Stylized Drawing

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Stylized drawing

Stylized drawing is any drawing that isn't strictly realist - cartoon, anime, and all sorts of non-realistic drawings are considered "stylized".

Stylized drawings more often than not simplify the object or person its portraying, by omiting body parts like nose, ears etc and other non-essential details. Something to note is that the omited details aren't removed from the piece, but rather obscured. For example, if a cartoon character was drawn withouth a nose, that doesn't mean they don't have a nose in the story or that they can't smell, it just means the artstyle isn't drawing it.

Another important aspect of stylizing is changing proportions; making a character's head bigger and the body smaller is a very common proportion change.

Omitting[edit | edit source]

By far the most omitted organ of the human body is the nose, but any detail can be omitted. What is important is that even withouth the detail, the viewer can understand and know the original intent of the artwork; if the artist ommited the nose, it's important the viewer understands the character has a nose. If the ears were omitted, it's important the viewer understands the character can hear, etc.

Exercise:

Draw a character with the eyes omitted.

Remember, anyone who sees the character should be able to recognize that the character does have eyes, but that they just weren't drawn. Don't worry if you struggle a bit with this one - the eyes are one of the most rarely omitted body parts due to how much information it can convey. If you're struggling, here's some ways to omit the eyes:

  • Give the character glasses
  • Long hair at the eye level
  • Heavy shading on the eye area

Remember to not draw the eye; if going for the glasses approach, don't draw the eyes behind it. Just the glasses alone give the information that the character does have eyes and that they were omitted.


Omitting can serve a varity of purpouses, including but not limited to:

  • Simplifiying the design
  • Help accentuate other parts
  • Giving info about the character
  • Making the character relatable

Simplification[edit | edit source]

Many times, it's not needed to draw all the parts of a character.

A character having ears, noses and other details like that can be neglectable; in those cases, cutting these details from the artstyle makes the overall piece have less visual clutter. Visual clutter makes the piece harder to understand, giving unecessary confusion and muddling whatever it was meant to represent. Simplifiying aspects of a drawing helps avoid the visual clutter.

Accentuation[edit | edit source]

Hand-in-hand with simplification, you can also use omission to accentuate other aspects of the piece.

Omitting a lot of a character makes what isn't omitted more relevant - omiting all pieces but the eye, for example, can point out to how the character is a good at observing things. Or how omitting everything except the mouth can imply the character likes talking or eating a lot.

Exposition[edit | edit source]

On a similar note, omitting traits can give information about the character based on what isn't there.

A classic example is a character's eye being omitted behind glasses or hair to symbolise that the character is shy or socially awkward. Similarly, omitting the mouth can mean the character doesn't like talking with others.

Relatability[edit | edit source]

Omission of details can also be used to make a character easier to identify with; the more details are omitted, more and more people can identify with the character.

The more details there are, the more the character represents a specific individual rather than any person. The ultimate omission of all details - that is, a stick figure - can represent anyone, regardless of age, size, gender, etc. Of course, that's the extreme, but when making an art style for a piece that has a relatable character, omitting a few more details can do wonders for the viewers to identify with the characters.

Proportions[edit | edit source]

Another big part of stylized drawing is changing the proportions of the characters.

Changing proportions is very much on the same boat as omitting: Most of the time, the change in proportions is just a artistic choice, not something in the story. Just because a character is drawn with a big head and small body doesn't mean the character has that proportion in the story, for example.

Changing the proportion of a character can be used for similar reasons as omitting traits: It can be used to accentuate traits, to make a character more visible or unique, etc.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]