I remember there was a time when PPG OCs started off, usually as someone's own thing, or more commonly, basically the PPG or RRB with a slightly different name. Let's face it, 90 percent of everyone is or was guilty of that. And most of us have grown and matured themselves away
from that by now. Some are still, working on it. And some had just started. Basically, many had started with using the PPG/RRB designs as a "base" or sorts for OCs. And I'm not talking about drawing over screenshots and calling it art. I mean wanting an OC, and it ends up being girl versions of the RRB, or boy versions of the PPG, or good versions of the PPkG, ship-kids, stronger versions, twin, lost sibling, father, mother, etc etc etc and so on and blah. All that crazy stuff. Heck. Even the Rowdyruff Tomboys were originally basically the PPG as Tomboys, at first. The name
even gives that away. And I'm not even touching
what the Rogue's original team name was. -shudders violently-....But again, we've all been there. If not, a genuine good job on you. Either way, you never know.
Perhaps most have grown out of the by now, and actually added more unique features and flaws to the character(s), or for others..a total and complete revamp. Some people may cringe remembering how they used to draw and what they used to draw back then. In the abyss of shame. But hey, that's what's good about improvement's journey. Looking back and seeing how you've grown as well as improved. And hey! Bonus points if you matured in terms of action and etiquette. Not all of us was as civil as we'd like, I'm sure. But I digress.
I may not say so out loud, but it makes me really and genuinely proud to see how so many have exceeded their skills since I first saw their stuff, here. It's absolutely amazing, and inspiring to many, not mention. To know that admired artists had evolved so much, or even a little, gives the younger and/or newer ones here, the ambition to strive to improve too. There are probably a few that once were discouraged or envious, because they compared themselves to "better artists" (even though that's completely opinion-based and does not affect your own quality of work) or even to artists with more "views, praise, and attention" than them (even though that isn't always someone's fault. That feeling is best used as inspiration to keep trying your best at your own pace.), that are now giving their own followers advice or encouragement. Things like that and more, has always made me feel happy and proud, because this is how good feelings and such are spread. It makes a fandom, or parts of one, feel just nice and cozy once you find a good spot. When you finally feel like you genuinely have your own thing to set yourself from the rest in a good way. And from there, you strive to improve further on and on. It's basically like a journey, to put it in a more cheesy way.
Yes, there's a but.
But nowadays, it's not very easy to see that anymore.
Nowadays, I see more imitations, burned to death trends, and lookalikes absolutely over the place, in terms of OCs. And I highly doubt I'm the only one who's noticed, seen, and/or been the slightest bit disappointed at such. Don't get me wrong, it's nice when you see someone's stuff and work, and you might want a similar design, or a design JUST like it. Whether it's because you like the design, you want the attention your "muse" may have, so you imitate their style/design pattern, or because it's popular so you kinda "jump on ye olde bandwagon" or what have you. Imitating a style is usually how some people start off. But normally it is a good idea to only use some
elements from the style you are imitating and then use those elements as tools to help you find your own style.
---For example, if someone wanted their own anime/human style. They could use a style they happen to enjoy and take elements, like the eyes, color style (not to be confused with color scheme) and the lineart style. (And of course it wouldn't hurt to credit where it's due.) They take that and then for everything else, they put it in a twist. A twist that they're comfortable with using while keeping the elements. That's their style. And maybe later on their style will change and evolve from there. Pretty soon, their style could very well catch attention from other onlookers due to it being different, and pleasing to their eyes, in their opinion. (Though not all people will be guaranteed to love or even LIKE your style. But you don't like that stop you from your journey. Remember Fact=/=Opinion. And never will.)
--That is how most would invent a style for themselves. Practice and Improvement is another journey story, however.
But if you were to search up something here on dA, and all you saw were pretty the same style, same basic design/outfit (some, down to the last detail) over and over, that would be..well. Something. And it doesn't help if it's all different artists. If every artist had basically the same style, would you still be amazed and interested, or kinda pass it up until something different/unique pops up? That's up to you. Everyone has their own opinion(s). But, I, personally, tend to pass up things that don't catch my attention. Then again, everyone does, just about, but you know what I mean.
I know better can be achieved than that, here, if ones are willing to try. It wouldn't really hurt to maybe google some various outfits/styles to try out. Out there, there is more in the fashion world than striped oversized sleeves, animal hats that may or may not be sentient. More than "cute/saucy stockings/undergarments". More than hair with honestly impossible hair dye (unless they're a "species" of puff, I don't know about.) More than having an eye bandage (for some reason). Or having 6 different eye colors. (unless those eye contacts) More th- wait this is getting off track..Point is, there's other ways to design a character. SO. MANY. OTHER WAYS.
It's like a whole candy store. You got so many choices, but nowadays, it's like you go in the candy store and there's only Twizzlers and maybe a few stray skittles and m&m's here and there. It's like going to a Baskin-Robin's with 2 flavors and one topping on the menu. It's not as enjoyable. That's why it's good to have variety. It's why it's normally better to have one's own thing. Why follow, when you can learn and one day, lead?
I know that difficulty and such greatly varies by the person, but I ,personally, believe that it's not that difficult to think or find something different to work with.
Of course design is merely the eye catcher. What about the character? What are they like? How are they around others? What can they do? What can't they do? Are the allergic to anything? How old are they? Do they have ambitions for anything? What? Why? Do they look up to anyone? Who? Why? Do they have friends? Enemies? People that just irk them? Who, why, how so? Is there something weird about them? What is it? How did it happen? How do they cope, if they CAN cope.
Another really important element for a character is a story. Personality. I mean, do what you want with them, if they're your character. (Seriously, don't just take and use someone else's character without at least the owner's permission. That's not ever okay.) But if you want them to be interesting, you gotta add character depth. What's more interesting, a character that's only there for looking at, like a common background person? Or Someone that could prolly be relatable to some others? Even in MLP (just and example, calm down) the background characters were given some personality and such, when they were once just a design in the blurred background. Don't just make your characters a design trophy (especially if it's pretty much just like the other 100 characters with the same style and "cookie-cutter" design) but also try to make them seem human, or whatever species you're going for. And no "Personalty: Cute, Shy, Hot, Beautiful," is not how it works. You're going to have to put a little more work into it than that, if you want to be, well, taken seriously.
And some may not like this but sometimes, when you want to be "noticed" and/or taken seriously, you'll have to eventually take genuine critique(s) to improve. And no, a critique is not "PERFECT! AWESOME! FLAWLESS! GREAT!" because that's just compliments. Compliments are nice, but when you want to improve, a bunch of comments saying nothing is wrong with it, or nothing needs to be fixed isn't helping anything. If anything, too much of that can probably slow down improvement. Because "if nothing's wrong with it, nothing needs to be fixed. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing" mindset ends up coming up and they'll never get better.
That being said, it doesn't mean it's A-OK to dunk nothing but spite and negativity on it, either. There's a difference between a harsh critique and just being rotten, using "critiques" as an excuse.
The point of a critique is to help those GETTING the critique improve on their work, based on your own knowledge and/or experience. It's also important to be as LITTLE biased as possible. If your favorite artist wants critique, don't just put "This is perfect and awesome, your my favorite I love you
D" but something more like "This is pretty good, but there's a few things I think you could fix or work on in future drawings. Like that leg, for example, is a lot longer than the other. Maybe try making them about the same size when you draw legs?". Doing it that way, will give the artist a tip to do better next time. This is how improvement can come to be. There's MANY ways, but that there can be a pretty good one. Bonus points if you direct them to helpful tutorial to look at and stuff.
In the end, though it may be asking a lot, it'd be nice to see variety and more originality around here, you know?
But hey, those are just my thoughts.