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Part two of my Understanding Your Style: Symbols, Design Pattern, and Anti-Pattern guide/essay-thing.

If you're seeing this first because it came up stacked first in your messages, please, go read part one first! It might be a bit confusing otherwise!

If you like what you see here, please, share it with your friends. I literally put over a week's worth of work into writing, formatting, and illustrating this. If you like it, please support it! This message is extremely important to me, and I've been thinking about making a guide on it for a long time.
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usernamesarefornerds Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
guilty as charged. will definately keep this in mind. was just drawing and noticed i drew someone and they had a weird nose Confused 
NarutoAndDeidaraRox Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Student General Artist
I've been stuck in this rut for a few years now, thanks a lot for this! It's really helpful c:
Okasen Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Student General Artist
This was a really great read (as was part one) and now I'm gonna go check for long noses.
BugzAttack Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my gosh, This explains so much.  Wow! 
CeberusTwice Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014
In terms of the "updated" drawing of that woman, she doesn't just have too long of a nose; she doesn't have enough chin.
Just observing, if it helps anyone.
who-the-moon-is Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:clap: Thank you for saying this. All of it. It's great.
Hopfield Featured By Owner May 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so true! But it works the other way round as well.  I'm happy with natural proportions in portraits but can't draw the more stylized faces at all, because my brain only sees the pattern of big eyes, small nose instead of the change in symbols used.  Drawing less stylized features at 'anime' sizes looks weird.  Really weird.  The appeal of moving away from realistic faces is being able to convey big expressions with fewer lines - economy of line is the goal.  I'm finding Disney animations are a nice middle ground to try and ease myself away from realism, with quite realistic proportions in the earlier cartoons (ignoring Snow White - she's a freak), then progressing to a much more cartoony and anime influenced look once you get to Aladdin or thereabouts.  There's a lot of habit breaking involved, but it's fun.  Sorry, babbling - this tutorial is awesome, going straight onto my favourites.

And Andrew Loomis is back in print! At least he is in the UK - got my hardcover 'Figure Drawing for all It's Worth' for Christmas, and it's amazing.
arhiee Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
CrimeanDoodler Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
This is really insightful.
Cow-Butt Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014
I was just thinking about TF2 when I read that. I had to double check to see if I hallucinated it. 
ZeltidisFreak Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
is anime style bad? like do people look down upon it? I'm just curious c:
heysawbones Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
It's not bad, but just like a lot of other things that aren't bad, lots of people do look down on it, unfortunately.
ChesyreFrog Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I don't think so, and I would say that it really comes to the viewer of the work to make that judgement. Some people like an anime aesthetic while others prefer a more western design, or something abstracted. 

The best way to address your question is to note that if you're drawing something in "your" style then it can look however you want. The audience that likes your work will like something about your design. If they don't like it then there's something they just don't dig.

The comments I hear about not liking anime are things like "they don't look asian", "their (insert feature here) is out of proportion/looks unnatural" or that the style is disliked because they don't watch anime. These comments are from people who hold a bias to begin with. 

If you browse galleries you'll see many different styles that may incorporate themes found in western/eastern art and that span all levels of realism. Draw what you like to draw, and admire what you admire. Above all else dabble with changes to your style and get a handle on the subject that you're drawing and let the rest develop organically.
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The problem occurs when you try to self-develop your own personal style and end up taking the fancy of another artistic style. It's close to art theft and its a type of corner-cutting. The rest won't develop "organically" as you put it if there is an incorrect presupposition involved in your mind that you are accessing as your state of reference. Even in art there is a right and wrong and good art and bad art, even contained within one's own style; its not as settled in opinion as you might think.

And it comes from trying to copy a design. The suggestion "Draw what you like to draw, and admire what you admire. Above all else dabble with changes to your style" is exactly what the artist is trying to get people to avoid. Because by doing so, you're in danger of incorrectly jumbling the personal style with a different, copied style.

The core idea is to completely strip away drawing everything you like and all the styles and types (Western, anime, etc.) and draw everything directly from real life. From there, after understanding realistic art crafts, divert on your own accord to fit the specific abstracts requirements. When you fail to meet those requirements, you have done it incorrectly. 
ChesyreFrog Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Well said. :D
ZeltidisFreak Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
Thank you! <3
HeartIsIce Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Student General Artist
So true!
K-B-Jones Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You might be interest in something I just posed on my blog here:… . I think the reason for the long-nose anime error is that the proportions an anime artist learns for their anime is not the same as the proper proportions for realistic faces.  It isn't helped by an awful lot of tutorials out there teaching these anime proportions AS IF they are the classic, realistic proportions.  So, someone just learning to draw thinks they're getting it right when they draw this way, but in reality they're having the problems you're talking about here.  
Wolfypaints Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Kyo Shoma is so much cuter in american style!  You did such a good job on this article.  Kudos  :heart:
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok hmm... VERY interesting. 

Now that I understand this, I think I found my artistic problem. I'm trying to go backwards, from Western realism and devolve into anime-esque cartooning and I am having a monstrous problem doing it.
ineses Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist
i love you
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
For those interested in Andrew Loomis: I found this post with links for downloading five of his books; the books (with an additional one) may also be found at, here.

Lots of thanks for this "guide/essay-thing" Love  It really gave me an insight. I'm one suffering from this right now, and I really would not have recognized it. The Natalie Portman demonstration made me laugh!

This makes me look at my work more objectively now.
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Oops, sorry. Miscounted. There's no additional one at They are the same number.
eurekasfray Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013
Now that I've downloaded the them, turns out they are the same file, except for "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth." The one on has cover page for the first page, whereas the one the other website has the dedication page for the its first page.
calicokatt Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is really intriquing and helpful. It's helped me look at my style more critically and actually thinking about what I'm drawing and going, "if this were real life, would this look right?" And it gave me a bit of a giggle too with the Natalie Portman thing. Thanks much :)
Tetsu-Deinonychus Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
Great advice for artists of any style. Nicely done!
bread-doh Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2013
who knew, just from that long mid face-nose thingy we could interpret why anime faces are still appealing to many, to so many possible answer. :p

"we were enlarging the eye socket so the cheekbone goes down, and so cheek fat and nose too, but seeing that V-shaped face outline we weren't sure from just the front, are those puffy cheeks or jawline". "or maybe we were sizing down the jaw and mouth enough that its not the nose that's long".

Viataf Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Student General Artist
man this opens my eyes to alot. its funny how you mention understanding the original source material of the subject of your art to develop a closer-to-what-i-would-like-it-to-be art style. I kinda realized that early on. I realized that my style was changing but instead of going western i wanted to be able to draw realism if it came to that but my range of comfort lied in the area between anime and real life. kinda like in the phoenix wright games!! I really like how they mix anime with realism in a balanced way while retaining comedic effect. Its comforting.

oh and thank you~
Eninaj27 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Was interesting to read and watching anime turning into western style :)
After all, I think long noses and other "wrong" anatomy can make an awesome, interesting style too.
Chips13 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
I really love this. It highlights and explains the cause of most problems in art I see everyday. Long nose Natalie Portman will remind me to be more careful from now on.
lvl99tonberry Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Excellent and beautiful!

Now I just have to figure out if my faces look wonky and whether this is the cause, because I have a serious love--in art and in real life--of large, long, dramatic and prominent noses. eheh.
TalkingToMyArt Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd been drawing anime for years before I decided to switch it up a bit and focus more on a western-style of drawing. And recently, I found out that the massive amount of anime influence was making my attempts at realism look wonky and deformed, but I never actually thought someone would go and make a tutorial to help AVOID that kind of stuff!

Nuclear-Shrimp Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool tips! I always hear about people coming out of their "anime phase" to draw more realistic so this is pretty interesting!
AishaTsukiari Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this tutorial sure made me learn a lot....Even if I draw anime and don't want to change it, man I neither want to end with horse-human faces xDDD I'll practice my anatomy from the source, as you said! Thanks a lot for making this! c:
Sakiusa Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't even know how I found this, but thank you. I kind of want to improve my art style, and I figured the best way to really start was to focus on anatomy, so I've started there. Reading this actually made me more determined to improve, so thanks again. I'll be sure to send this to my friend when she gets on.
Zumiex Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
Wow! That's some good insight! I have wanted to get away a bit from the anime style I want just for something a bit more 'realistic', however I normally found that going right from one style to a new one too quickly actually makes it look worse so I'm trying to take my time by incorporating new things as using real anatomy references at the same time. However do have a hard time with the nose, mostly because I can't figure out how to draw a nose that I actually like (they all look ugly to me, I mean in general), so yeah. But this will help me to get a new perspective on things, thanks! :D
jonarty Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
yo tambien hecho mi propio estilo
Nexson Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
I never even realized I was doing this! I always wondered why my free handed drawing looks so different from sketches from my realism practice. They looked sort of empty, it never donned on me that I was skewing them like this. I can't help but say thank you! Now that I have identified my "disease" I can work to cure myself of it.
DyLaN-gReNkE Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Uh. Wow. Thank you for this.
I had noticed I was doing this in my non-anime drawings and couldn't figure out what was up.
Now I know.
half-cracked Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist
This is great, very insightful. I can see the idea of the anti-pattern being a really useful concept to be aware of.
mearlyNear Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
thank you!
ohTHATsean Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
What an interesting exercise with the long nose test there..
ToranekoStudios Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013   Digital Artist
Thank you so much. This is helping me greatly.
etvoluptas Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is really interesting. I'm not an anime artist, but I still find it very informative. keep writing!
ProfessorSteel Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I finally got around to reading this, very interesting, although it's stuff I roughly knew, this really does put my thoughts about it in order.
It made me wonder though, the book "The new drawing on the right side of the brain" deals with the issue of the tendency to draw in symbols (as is described in your submission here) even when attempting to study an image from life, have you read the book yourself and what's your opinion on it?
DollGrownUp Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Excellent lesson. :) Thank you!

I guess I can appreciate better why my dad made me practice drawing people instead of the Disney characters I wanted to, when I was little. xD
SovietPropaganda Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aw, your little bits with the guy and he goes "i'm not an anime artist ANYMORE" omg that was so adorable.
This is very insightful, btw, I'm still struggling with anime being present in my style!
TheWhiteJewel Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
I will never look at Kyo Souma the same way again! xD
BaneNascent Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You should make this into a Guide! I think it'll help a lot of people. I'm bored and it's 1 AM and i'm waiting for my Carp to die down so I decided to coast the posts. I don't know how old this is but it's pretty sweet. You were always pretty level headed I think people can grow from thy old sage wisdom!
heysawbones Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Professional General Artist
It is a guide! This is part 2 of it :0
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