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I've seen a lot of people claim they know what "good art" is or isn't, so I I'll just add my two cents.

I spent a very long time trying to make my own art more realistic (never got close to realism, but there was an attempt) but then I realized I didn't even like realistic art and the only reason I was trying to achieve it was because others had told me that's what I should strive for.

It's not that I think realistic art is bad or that other people are wrong for liking it. I can most certainly see the appeal of it. It's simply that I'm personally not that interested in it. When I see realistic art I tend to not notice the work put into it. It's more like a photo to me, even if it includes a lot of fantastical elements. Again, that's what a lot of people like about it, and that's great. I just happen to like when a drawing is unapologetic about being a drawing, like the styles of Bjørn Wiinblad and Tove Jansson.

There are only two things I personally think are important to learn when drawing: Body proportions (how long are arms compared to the body, how long are legs when folded up, how far are eyes from each other and so on) and perspective (how much smaller does an object get the further it moves away and so on).

Those things will help your art look more balanced, even when you develop your own style and maybe decides that you like your characters to have short legs and arms. Subconsciously you'll keep those things in mind and know how to make it all work together. Then you can decide for yourself what you think is important to your art, like light and shadow, or how fabric works, or whatever you want.

Again, just my personal philosophy on the subject of art. I like to keep the rules simple and let people do their own thing. We get more interesting styles that way.
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:iconsyawnfox:
SyawnFox Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015
So true. I'm trying to move closer and closer to realisim in my art, 'cause I'd like to be able to and all, but I have this feeling that once I've reached that point, I'll bounce back from it into a style of my own.

I personally want to be able to draw the photo-like image, but most of the purpose for that is that I think learning how will somehow show me how I want to manipulate that realism into a unique style.
Does that make sense? :P
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:iconsereneautumn:
SereneAutumn Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I agree my uncle is an art teacher he didnt have alot of faith in my art (self taught didnt focus on realism or backgrounds much) but I kept going anyway. I'm not a fan of realism I like were my art is going and he cant say boo about it :)
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:icondarkrai65:
darkrai65 Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
Agreed person :)
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:iconsuejo:
SueJO Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Professional Writer
I tend to agree with you. Growing up with a professional artist and her artist friends was a trip. They would say, " You want a perfect copy, get a camera." I admire the graphite artists and do some myself, but originality talks to me. When we make it our own, we tell our story.
Picasso had a talent for realistic painting, he didn’t reproduce  something safe.  He pushed the boundaries. That was his gift to the world.
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:iconclockblockers:
Clockblockers Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It would be funny if the arms on a humanoid were longer than the legs.

Oh, Gods. Stop giving me ideas.
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:iconcerulean-wings:
Cerulean-Wings Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with this. Art wouldn't be art if we restricted it to a certain "way". Unapologetic is just the way I like it.
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:iconjaysonreyes:
jaysonreyes Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
what you just said is true
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:iconerictheredandwhite:
EricTheRedAndWhite Featured By Owner May 15, 2015  Hobbyist
Everything is basically art in one or another way.
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:iconfiercediety1987:
fiercediety1987 Featured By Owner May 15, 2015
I agree! All my favorite work is more... cartoony? for lack of a better word. And all my favorite artists are illustrators and comic artists.
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:iconelizabeth26213:
elizabeth26213 Featured By Owner May 12, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Yes! My own mother tells me to draw real people sometimes and it used to bother me because I personally don't take so much interest in sketching realism. I mean I have tried doing that a few times for the heck of it and it just doesn't feel as pleasant as doodling the way I've done in cartoon style. But hey, whatever you create that flows naturally from within is art in itself. Ohm... Ohm... 
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:iconlpskirbystarz:
LPSKirbyStarz Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Student Artist
I'm with you, I don't care about what other people say TuT
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:iconbeollain:
Beollain Featured By Owner May 4, 2015
You. I like you. 

You are teh awesome. 
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:iconthe-variationalist:
The-variationalist Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Purdy much
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:iconrecklessromantic:
RecklessRomantic Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hear, hear!!

Everyone (mostly older people) is always asking why I don't draw portraits, or scenery, or something pretty, ect. Why do I draw what I do?
Because I like it. Because it's fun. Because I think its's pretty.  I know my style wont earn me any money, but I do it for my sanity and enjoyment. I hate having to defend myself. "What kind of things do you draw?" I cringe when I hear it come up. I reply, "I'm a cartoonist" and hope they leave it at that.
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:iconhubbubmts:
HubbubMTS Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Exactly, even if it's successful it's not as expressive.
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:iconfireflower24:
fireFlower24 Featured By Owner May 3, 2015
My definition of good art used to be that the work and effort should be visible (things like attention to detail, depth and perspective, all the things I find really difficult to do as a newbie). But now my definition is simply how effectively the art conveys its intended message, and with recognizable style. I mean, I have seen some people draw some really expressive stick people :P 
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:iconshalia-windterra:
Shalia-windterra Featured By Owner May 2, 2015
I agree with you. Know the basics and it will look great!
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:icona-h-r:
A-H-R Featured By Owner May 1, 2015
For me good art is consistency. I have a friend who's a better artist than me, but sometimes her faces are spot on, and other times they look like a bad Sonic OC. So as a result I look down on that.

The other factor is being able to convey the right emotions and right dynamics, which is why I personally consider myself a bad artist as well, because the more subtle the emotion, the more I can't do it.

Granted this is why I think you're a great artist. You are consistent and are able to convey the right posing and right dynamics with what looks like to be ease.
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:icondeathroe:
DeathRoe Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I like realism art but I personally like to draw anime/manga also I agree with everything u said 😊
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:iconviolinsane:
violinsane Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
I agree with mostly everything that was said, but I (personally) also happen to adore realistic/hyperrealistic art. However, I think that realistic art really suffers when you view it on a screen, since you've turned it into a photograph of a drawing/painting. For example, if you've ever seen the work of Jan van Huysum in person...well, you know what I mean :) (seriously, if you're ever in the LA area, go to the Getty - it's free). But do a google search and they all just look rather flat and uninteresting.
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:iconredstone2013:
Redstone2013 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Me too!
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:icontimlavey:
TimLavey Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I'm kind of the same. Though I strive for a degree of realism in my work, I don't like to make it too realistic. Stepping close to my pieces you should see that it's not just a photo or cast.
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:icona-sociopath:
a-sociopath Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015
good/bad is subjective... What one person thinks is a masterpiece, another person will be like wut?  
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:iconeninaj27:
Eninaj27 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article! I have same feelings about art. Realistic art looks awesome, but it bores me a bit because it rarely has an own, interesting style. But I have to admit there are also artists who have a wonderful combination of realistic and own style. But all in one I think art just has to catch the viewer by a good mix of skills and interesting ideas. It musn't be perfect, sometimes imperfection includes the special something and even weird, stylized anatomy can look brillant.
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:iconglassmagnolia:
glassmagnolia Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist
I feel the same way. I recently left a group I'd joined because my fanart apparently wasn't a picture perfect shot (they are t.v. characters) and my style has always been more anime. The thing is, I know i'm no professional but even if I were , I LIKE the anime styles and enjoy putting a cartoon spin on something that's not. I don't think my art would be my art if someone else were deciding how I needed to draw.

As it happens, I could draw realistically. I've done it before. But I don't get the same feeling of enjoyment out of it.
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:iconcestarian:
Cestarian Featured By Owner Edited Apr 28, 2015   Digital Artist
You're on the right track that realism doesn't make art better, and that perspective and body proportions (assuming you're drawing characters) are more important than photorealism/rendering quality, which is a given.

But you're wrong if you think that these things alone are what makes art good. Good is very subjective, but the way I see it, good art is not the best drawn art, good art is the art that has the most story in it. And I don't mean comics. This is good art, it might be only a character painting, but the character clearly has deep story behind it (the rust on the armor, the broken sword, the open pose; why does he stand like that? the tattered fabric and the cracks in his armor) it's those little things that you can wonder about as you look at the picture. This is a very well drawn and superbly well designed character, honestly I'm a huge fan, but it doesn't invoke half as much of a sense of story as the artwork I linked to earlier, at most I'm wondering about her weird helm and whose skull that is she's holding, in a picture like that normally you'd tell most of the story with the characters expression, but her expression isn't very rich, it's very neutral. It's a great artwork but I don't think it is particularly good art.

That's how I see good art, I don't think there's any bad art (more like I won't judge it; unless it's my own art that is), I just think that there's some particularly good art. Every work of art has a story, deliberate or accidental, the richer and more effectively delivered the story, the better the art. Composition, color composition, realism, line quality, special effects, proportions, these are all just delivery mechanisms for the story behind whatever is on that canvas; the story is the real artwork, not the lines. The story is what people see when they look at it, it's different for everyone, but everyone sees something.

Portraits by themselves tend to be pretty boring artworks, it's amazing how much just a little bit of background can enrich an artwork; great character designs in their own right, and they would have made just as good portraits as these other two I linked earlier, but would you have known they were seadogs (whether they're pirates or marines) without the background? (Normally if there wasn't a background, the thought wouldn't even cross our minds) the mystery is where they're going in such a hurry.

The quality of the lines and blending, the composition, these are all just spices, flavours, they're not the real art, at least not to me. And you can make good art with just a bit of creativity, even if you can't draw anything better than this. (Despite it's simplicity (anyone should be able to draw that if they just tried)), it's a really nice artwork.
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:icondrawwithnessie:
DrawWithNessie Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
Truer words have not been said.

Every artist is different and I really like it when I can identify an artist just by looking at a thumbnail of their artwork. I also agree that body proportions and perspective are the most important factors in drawing (ESPECIALLY PERSPECTIVE).

But of course, in order to BREAK the rules, you must first LEARN the rules. 
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:iconerigyr:
Erigyr Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
*Sigh* That's right everyone, bandwagon it up. After all, it isn't like the people who work in realism or even photography haven't spent years of their life doing what they love and putting hours, even days, into one work of art. Humon made a good point, however everyone who acts like things that aren't unrealistic are the superior art form need to stop being so close minded and stubborn.
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:iconpaopufrult:
PaopuFrult Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
This was beautiful to read! i find that realistic has to do more with colors and value more than it does with some other elements. You have to add colors n mix and combine, layer or glaze to make things look like that. Thats just my opinion.  But reading this , you did bring up a great point T  v T ! <3 and will keep does things in mind! 
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:iconrobot972:
Robot972 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
some of the more famous painters don't paint realistic. Hell, Look at Pablo Picasso's work... His art doesn't look anything like realistic painting, yet he's one of the greatest painters ever...

So you're right. All that matters when you draw/paint/etc is that you enjoy what you are doing.
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:iconchepseh:
Chepseh Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2016
Why this looks pretty realistic! ;P www.wikiart.org/en/pablo-picas… But getting your point. :)
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:iconhan-s:
Han-S Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Eh, realistic art is boring anyway. It is not unique in any way and is simply a copy of something. I find it much harder to create a style of my own than to draw realistically.
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:iconxgames555:
xgames555 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
"art" can be anything and i agree with the body comment but that it, as long as some skill was put into the picture it can qualify as art
Reply
:iconkawaiikoalabear:
kawaiikoalabear Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that perhaps more important even than an understanding of anatomy and perspective is having the confidence in one's abilities to try to draw more challenging ideas.
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:iconyubbi45:
yubbi45 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Photography and realism are 2 aspects oF "Art" That, for unknown reasons, disgust me.
They always have, and probably always will, don't get me wrong, I love watching someone turn a blank piece of paper into a photograph, and comprehending all they had to go through to even BE ABLE to do something like that, and understand what/how they're doing it
But I abhor it for some reason

p.s. I quickly google-image'd those 2 artists, and I like Style too 
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:iconlonlynemo:
lonlynemo Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Student
I think there's a lot of different factors to what makes good art. I agree with the importance of proportion and perspective, and there's composition, color, contrast. Basically a whole lot of other things to focus on besides realism. Personally, I find myself being attracted to art that conveys a sense of movement or flow in a moment of time.
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:iconarborealumbra:
ArborealUmbra Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Student Digital Artist
There's nothing wrong with wanting to remind your audience that your art is just that—handmade art. In fact, it's what the impressionists and post-impressionists did, and their movement is a very important part of art history. The best thing you can do as an artist is take criticism with an open mind, but don't let it steer you away from what you want to do.
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:iconthe-heraldic-sword:
The-Heraldic-Sword Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with you, even though I wanna learn how to draw realisticly if I needed to just incase, but still I agree with you o3o
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:icondionnemars93:
DionneMars93 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Can I link what you said to Tumblr? People should see this.....
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:iconslipmaskin:
Slipmaskin Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, if you're drawing characters it's good to know the importance of symmetry and proportions. Otherwise, go wild with it!
My style isn't very comical, I'd say, but I can't say it's very realistic either. I've created my own standards and I'm quite happy with it. I'm trying to bring in more comical features as a way to more easily express emotions, though.

Also, there are a lot of people who have their set definition of what "good art" is, and they don't realise that this is something that is highly individual. We all have our different tastes.
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:iconmixed-scotlands-rp:
Mixed-Scotlands-rp Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
as an art history student, they teach us:
All reasons to find art beautifull are correct. but not all reasons to find art ugly are. 
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:iconrushingwater2:
Rushingwater2 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I am better at abstarct and cartoon art not realistic i agree you should develop your own teqnece but also think about preportoins
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:iconkikinho90:
Kikinho90 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
Well one of my art teachers once said that really caught my attention is that you have to learn the rules first to be able to kick them up later. And yeah there are two sides, if you are generally a very talented and creative artist then rules are not necessarily needed. But for other people rules can be a guidance to their own style.
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:iconnahmala:
Nahmala Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I'm not a very "good" artist, but I try to express myself through my art, so as long as I can get my intentions across, I think I've succeeded. 
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:iconskypeoplephoenix732:
Skypeoplephoenix732 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice explanation :) I personally don't believe any art is "bad," per say. Maybe still in the development process or not a style we prefer, but imperfections are what make art interesting :) it's like music; if everything was absolutely perfect, it would be bring for the audience and the player/performer. That said, it is important to learn proportions and the basics of anatomy so that you can deviate from them. If you just try to make up something without looking at some kind of source materials, it could end up either brilliant or a mess.
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:iconpaws4thot:
paws4thot Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
My 2P - "good art" is anything that entertains people and for preference makes them think. "Bad art" is anything that only gets described as "art" because the person who's name is on it went to art school and is utterly inaccessible to everyone else.
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:iconmetrilean:
Metrilean Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Marry me!!!
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:iconmattdark:
MattDark Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
I agree.  I think almost all of these people who claim they know what makes 'good art' are confusing it with their personal preferences.
Usually just makes them sound snotty, so I ignore those sorts of people anyway.
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:iconwinkatuck:
Winkatuck Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Agreed. Art is subjective, you will have people who like what they see and some that don't. That's all there is to it.
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:iconj4b:
J4B Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
As long as you have fun doing what you like, people who like the same will follow you.
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