I’ve been drawing since I was 10; I’m 19 now, so that means I’ve been drawing for a good 9 years. A lot can change in 9 years! Any artist will tell you there can be a TON of improvement over time, even if it’s only a few days or weeks. It’s all practice, patience, and the willingness to try new things. Because of those 3 things, my style has evolved in a huge way, and I’m finally at a point where I’m happy with my abilities–though I’m still constantly working to improve!
I, unfortunately, haven’t saved a whole lot of the drawings I made in elementary and middle school, but I did find an example of a drawing I made when I was 13.
This is a reference drawing of a character I made in middle school. I’m not working with her anymore and have since forgotten her name and the original story she was part of. But this is a good example of my skills at that time. I cherished this drawing because, for my drawing ability at the time, this was a masterpiece. This was the point in time when I began to enjoy drawing human/humanoid characters. A few things I’d point out are the stiff posture, funky-looking fingers, big eyes, and disproportion overall. It’s not a bad drawing, just not the way I would’ve liked it.
For some examples from late middle school to early high school, I’ve got these two drawings.
These drawings show growth toward a more creative phase. You can see I’d learned a little bit of anatomy, but it was still disproportionate in some places like the head and the length of the arms. This was an era that consisted of a lot of digital work because I had just bought an iPad to work with, and I was excited to play with the new tools I had at my fingertips. This period had a lot of drastic shadows and elaborate backgrounds, which I actually would like to bring back into some of my newer work. I’d say this was my most creative phase, because it was the height of art production. I was constantly coming up with new characters and stories to write/draw.
My latest era, which began during my time at Shawna’s print shop during my senior year of high school, is my more industrial, business-based era. I still take time to practice and draw for myself, but most of my art time is work–and I like it!
This is one of the first work drawings I did. After Shawna caught me doodling on sticky notes during my first day working for her, she decided to help me turn my hobby into a skill I could really work with. She was my first real commission client and asked me to make this edited version of the Images Print House logo. It included the team at Images, with Shawna (middle), Andy (middle), CJ (right), and Kim (me, left). I had a ton of fun with this drawing and it was a good start to what I hope will be a successful art career.
Currently, I’m still working on client commissions as much as I can between college assignments. Shawna has been helping me set up commissions by acting as my messenger/middleman, which has helped me create some great work and keep organized.
For the overall evolution of my style, I’d say I’ve learned to draw more dynamic/relaxed poses, more proportionate characters, and the ability to make more ‘realistically’ proportioned faces, rather than the drastically large anime/manga eyes I’d been drawing before. When I draw for myself, I still draw in that large-eye, slightly disproportionate style, because that’s the style that makes me happy. But I think the very best evolution I’ve made is the ability to adjust and change my style for whatever I need. Need a commissioned illustration for a business owner? I’ll probably use a more caricature style. A logo? I can get really simplified or detailed, whatever is needed. A character drawing/comic page? Dynamic poses and stylized proportions. This ability makes me a Jack of All Trades when it comes to commissions, so I’ll have plenty of work when I’m ready to transition into my career!