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2.1 Avoiding the Cliché

In this lesson, we'll take a look at fantasy art clichés. I'll give you advice on getting away from the visual influences of games and movies in order to create something original.

2.1 Avoiding the Cliché

Hello and welcome to illustrating a character for fantasy or sci-fi. My name is Andy Griffiths, and in the lesson, I am going to look at some common fantasy art cliches, and how and why we should do our best to avoid them. Oversized swords, oversized armor, oversized breasts, and undersized chain mail bikinis, generic dragons, and spiky manga hair. If you've spent any time at all looking through the galleries of Deviant Art, you'll have seen all of these fantasy art cliches and more. Often altogether in the same image and yes, I'm guilty of using them too. The fantasy and science fiction art genres are probably more popular now than they ever have been. The phenomenal rise of digital art, together with the simultaneous rise of the Internet over the last two decades, now makes it possible for anyone with a computer and a Paint application to make fantasy art and distribute it to the masses. In one way, that's a great thing, but it also means that the field is now a really crowded one. One of the best ways we can stand out from the crowd is to create good quality and, above all, original work. Before there was fantasy arts, there were fantasy stories. Artists came along and visually interpreted those stories, turning these written works into drawings and paintings. And then later came movies, comics, animation and games. Then the next generation of artist came along and created works base on the visual interpretations of the original artist. Until we reach the point where everything begins to get endlessly recycled, and so the cliche was born. Looking back, we can trace a clear line from the Pre-Raphaelite of the 19th century who were inspired by themes of mythology, spirituality, and the idealization of the female form. Right through to the work of fantasy artist like Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. I would like to suggest that in our search for original ideas, we don't have to look too far. All we need to do is get back to the original source of inspiration, the written word. In the next lesson, I'm gonna talk about the character I'll be creating and the book that inspired me.