There’s a lot of people who have stories about art teachers who hate anime and the students feel like their art is bad and they get sad, they feel humiliated, and the question becomes: “Why does my teacher hate me? And my art? And my style? Shouldn’t my teacher be encouraging me to make whatever I want to make?” Well they kind of are and give me one minute to try and convince you why: at the core of art education there is to be “fundamentals of art” and what does that mean? Some kind of rule set for making art? You’re gonna force me to draw, like, Greek sculptures or something? I can never draw anime again? No. At the core it means this; that if you want to make good art, it takes being able to understand things like: perspective, rendering, color theory, etc. And what does all of these things have in common? Well, all of these things have a basis in reality. But then maybe you don’t want to draw big, muscular men and paintings of fruit. Maybe you want to draw something stylized, or something anime, and that’s fine, that’s even great! You have something you wanna draw – that’s better than most people already, but there is something that all great artists have in common, and it’s an understanding of reality. These things are stylized, and what does that word mean? Well, it means taking something from reality and trying to depict it in a non-realistic way, but all good stylization is based on a good understanding of what it is trying to emulate. These artists spend a long time trying to study how these things work in real life and because of that they are able to draw on that knowledge, to simplify, or exaggerate, those things. However, instead when a lot of beginners draw anime, they see it as a quick way to get good at art: “…Hey! I don’t need to learn to draw faces, I can just draw these symbols!” But instead it comes out looking all weird; there’s just something wrong about it. That’s when a lot of teachers will say: “Hey, I don’t think you should be drawing anime.” And it’s very straight to the point, and maybe even the teachers don’t understand why they think anime is bad. But here’s what a good art teacher would say: “I don’t think you should be drawing anime, because I think you are using it as a crutch. Currently you are at a level where you don’t really understand the anatomy of real faces, but if you did; your work would improve as a result.” I am not forbidding you from drawing anime, but I am telling you this because I would want to see you improve and this is how you would be able to make good anime in the future, because otherwise you might just draw a thousand bad anime drawings until you in the future come to this conclusion yourself.” But that conversation doesn’t happen, so instead you get the quick exchange of: “Hey, don’t draw anime.” And in response: “This is my style!” Now you could learn to draw by drawing anime over and over again, and get better by doing that, but now that you know all of this, why would you? You could be improving 10x faster and all these artists you look up to, well, this is how they learned how to do it. They weren’t born with these skills, they practiced. Not all critique is valid, but if you are faced with critique, and your response is: “It’s my style!” Then you could very well just be discrediting someone trying to help you. And, as a result you end up repeating yourself over and over instead of improving with each drawing. It can be tough, and it can feel really hard learning something new, and that’s kind of why you have to do it, because you don’t want to end up feeling like you’re in a comfort zone because that’s when you are not learning. So basically, what I’m saying is: Learning art education won’t prevent you from being able to draw anime. You can adapt, take advantage of the situation and learn about art education. Blend “learning reality” with “learning anime”. That’s when you can say: “Okay, what do I need to study next to get better at drawing anime?” So, hey! Suddenly drawing all those muscular dudes and painting all that fruit. Who knew it? But it kinda seems like you are getting better at other things now, and as a result: Whadda ya know? Good anime! People say: “The teachers should be encouraging the kids to draw whatever they want.” And weirdly enough, because we did all these assignments, now all the things we want to draw come a lot easier to them. I’m not saying all art teachers are amazing and fantastic. I’ve heard plenty of stories about unreasonable art teachers. And sometimes they’re stupid, sometimes if you did listen to them you’d spend years doing nothing but finger-painting. But sometimes, things can roll down to misunderstandings, and sometimes it’s personal taste blended in with critique. But what can also happen is that when you’re in school, you’re a kid, and maybe you just want to draw these things; you don’t even care about art fundamentals; you just want to have fun! But this is not fun and relaxing drawing time. This is a school assignment! You’re doing an assignment for your school. And as a kid you will find all of this stuff boring. You don’t wanna sit and draw naked people and fruit. Along with that, kids find it very hard to separate critique from hate. Because you have a lot of personal attachment to your drawings, and might even feel like your entire being depends on how you are able to draw these characters you came up with. So let me be clear: this is not a response to personal experiences that someone has had, and this is not an assessment of someone, or their experiences. Because there will always be bad art teachers somewhere! What you do in art class is never going to matter as much as what you do outside of art class. In the end, everything relies on you! Improvement, learning, doing whatever you want, everything important that is taught in art You can find all of it in books! And if you can’t find it in school, then go online! And you know what? Here are some great places to start!