watch one anime episode at night on Netflix and have fun painting cute anime girls too, finally! I'm also playing some games on Steam again. Suddenly, all these recreation activities help me feel so alive. They deeply connect to my past and give my drawing journey purpose once again!

Fan art of Maomao from Kusuriya No Hitorigoto manga

I'm still learning Fine Art digitally but with a different approach though. I'm trying to use bold and vibrant colors and digital-looking brush strokes. I do not necessarily force every artwork of mine to look like an oil painting. I want to open doors for creativity by using interesting shapes, colors, and textures to paint.

I used HeavyPaint and Photoshop to create interesting shapes and textures for this painting!

Besides, I'm recovering from an ingrown toenail surgery now. Not a pleasant experience though, but thankfully, I'm being honest with my inner child and having fun combining or at least going back and forth between Fine Art and Entertainment world to help me get closer and closer to my dream.

That's all for this month, my dear readers! Thanks for reading and I hope this post will be helpful to you or your art-lover friends too! See you next time!