How I see an artist: what they do.

This post was written a while ago, but I didn’t publish it because I thought something was missing. I still don’t know what to add, but it’d been sitting around for too long, and I’ve put too much effort into it for me to just leave it, so here it is.

Anime: Diebuster/Gunbuster 2

I’ve been planning to write a series of posts about various things that artists do for a while now, and I think that just can’t be done without first looking at the various ways that Japanese 2d art gets published, and how each method affects the styles.

For this post, I will feature a typical anime-based artist, manga-based artist, novel-based artist, magazine-based artist, visual novel-based artist, and internet-based artist. This will be focusing mostly on character.

Anime: Clannad (original character designer: Itaru Hinoue)

There are 2 and only 2 sources of anime art. The first is a frame taken from the show itself, and the second is through promotional art (which is usually posed).To be anime art, the drawings must come directly from the animation studio (or at least one of its staff).

Making an anime is just like making anything else, really. Someone comes up with an idea, and the idea is broken down into smaller pieces with people who may or may not care about it doing the grunt work (which is the process of drawing the frames). Because so many people are drawing for a single series at any one time, there are often significant differences in quality from image to image. The person who designs the characters usually have little to none involvement with the actual production, though some animes (such as Sola) use artists successful in other mediums as a form of promotion. However, a person should never mistake the original character designer for the person who converts the design to something that can be easily drawn in the typical anime style.

Because an anime involves so much movement and such things, the typical animator will be pretty good good at drawing the human body in various ages and perspectives, especially when it comes to movement. The colors used are rarely complicated and the lines are usually very solid, with the purpose being to be able to create the most complete image with the least amount of work.

Character: Asakura Yume from Da Capo II, Anime and Game (original character designer: Tanihara Natsuki)

Usually, because of the lack of funds, affection, artistic beliefs,  (or sometimes  understanding), much of the style is lost in translation in anime adaptions. While that’s just fine in animes like Clannad, in most cases it pains me greatly. What’s even worse is when the animation studio releases promotional art with characters doing things that they wouldn’t possibly have done originally, it’s just…ugh.

When it comes to original anime, however, there is a trend for simpler (and more humane looking) people (animes like Code Geass with mangaka character designers do not count). I pay less attention to them because while they’re usually better in terms of animation in the video, I usually look at still images so they don’t help. Possible the sole exception is Makoto Shinkai’s work, where the backgrounds are pure eye candy. However, as I said, this is a post that focuses on characters, so I’ll leave that for another day.

Manga: Amanchu by Amano Kozue

In manga, the focus is on the story. Yes, there are occasions where a popular illustrator will draw manga (Tinkle did it, Aoi Nanase did it, Carnelian did it, etc etc etc), HOWEVER, when they do their own stories the manga usually don’t get anywhere. I say the cause is the fact that they draw because they can’t write in the first place, and that they can’t use the manga style properly (series like Hibiki no maou, where the artist is not writing the story, do not count).

Manga: Bakuman (art by Obata Takeshi)

The characteristics of manga art is the fact that it’s based on traditional tools: ink and tones. This gives the art a considerably different effect and saves it from what I call the blank line syndrome, where all the lines are the same thickness and has little to no effect. Because of the way that it is, the mangaka will try to get the most from every line, and will not put the focus on character faces, unlike all the rest of the artists within this post. Because the vast majority of manga is black and white, they will also often have a strong sense of light and shadow.There is often a great emphasis on background art (unless the artist is doing a gag manga or simply isn’t skilled enough, and I ignore them as artists in both cases).

Manga: Pandora hearts by Mochizuki Jun

The general feeling of colored manga pages and promotional anime art isn’t that different. They’re both there to showcase the characters and get attention. That said, mangaka tend to color (also) with traditional materials such as ink and markers (as opposed to anime, which is almost all digital now). Of course, the quality and the amount of love for the characters are on completely different levels, especially with the artists who do more than simply fill in the blank spaces with color and actually utilize the colors to their advantage.

Game promotional art (Para-sol) by Carnelian

The circles involved with magazine spreads and VNs (well, usually eroges) are closely related, so I’ll talk about them together. This connection starts from the distribution methods itself. Game art is distributed through the game itself and the promotional art (magazine spreads, posters, etc). What I call magazine art, on the other hand, are original characters by artists created for the sole purpose of showing up in the magazine. Almost always, they will feature cute girls (and from there we fall the trap of generic moe, something that isn’t exactly rare in other mediums either). There are also magazines that cater to girls, but I’ll leave that for another time. The brands that focus on magazine art and game promotion, such as Dengki hime and Dengki moeou, are closely related business wise and cater to the same audience, making it easy for artists to work on both sides. This is furthered by the fact that in both instances the artworks are completely 2d and completely digital. There are few successful eroge artists who have never done a magazine spread, and vice versa.

Magazine spread by Tinkle (original character)

In VNs, the artist spends a LOT of their time drawing characters (girls) directly facing the reader/player (hmm…it feels kind of odd because neither titles feel correct, Reikon talked about this too). When event CGs appear, there is also an overwhelming focus on the character (girl’s) faces, and same goes for promotional art. Unlike anime, where there are plenty chances for the artists to draw various poses and angles, this face focus in eroge will often lead to an artist who can draw nothing else but young girls in certain static poses. There are usually many flaws even within that small category, as more often than not the artist will not have a firm grasp on physics and the effects of gravity, or even anatomy. They will instead add incredible amounts of detail, outlining each and every fold of the fabric and strand of hair (the above image is a prime example of that). Yes, it looks great, but I feel tired trying to comprehend just how many lines are in front of me. Some of them also have a hard time drawing movement and proper anatomy, which is kind of ironic.

Game promotional art: Manaka and Ikuno (by Tatsuki Amaduyu)

Because they spend so much of their time drawing girls from the hips up, your average VN artist will have a hard time drawing the male half of the populations, back grounds, everyday objects, animals, special effects, etc, etc. And most of the time, that won’t matter because another artist will handle it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t eroge artists who can draw guys and backgrounds. There are quite a few, such as Ueda Ryou and Tony Taka (especially Ueda Ryou, who draws Makoto Shinkai level backgrounds). Although when it comes to overall skills in digital art, I’ll lean towards RPG artists (but those often involve 3d graphics, something which I won’t get into).

One thing that always bothers me about VN art is the fact that we don’t know exactly how much work an artist is putting in or who is drawing what. For instance, much of Takeuchi Takashi‘s art is colored by Koyama Hirokazu. Many people will know that Takeuchi Takashi was the one behind Tsukihime and Fate/Stay night, but Koyama Hirokazu was virtually unknown until it was announced that he would be doing the art for Type-Moon’s next game. There are other things, such as the fact that almost none of the art for the Ef series was drawn by Naru Nanao herself, despite her being the character designer. And many artists who work in the same company has artwork that looks exactly the same to me.

Can you tell that the left and right images are drawn by different artists? I can’t. Everything, from eye shape to body structure to coloring style is the same. This is good because a VN company want the same character to look the same all the time. This is bad because the art styles just are as generic as boiled water (and some companies insist on employing artists that I think are absolutely horrendous for reasons unknown to me, but I shouldn’t push my tastes on to other people). There is also sadly a trend for artists to deteriorate in quality over time, such as the case with yukiusagi (before and after), though that happens in all mediums and sometimes has to do with my changing tastes more than anything else.

For the curious, the artists are: (row1: Amane Sou, Yuki Usagi) (row2: Inagaki Miiko and Mitha) (row3: Muririn and Kobuichi) (row4: Nanao naru, Kokonobi)

Light novel: Scar/edge (art by Ueda Ryou)

Anyway, there are many who DO break away from the mold, such as Ueda Ryou, the artist of the above image. However, I’d say that he’s less of a VN artist and more of a light novel artist.

Unknown source, artist: Houden Eizou

Light novels AKA short novels with pictures, contain some of the best artworks in Japan. Unlike any that I’ve mentioned before, people who start with and focus on light novels have close relationships with the writers while focusing on developing their own styles. They draw everything themselves and avoiding the generic feeling of many commercial products (stemming from having an entire group of artists drawing the same thing). The best are like manga artists, good with lines from monochrome insert art, and better at color with covers and color pages (at the beginning of many light novels there is a 2 page colored spread, and covers are almost always in color).

Another thing to note is that light novel artists use many different tools and styles for their creations. That ranges from Ueda Ryou’s solid colors on the computer, to Amano Tooko‘s soft water like colors. This is particularly refreshing when you’ve been looking at too many CGs and they all look alike.

Unknown character, art by Keiichi Sumi

However, the one group that I dislike with a passion are generic eroge artists turned to light novels. Case and point: Seitokai no Ichizon.

Ugly guy, bad anatomy, awful sense of fashion, absolute inability to draw backgrounds, cheap coloring style, static poses, line uniformity, etc etc etc. None of this would not affect an artist working on an eroge negatively, in fact, I thought Inugami Kira’s designs for Supreme Candy were adorable.   However this style just isn’t fit for drawing for a light novel, no matter how ridiculous the story was (ridiculous in a good way, I thought that the anime was entertaining).

Artist: Dhiea

Last but no least, we have the internet/doujin based artist, which is my favorite group of all. They have no boundaries, and they draw just for the hell of it, because it’s what they love to do. They aren’t bound by contracts (with game or novel companies), and their work often isn’t as polished looking as the others in this post.

Fanart of Mio (no need for an introduction, I think), by Kagome

This is also the birthplace of fanart and the doujin culture, which subsequently strongly affects the production of original stories (some, like touhou, more than others). The modes of distribution are mostly through blogs and art sites such as Pixiv and Deviantart, with some artists being willing enough to release doujins on paper, and some lucky ones being popular enough to actually make money off of the doujins. This culture is also where the greatest variations of artists exist, with works coming from everyone from professional artists (such as Kagome, of the image above) to people with their everyday jobs drawing in their spare time (such as U10). Their differences can also be seen through their mediums and techniques. There is much more experimentation outside the confines of a writer, a director, a job, which can be seen in artists such as Itou Noizi.

Left: something she drew just for the hell of it, Right: something she was paid to draw

There’s quite a difference in feeling, isn’t there?

Artist: 想影真心 AKA star shadow magician, character unknown (might be miku)

Most of the internet artists that I like place less emphasis on completion,  but hey, completion is overrated, and I value the atmosphere of the drawing over whether all the lines connect or not. Of course, that also means there’s more not-so-great art to sift through, but the rewards are great. I love just spending an afternoon going on pixiv, clicking on one link after another and seeing what interesting things pop up.

Each medium has their own benefits, and each has their own faults, but what doesn’t change is the fact that they all have extremely talented people contributing to this ever-growing culture. I hope that this post was of use to you (or maybe introduced you to an artist that you really liked?). If you feel like there’s an artist that you absolutely love and that everyone need to know about, feel free to share with the world! Of course, that also includes illustrations that you create yourself.

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33 thoughts on “How I see an artist: what they do.

  1. Nice post! I like the section about VN and how they employ a lot of artists to draw with the same identity. That near-indistinguishable comparison up there is great/terrible. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not too fond of the VN art scene.

    There are a lot of different magazine types, though, and there’s stuff like non-moe related art magazines which focus on presenting creative works, such as the now defunct ROBOT plus its successor Gelatin, as well as the long-running Kikan S.

    Also, the Houden Eizou illustration was from a spread in the repackaged novel version of ICO.

    • Thanks for that link, too bad I can’t read Japanese T.T
      I really love the stuff from Gelatin, and there’s a magazine that releases its stories in Chinese, so I always look out for that (they don’t translate everything though). One of these days I’ll do a scanlation, except I can’t translate names at all…

  2. Quite a nice post indeed.

    Ah, I’ll always love net based artists more than the “well-known” artists who draw eroge, etc. In addition to actually liking what they’re doing, they actually make themselves accessible to people. And art can often play off of influences from people around you, so this contact with others is, I think, pretty important.
    I can barely stand to see people exclaiming about certain artists sometimes…<.<;;

  3. That was a great read. Unexpectedly gave me some knowledge too.

    Eroge artists tend to be overrated. As you put it, their lineart, poses, color palette, and even character/uniform design styles are getting more and more “as generic as boiled water” (this made me lol); the whole industry is simply relying on tried-and-true formulas a bit too much.

    I have a lot of respect for certain mangaka’s coloring styles when mixed with their lineart, although now I wonder how often are those illustrators actually them and not someone else in the publishing company whose name simply didn’t show up noticeably.

  4. This is one of those really helpful post of Choux that brings light to topics I generally think about but couldn’t analyze on.

    What strike out to me was your explanation of Light Novel artists, I didn’t really thought much on that previously until this post.

    I know I can’t draw well yet and I pretty much fail at drawing, but you’ve given me a new goal to try for light novel artist one day.

  5. Not much favour for eroge artists haha.

    Well since everyone knows about Ito Noizi, I won’t gush about how awesome her stuff is. A big influence on my own art from her.

    I’ll talk about Petite Devil (ぷちでびる) on pixiv, cute blob style which I thought I would never like, but his/her works are so simple and cute. If only I had that kind of mastery over colouring orz.

    • I fell in love with putidevil the first time I saw her stuff (the 100 masters of bishoujo painting says that she’s a her). I also really love Mitsuki mouse, who has a similar style.

      And your picture is coming, I haven’t forgotten!

      • hmm. choux, for newbie artists like myself, all i can think of is a direct face up drawing or occasionally a 3/4 view. but i can’t seem to think of any lively poses for a character, how do you come up with urs?

      • I am still waiting excitedly, waku waku~

        I forgot to mention how I also spend hours and hours just going through pixiv, I like to call it cruising through favorites/bookmarked.

        Another favorite is: masariro (マサリロ). Nothing outstanding technically, but I think what attracts me is just the amazing creativity or imagination of each alien world in his/her backgrounds; feels like each background is something you can easily flesh out and immerse yourself in.

  6. @rooked: Ooh, I’ve been meaning to look up that artist ever since I saw this in the pixiv nenkan. Thanks.
    @TNH: It’s kind of like taking everything you’ve ever seen, mixing it together, pulling something out and hoping that it looks good. I usually have no idea what I’m drawing until the picture actually comes out.

  7. Hm well, funny you mention Inugami Kira. Then again my bias on her art is due to the Hamaji character design (notice how you mentioned the *male* character in the seitokai light novel had bad anatomy and such).

    Well, I feel like the concept of drawing a trap is much different since the formula is different. For that same reason, as well as far fewer occurrences, you have less generic drawing formats. Well, this is a topic on artist image presenting, not traps.

    Indeed the post has been insightful. I found a lot of emphasis were on lining, coloring, shading, and other artistic terminologies that I have little to no knowledge of. I also don’t encounter pictures drawn by those on say, pixiv, which I ought to explore. This also means I haven’t quite delved into art drawings that use these atmospheric/ambient backgrounds and colorings.

    I was curious though on your opinion of say, character “posture”/presentation. I merely quote that because I cannot find the correct term. You mention about visual novel drawings and the incredible emphasis on the face, that even if other portions are skewed and whatnot, there’s tons more lining and factors to outweigh it.

    I merely mention posture presentation because that personally gets my attention sooner than art, as I’ve succumbed to seeing generic moe far more than say, watercolor art.

    On a random note, some light novel cover drawings are quite good at attention getting. The low ratio along with the artist + author relationship does make the drawings look more vibrant. I suppose since ones that work out well go into the other mediums so quickly, that it’s good that the image ratio is low (or you’d see a lot of the same visuals I suppose).

    I was also notified to get that 100 masters of bishoujo painting book. As of now, I merely glance over art images that display good presentation and appeal every now and then.

    • Hamaji wasn’t designed by Inugami Kira but by sca-ji, the writer. In fact, she didn’t design any of the H2o characters, though I can see how one would get confused (all of Makura Soft’s artists are very similar).
      I agree with you with that drawing a trap is a different, sadly most artists ignore that and give the traps feminine bodies (in manga like akisora, even guys that aren’t traps have feminine bodies, wide hips and all, which was odd).

      I have to say that I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with watercolors. In some cases, I love it to death, and in others, they can turn me completely off of a series. I think that it’s not just generic moe, but that computer generated images are brighter, sharper, and usually more eye catching than traditional art in general.

      What I really admire is those people who can’t really draw themselves but make those websites and wallpapers with like 200 layers of effects. Those who are good at it are just fantastic. The same qualities are there in a good cover designer. I can’t agree with you on that last point though. If an artist is truly skilled, then repetition would not be a problem.

      • Wait so sca-ji drew Hamaji? I can understand base design or character creation, but art drawing too?

        I haven’t come across manga traps. They certainly exist, though the cases I’ve seen don’t have um, unusual proportions. Then again the base character design is essentially 100% female. However, I am certain the approach to draw a trap is different (perhaps intentionally better posture/face appeal or something. Can’t ensnare without appeal. There’s definitely genericness to an extent but the low frequency doesn’t make it quite saturated if done right)

        Can’t disagree on the CG imaging having better contrasting/eye-catching in some cases. I mean really, other works of art don’t possess that. Then again I wouldn’t want all art to be CG.

        Cover design is quite interesting. Since it is the cover, it’s quite key as it is the first thing you see. I haven’t looked into it much but I’m sure the picture you see on the cover leads to clicks or at least a glance. I haven’t really looked into those layering editing and such. Perhaps I’ll look into other types of art styles instead of just character design.

        I can’t tell when repetition occurs since similar style drawings I would think is more on … the same design parameters as opposed to repetition. Art takes lots of practice and skill but of course I’ve never seen the reality of it so I wouldn’t know about repetition in that regard.

        It’s easy to see/look. It’s hard to draw. I’ll go get paper and a pencil and look at an image to draw.

  8. Thanks for the enlightening blog post. Makes me realize not just to stick to formulaic sketch + outline + color approach when it comes to deal as a 2D artist.

    With Katawa Shoujo, consistency of certain standard is required. Five artists stick on producing works with similar quality, later to be polished by one of the lead artist for wet painting look.

    Also we don’t have to draw environment and objects because retouched photos and CG cut-ins can do the job just as fine or even better due to VN presentation and directing.

    • Whoa, sorry this comment hasn’t showed up, the spam filter’s a bit weird there. I really like the art of Katawa shoujo (especially Rin, sorry), there’s this kind of airy quality to it. You guys won me over with that first snow scene, then again when I saw Ikuno in the room~

  9. Stop comparing MOTHER FUCKING GAINAX and KYOANI to some really low tier eroge artists. eroge art may look boring however keep in mind that it always requires a context, unlike internet based art. because companies want to get the most out of each cg, it makes more sense to use angles which span the most amount of text.
    light novel artists arent god tier because they’re DEVELOPING THEIR SKILLS through the medium but because light novels do not require much art so you can actually hire artists who kno their shit.

    >>One thing that always bothers me about VN art is the fact that we don’t know exactly how much work an artist is putting in or who is drawing what.
    you could say this with animators in animu, and assistants in manga.

    i dont really think theres such a need to distinguish between anime/manga/eroge/lightnovel/internet artists. most dabble in a variety of mediums, ie. makoto kawahara is both an animator and eroge illustrator.

    most eroge are not very profitable so good artists do other shit. of course companies want to stay consistent and hire various artists to draw in a similar style, its like creating a brand image for themselves (btw, animation companies do this too). if you look at the artists personal styles,they are usually not so generic – like yaegashi nan http://chafox.web.fc2.com/maindayo.htm and kado tsukasa http://www1.u-netsurf.ne.jp/~sakabon/ who both work for circus.

    btw i do think most eroge artists are ass, but there are also many ass animators and mangaka and MANY MANY ass internet illustrators

    • First, calm down. Swearing doesn’t make your points any better.

      Second, I sure as hell can compare gainax and eroge artists. Their stuff is out there for me to see and nothing is stopping me.

      I never said that eroge art in general is boring, and all the artists I mentioned are high tier artists. Carnelian? Tinkle? Naru Nanao? Tell me just why you consider these giants in that circle are considered low tier in anyway? Repetitive use of event CGs wasn’t something that I complained about, it was the creative loss that comes with the focus on the face.

      You’re saying that giant production companies and studios will have worse art, because they don’t have the money to hire artists who “kno their shit”?

      I’m not saying that all the areas are complete separate either, just that each area has a few distinct characteristics.

      Your point about what artists do in their own time was exactly what I mentioned in the post, except I used Ito Noizi as an example. I also mentioned how there’s a lot of bad internet artists.

      If you’re going to argue, at least read the post properly.

      • So, you’re saying popular = good?

        Carnelian, Tinkle, and Nano Naru are all popular but there are plenty of artists that are better than them.

        Also, eroge companies aren’t giant corporations. Most game development companies in general aren’t. The publishers may be, since they fund these little guys to do the work.

        Anime isn’t exempt from focus on the face, either. Closeups, hello? Anatomy? What anatomy? You mean the kind off-screen?

        Also, there are tons of shit-tier artists who use the moe style as a crutch to hide their anatomical errors, but anime itself has errors, too. It is less noticeable since cell-shading and 8-12 frames per second, though.

      • yes, but as you did throw out some really trashy eroge examples like mitha’s artwork, it would have been more fair to cover some horrible animation examples ie. akikan
        most eroge companies do not make alot of profit (aside from the BIG BIG ONES). even medium tier companies can go bankrupt at the drop of a hat, ie. KID, little witch, etc. http://forums.novelnews.net/showthread.php?t=35442 wow, there are some high sales there.
        i do not necessarily think eroge focus on the face, i mean there are H scenes so one could even argue that the artists need to have a sound grasp of anatomy. most artwork tends to focus on the face, regardless of genre. kidchan tends to work most with the face/ facial features and her art is god awesome http://kidchan.deviantart.com/ . some artists (like aoi) pump out alot of full body pinups but she sure as hell isnt improving.
        also no, i do not believe naru nanao/carnelian/tinkle are god tier eroge artists, try someone like nio http://blog.livedoor.jp/syonborilife/ who could just as well work in the western art industry but choses to illustrate eroge. however this is extremely subjective but i guess all art review is, there are probably just as many people who would argue that the artwork used in feng games is superior to any of the stuff you’d see in anime and such.

      • What can be considered popular isn’t necessarily good, and I agree with that. For instance, I’ve never understood why so many people like Tony Taka. I picked those artists because I believed they were examples of successful eroge artists, not because they were the best artist in the history of forever.

        I will agree with you on the fact that anime also has a lot of close ups. But you’re writing as if there’s not one animator who know about anatomy. Try going through an episode of anime with a decent budget and draw all the characters in the different frames, there’s more effort put into drawing the body than most would notice. If all the animators had all the time in the world to draw something and was paid for it, there wouldn’t be those animation mistakes. I wouldn’t want a world like that though, mistakes like that are hilarious when you catch them (3 arms, different clothes, disappearing heads, etc etc).

        I don’t want to talk about how moe is awful, I’ve had too much of that already, and frankly I’m sick and tired of it. If people like it, good for them. If you don’t like it, make something better.

  10. >I believed

    You believed wrong. There’s your problem. You think you know a lot about why things are. You do not. Instead you try to make a non-point out of a non-issue that most people already know about by putting in words words words because you have very little to say.

    >Usually, because of the lack of funds, affection, artistic beliefs, (or sometimes understanding), much of the style is lost in translation in anime adaptions.

    Way to assume there and look pretentious doing it. No, the style is not “lost” because of a lack of care. The style is changed because things in motion look significantly different from still images in art. There’s also the issue of time, manpower, and money. REAL issues. You know most anime is animated on a budget, with x number of animators, with x money to pay them, with episode often being animated usually a week or two in advance at best?

    I also find it funny how you complain about the eroge genre crapping out art that has an overemphasis on detail, when you complain about how anime adaptations of that same eroge tend to whitewash most of the style away. That was a page earlier. Maybe in your quest to be the world’s wordiest blogger you forgot what you were trying to say.

    There is actually too much wrong with your “editorial”(because it’s all opinion, so it cannot be called fact) to get into at once.

    Parting gift: Your comparison of two Noizi Itou images fails to take in place context. It also fails to note that both images are easily identifiable as being in Noizi Itou’s style. Even the use of shadow is similar in both images, despite the lighting being radically different, and one image having the context of a background. The image on the right is also art for something, as opposed to art for the hell of it. That means it has to fit a criteria decided by another person. You think they’re different because Noizi has more love for something she isn’t paid to do. They’re different because the circumstances surrounding both images are really fucking different.

    Basically: u wrong

    • 1) I believed that those artists were successful. They are making money, they have jobs, they have fans. You complain about context and then take my words out of context?

      2) You believed wrong, that’s your problem. I didn’t write this thing for a point. What, are you going to complain that I can’t write anything pointless? Because as far as I can tell there’s not much of a point in your comment either.

  11. @bowlofjello: Kidchan is one of my favorite artists too, but I like her art because of the amazing patterns, textures, and colors, not necessarily because she’s drawn a lot of faces. And I would never call artists like Naru Nanao to be god tier (she’s NOTHING compared to people like Kidchan), but they are successful at their jobs. I will never say that Aoi Mishimata is a good artist, but she’s chased a dream from when she was young, and now she’s got a career, with her works in demand. I have no idea why her work is so consistently bad, but I treat her like most of the musicians that you see at the top of the charts: I don’t like what they make, I don’t agree with what they stand for, but they’ve made it, and they deserve some respect for that. But that’s just my opinion.

    I think that niθ is one of the best artists in the industry too, I should have included him/her in this post somewhere, but I forgot about it.

    Edit: That bit about Kidchan came out wrong, sorry, my head was a bit messed up that day.

  12. What’s wrong? Are you upset that you got called out on your uninformed editorial disguised as observation? All I see in your response is overt defensiveness.

    1) Your whole post is about your gripes with artistic quality across mediums. You cite some examples of well done art by artists who have jobs and make money. You also cite examples of art you consider poor done by artists who have jobs and are making money. See how stupid this is?

    But hey, we’re digressing here. Apparently the point you were trying to make that ended up going nowhere was that illustrators can’t manga to save their life. Kentaro Yabuki, the artist for To Love Ru, was an illustrator and was not the writer for To Love Ru. However, he was well known for being able to write battle manga and did a one shot immediately after the cancellation of TLR, which was hailed by fans as a return to form. So, you’re wrong anyway.

    2) If you didn’t write it for a point then why don’t you keep your uninformed and pretentious writings to yourself instead of throwing it up on a blog? Once you write something it’s out there. You have to be expected to back it up. You decided to write out a couple pages of ranting about art for no reason, with nothing to actually say? Well, I guess you can do that, it just makes you kind of stupid.

  13. I just finished Heaven’s Feel, after so long… I’m a very slow reader, that’s why. I like to reread and enjoy moments.

    But is it just me or are the guys drawn really bad?

  14. question: are there only 5 endings?

    Fate i got true end, Unlimited I got Good and True, Heaven’s Feel I got a “normal’ and True.

    The normal is throwing me off, is there a good version to it?

    • I don’t think there’s a good version. The one where you see the 2 of them with long hair is the normal ending, right? (My memory’s a bit fuzzy). That’s the closest to a good ending you’re going to get from F/SN.
      I didn’t think that the guys looked bad necessarily. The faces sometimes look off and the limbs are extravagantly long, but the guy’s good at showing some muscle without being excessive and Issei is adorable~

  15. Shirou and Kotomine’s actions scenes as well as face turn me off.

    the only time in the series where a male drawing really made me go “wow” was Kotomine at end of Heaven’s Feel standing buff but not overly buff. Like we can feel powerful determination and the “final boss” feel from his lean body.

    the other time is Archer’s Unlimited Blade Works, there’s just too much GAR in this world, and for good reasons.

  16. Interesting take on things. This part really stood out to me:

    “However this style just isn’t fit for drawing for a light novel, no matter how ridiculous the story was.”

    Why?

    Don’t get me wrong; I get that you have a certain sense of what a light novel’s illustration should include, what it should be about. But I think it would be great if you would just come out and say what it should be about, and then pass judgment, so that we know what criteria you’re applying. If you say static poses are bad, does that mean that the illustration should always have implied action? Or does it just mean that you personally hate static poses?

    I mean if you say, “horrible fashion sense,” sure, people hate that in anything. But that varies from person to person. It doesn’t tell me what a VN or light novel artist should and should not include, and how the two differ.

    • …yeah, I should have typed about that, sorry. That’s probably what was missing. I don’t think that illustrations always need movement, but I do think that that scene needed movement. In that scene, Ken was proclaiming something and making over the top gestures, and I wished that there was more movement in it. But the static poses also relate the fact that the picture feels posed, instead of an actual scene within the lives of the character.
      The problem I have with the drawings was that it was designed for presenting the girls and not for the guys. In most cases of visual novels, you literally cannot see the protagonist, so what he looks like usually doesn’t matter. However, once one move away from that medium and then draws the guys that inbalance between the genders really irks me (it happens in other mediums too,but instances like this bug me more than others, I can’t really explain why). For instance, the uniform in Seitokai makes the girls look cute, as far as I can tell from m own opinion and the comments of other people, but I get the feeling that there was absolutely no effort put into designing Ken, even though he is supposed to be the protagonist. It has a reason: the girls are the focus of the story, but I wished that the situation was different.
      Another problem I have is that artists like Inugami Kira are used to drawing for CGing. The lines are there as a guideline for the colors, leading to a lesser impact when we switch to monochrome novel illustrations. That problem is really apparent in artists like Itaru Hinoue.
      But, I’m just rambling here, sorry about that. I guess I’m selfish for it, but I have higher expectations for novel illustrations because I expect them to have the impact even after sacrificing color while having a wider range of characters, and Seitokai didn’t do that.

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