Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Kim

I'm thankful that I get to work with people who are awesome.

One of my coworkers, Jason Kim, has a great eye for appeal and design, and he spent about 20 minutes helping me out by drawing over my design.  He always notices seemingly insignificant things that in the end make a drawing much stronger.  Click the image below for an animation showing the transition from my original drawing (blue) to his fixes (red) to see what I'm talking about.
Just for the record, Jason suggested that I put some feet poking out of the end of the dress, a suggestion I ignored for reasons I'll explain later.  So if it looks funny without them, that's my fault.

Speaking of which, do you ever wish that people gave more critiques on art blogs instead of just digital high-fives?  I used to go to some art forums and I liked the positive criticism and exchange of ideas there.  But I understand why it's not the same with blogger---it's missing is the constancy of conversation threads, where it's easy to keep track of dialogue you're interested in (and interesting comments don't quickly get swept away by new posts).  Maybe someday someone will come up with a hybrid solution that can satisfy both needs.


  1. I agree. I dont post in forums for the same reason. Too many bouncing emonicons and beer mugs, no substance. Also, Its a little embarassing to hear the unrestrained vocabulary people use for good or bad comments.

  2. The advices of your friend jason are more stylizes.
    .I like your original draw Sam , but his modifications are better

  3. woah, that was very awesome, thanks for sharing

  4. Jason is the man.
    Yeah, I agree there is a major lack of constructive criticism on blogger. My excuse is that I'm in awe of all the work I see on these blogs....

  5. The lack of conversation threads is a good hypothesis, it never occured to me before. But it also might be that the audience on blogs is different than that on forums. Not sure if you have done this in the past, but you could always tell people that you're looking for constructive criticism.

    love your work. by the way.

  6. Arturo: Maybe you're right, it was emoticons that killed forums! I actually think the real reason is most forums are a victim of their own popularity---the more people you bring in, the more likely you are to get a few idiots who are really vocal.

    Thanks Jose and Kendra!

    Aaron: I often feel the same way, but even when I do have a critique I don't dare share it because I don't want to look like the jerk in the midst of the "Dood yrso awesum!"s.

    Alexis: I think asking for criticism would probably generate some good feedback, but most people just fire their comments off and forget about them so it doesn't encourage the type of exchanges that really make critiques work (e.g. Someone gives a critique, but you ask for clarification, but you never hear from them again).

  7. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I think that gif animation was helpful in showing what you’re talking about. It looks like he made all or most of the straight lines into curved lines, making everything appear slightly circular or round. I can kind of see how that would make it can make it more appealing. But, I’m still learning. Thanks for sharing once again.

  8. So beautiful blog !!!

  9. This is going to sound silly... But can you tell me what you mean by appeal and design? I was told the other day by a teacher I was asking for help that I have a great sense of appeal and design, but I don't really understand what he means. It's hard to improve on everything else I want to improve when I don't know what I'm doing-- right? And I can't even hope to replicate it when I'm told "You just have a good eye for it,"

  10. I had a teacher in school that did the same thing. He would take the sad work I had created and trace over it and create what my brain wanted my hand to do but didn't have the skill at the time. It was still my creation, he just helped get to a better result faster.
    (thanks Shane Hsu)

  11. That's why I canceled the comments on my blog. My intention was to receive not "ooooohs" or "uuuuuughs", but "I like it (or hate it) because of this and that". And that's what happened at first, but lately it was all high-5s.
    So, I'll wait a bit till I let people comment again :-)

    I love the folds of the dress, by the way. And yes, some feet would be nice :-)

  12. Sam is much too generous with the credit he doles out. I have to say for the record that he is, in large part, responsible for a talent development spike in our studio; not to mention the surrounding 60 miles and beyond.

  13. and yes....that was just a digital high five.

  14. Hey, this is a really neat post! (high five)

    Sam, I took your original drawing and Jason's fix into photoshop, and filled in the silhouettes to get a better picture of the differences, and they are striking! That's probably a good way to double check your linework...

    Yay, learning!

  15. I'd definitely critisize, since I always seem to have some opinion. Bu it's hard to critizise your master when he's an abyss beyond you

  16. Those improvements really turned out great!

  17. In Wordpress you can thread comments. I'm not sure which plug in my friend uses, but it's a little big and balloon like in terms of space used and font size, so the threading becomes irksome and visually annoying.

    But yes. I've also sort of yearned for the kind of threading you get on discussion boards sometimes. Comments even as they are can be used more intelligently. YOu've read the ones I get - maybe it has more to do with audience than with form. Sometimes people comment only as a re-assuring echo (I've heard you - I like you). But some people actually say things worth reading.

    I suppose that a blog seems personal enough that people don't assume permission to exercise criticism. It does feel a little impolite, coming to someone's site and then offering a differing point of view. And most people, I think, are leary of conflict - even civil conflict - and find it easier to close the window than to state any kind of criticism.

    I liked the idea of schlepping the two images into Photoshop and filling them in. I had to run the animation several times and look specifically at several different areas to see why he did what he did. In some cases, I felt that his line was good and different, but not better. In both cases, I'd like her stinking neck line to be a little bit higher (ahem - don't give ME that coy look when your chest is hanging out). The slope of her back is what interested me most.

    Now, as far as what better might mean - it depends entirely on what you are doing with character. Who she is will (or is supposed to feel to the audience that she is) will dictate those slight changes that communicate in subtle ways the character she plays. So I can't judge between the before and after, really -

  18. Numerous times I've wanted to offer constructive criticism, but when there are already 10-30 "high five" comments, I feel like the debbie downer...

  19. have you tried the sketchbook section of some great talent there including bill whitaker

  20. Wow.. I'm blown away with how those subtle changes affect the overall appeal!!

    I studied that gif pretty closely.. and I realized, I really need to start doing some double takes with my line art.. It really isn't all that hard to make those fixes. The hard part ( for me ) is not immediately jumping into colors!

    So, this blog is awesome! I'm quickly becoming very fond of your most excellent art style... The realism of your lighting is absolutely inspirational for me!

    Thanks a lot for sharing these little bits of your process!

    Where can I find more on this book you're working on? I'm really looking forward to purchasing a copy!


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