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Submitted on
September 17, 2012


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Grading art (now with my two cents!)

Journal Entry: Mon Sep 17, 2012, 10:53 AM

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How do you determine what a "beginner" "intermediate" "advanced" and "master" artist is? Do you take into account only technical skill? How about the ideas behind it? What about the range of skill sets they have or how successful their career has been?

I want to see what your ideas of a "beginner" "intermediate" "advanced" and "master" artist/artwork is. Link me to an image or an artist that you think fits each one! I'll do the same myself after a few responses :>

Edit: This is a bit of a challenging question for a number of reasons, and I think you guys get it. It's hard to articulate our personal criteria as to what makes an artist good or bad--and it's even harder to present that criteria in a manner that sounds fair, objective, and void of personal biases, haha!
I don't believe art, especially illustration, is subjective as people like to say it is. I think everyone with a properly functioning brain can tell that your six year old cousin's attempt at depicting a giraffe will be less successful and DaVinci's best effort at depicting of a giraffe. There's nothing subjective about that at all, and I'm kinda glad no one has retorted to me that "all art is subjective" because in the realm of illustration, that just doesn't fly.

  I think when a lot of people weigh an artist and the quality of their work, they only consider what's immediately visible to them, which is fair! But I feel like that's only part of what determines the quality of an artist and their body of work. A very large part, definitely, but it's not the only thing worth considering!
  I feel another important aspect to consider is process. Some artists can have masterful work, but a poor and impeding process that prevents them from producing/completing a lot of their ideas. On the flip side, other artists might have a great process, but a poor end result. See, technical mastery doesn't just end with knowing how to draw or paint something. It also includes knowing your tool set, and knowing how to use and manipulate them to varying degrees of effectiveness and efficiency.

Hypothetical example: say we have two artists who are like art twins when it comes to the final product. They can produce the exact same image with the exact same visual quality, and they are both very, very good! But one of the twins takes several months and countless revisions to get that product, while the other artist has a much more streamlined process that results in less second-guessing and utilizes their tools more effectively and more efficiently so that they can get their work done in, say, three days. Are they still the same skill level then? Or is one more advanced than the other due to a more refined understanding of their tools?

With that said and considered! My ideas of each:

Beginner:… "The longer I work on something, the better it is and this took me two whole hours so it must be pretty great!!"

Intermediate: "I don't like drawing backgrounds because I'm not sure of how to tackle them, but learning anatomy is what's most important now so I'm trying to focus on that."

Advanced Artist: "Improving isn't just about focusing on one aspect at a time, it's about looking at your work as a whole, finding the all-around strength and weaknesses, and building on it all together. I draw every day, and I will never stop studying."

Master Artist:… "I still draw every day and am more critical about my work now than ever, but I know it's important to have a process that fits my ideas, my time constraints, and my personal tastes. My work is consistent, and I take pride, but not at the expense of getting my ideas and concepts out there in a timely and effective manner."


background image by *ashwara
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sambees Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012
if u can draw realism than i think u r a master!!
painted-bees Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
o good! realism is the pinnacle of all art!!! only tru masters can do it!!
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012
or anime.
RachelCurtis Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
Anime is the shit and better than realism, everyone knows that cause it r supre popular.
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
nuh uh, making it real is obviously the more desirable thing. You can tell it's the best when it looks like a real photo and completely defeats the purpose of drawing it to begin with!
RachelCurtis Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
Fuck it. I'm taking up photography.
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
that's not art. you just point at things and click.
RachelCurtis Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
(1 Reply)
JuliaWestwick Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So... grading art, you say... Yea, it's perfectly possible. Anyone, even the ones who lack knowledge of art, can say whether an artwork is brilliant or awful. What goes to subjective perspective is merely the chosen theme. Some might not enjoy a drawing due to its thematic although can still admit it's a pretty nice piece.

The equation to calculate art skills is quite complex and has many variables. I'd create a dozen extra categories if I could, but I'll make myself simple.

The ones who lack both creativity and skills. Many of them never leave the category; they see critiques as some kind of disdain or either offensive. They don't have much progress and always stay in the same style, same mistakes. They don't risk and may even feel sort of in a comfort zone. That's what I'd call Beginners number 1.

Some are just literally beginners, who are willing to learn and take critiques. They are also willing to take risks. This group often turn into intermediates real quickly. These are Beginners number 2.

Some samples: Number 1: [link] Number 2 showing some real awesome progress: [link] (see, most of the Beginners I know have already improved a lot, so all I can do is show you guys how it happens)

I consider intermediate the ones who got average creativity OR average skills. Only one of those, not both. Let's get Intermediates number 1 for the creatives but not skilled ones and Intermediates number 2 for the skilled but not creative ones.

Number 1: [link] Number 2: [link]

*He's close to advanced, though. A liiiiitle bit more skill would do.

I guess I have no subdivision for this group. Those are people who are both creative and high-skilled.

What differs Masters from advanceds is variety. A Master, for me, is someone who's able to do well in both manga and realistic style. Someone who's able to do well at both digital and traditional. Someone who gets easily adapted to some new style. A Master may not be the best of all those categories, but always achieve above-average performance in any style. True geniuses.

A Master? Hm... let me see... Here you go: [link]

Haha... okay, let's get serious: [link]
Marcotonio-desu Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Student Filmographer
While I find the extensive commentaries pretty nice, I will try to keep mine to topics so it can be easily digested by anyone, any specific point someone wish to read more about, just ring a bell.

Beginner: Symbols rather than forms. Common sense colors, lack of ambiance (still speaking color-wise). "I don't draw X because I don't know how".
Examples:[link] [link] [link]

Intermediate: Forms, even if wrong. Color exploration, ambiance. Starts to apply subjective concepts being aware of its visual implications. "I don't draw X because I didn't try, so let me do some studies".
Low-tier: [link] [link] [link]
High-tier: [link] [link] [link]

Advanced: Nice volumes, expressive poses and composition. Good stylization of reality. Mastering of color relations and even subversion of them. Able to break down and simplify nearly any aspect of linework, like doing simple gestural sketches which conceives well the overall aspects. "I don't draw X and will do some studies, but my visual library is enough to improvise." Easiness of correcting their own work without having to over-redoing it. Accurate line control.
Examples: [link] [link] [link] [link]

Master: Industrial workflow, can go pretty much anywhere with his mental library. References are just for fine-tuning. Flexibility and a signature style, even for realism. This guy probably doesn't even use skeletons anymore.
I wish I could name some examples, but some artists really excel at some point and lack in the others, and my main knowledge of artists are from people I follow on dA. So I guess I'll give a cliché response and that should suffice it: [link]
I guess also pretty few masters are really broad on their making, usually specializing in something, else there is no time for mastering it properly. =P

I haven't emphasized two points I find utterly important, because I found it hard to category: background interaction and creativity per se. While many artists look great at what they do, you can pretty much put them a level under where they seem to be just by seeing how a background looks just like a background, rather than part of the scene. I'm sorry, :iconlhuneart:, but you go into this for me, for there seems to be little exploration of enviroment even when it's present. So I would say she is yet to enter Advanced, but is really on the high-tier among the intermediates, while I sit in the middle or below of the same category.
Creativity is something I don't want to unfold here. I find myself to be very creative, above average, but that does not help me when my skills aren't enough. And even though I have concept ideas, it is not enough to visually think them al the time. I'm starting to push this more, "materializing" my thoughts into something which not only transmits and idea, but does so in an visually interesting way.

To end my walltext, I'd like to announce a group that does not look pinpointed by any of your subdivided groups. I might call it deviants, but in a bad way. It's something like :iconcat-bat: mentioned, but they are not necessarily on begginer level. Works like [link] are extremely polished and well looking, but the artist has no clue on how to procede to more complex things. I often say her to push forward and try some poses interactions, backgrounds, etc, but it shows in a very shy way, because there is fear of doing it. While she has some aspects which could put her in intermediate (on a good position above me!) like stroke precision, fast workflow, appealing colors, they all don't suffice for this rank upgrade because basic things are left behind. She took left of the main road of learning and keeps going forward, but in a diagonal line, so she keeps going forward, but is also driving away from the "right path" as she does so. These deviant paths can be taken pretty much anywhere on an artist's life before "master". From there, the goal point, one might decide to go anywhere or keep improving technically and straight-ahead.
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