Different Tropes For Different Folks
Ultimately It Comes Down To Taste
“Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to taste. It’s… It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing.”
— Steve Jobs
As I was showing some instructional videos about character design to an artist he said: “That’s not how you do that.”
A bit surprised by this I asked for an explanation. He quickly drew up a sketch of how he would’ve approached it and it was completely valid.
I also wanted him to understand that this video wasn’t meant to be the ultimate guide to how to create the most detailed design. So, I explained that there was a distinct difference between what he’d just created and what the video was actually showing.
Then I asked him to draw a character with the least amount of detail he could yet still have it be expressive and get their point across.
He promptly did this and the character felt entirely plausible with a distinct personality and style.
Asking people to do this is an amazing exercise in creativity. This eliminates all the excess and gets to the core of what it is we’re trying to communicate.
Sure, we can get really floral and detailed but that’s more of an aesthetic choice and it’s also where more of our influences and tastes shine through.
When we’re faced with having to cut all of that out we really get down to thae basics. That’s when we see what our strongest influences arise.
I took a look at the sketch and asked him: “Did you grow up watching and reading Hanna-Barbera comics?”
His eyes grew large and he said “Oh, yeah! I loved them!”
This was so evident by his choice of aesthetic for creating that character. It was so strongly ingrained in his style that he went there immediately. Probably not even having time to properly reflect on how strongly his tastes influence him.
For all the faults one can find and things one would’ve done differently when given the chance to create something it’s all about what influences and inspires us.
Some people desire to have intricate and complex creations with a lot of detail. Some people want simple visual representations that let us infer certain characteristics of our own.
Sometimes the format dictates us to use certain tropes and at the same time we need to push against them to move whatever medium we’re working with forward.
It all comes down to taste.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!