Art Styles and Clever Design

One thing I think most people struggle with creatively is starting. People tell me they “just can’t do it”, and honestly, that’s crap. You just aren’t trying hard enough.

For example, I often hear people say “I can’t draw”. Well, I say, that’s because you don’t practice enough. We aren’t born with the ability to draw, and we aren’t born with a crippling aversion to drawing. If you can’t draw, it’s simply because you haven’t had the practice.

To start drawing, find something you like and put pencil to paper. If you’re anything like me, it’ll look awful – but at least you’ve started, and now you’re on the way to being great at it. In the immortal words of Jake the Dog:


Having said all that, there are certain shortcuts we can take regardless of skill level. There are different techniques to any given creative field, a lot of which can help with starting a new project or skill.

We recently looked at a technique for conceptualization. In this case, we were trying to create a concept for a vehicle in a racing game. Mine (pictured below) was among the worst of the lot, but some really looked great.


(I was born with a crippling aversion to photoshop)

The technique we used is known as “Photo Bashing”. Photo Bashing is the process of combining other images to create a completely new one, as in the above example. I used bits of a jet ski, a motorbike, an umbrella, a fire alarm, some gears and more, and managed to create a motorbike (it isn’t my proudest moment).

This is a relatively controversial technique, mostly because of copyright issues. Obviously, collecting large amounts of images and claiming credit for what you create is going to be an issue from time to time. I agree on some level, but I don’t think photo bashing is really used for plagiarism. Rather, it tends to be used for conceptualization – because it can be used to create quickly, it’s ideal for people working to a deadline, for example.

This doesn’t mean that nobody uses it to plagiarize, of course. Credit should always be given to the original images, quite unlike what I’m doing. I did find it helpful – there’s no way I’m skilled enough to create the above image from scratch without the use of this (or a similar) technique.


Close enough

The point is that this technique (and others) can help with quickly breaking into a creative field. While they aren’t necessarily ideal for building your skillset, they help with building confidence – seeing that you can create something that’s ordinarily above your skill level is a good feeling, which also helps to build interest in improving yourself.

If you’re the kind of person that says “I wish I could do this”, go and do it. Stop having a cry and complaining to people, because the problem is with you. For example, I wish I could sound less righteous on my blog, but it isn’t going to happen without some practice.


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