I recently painted a picture for an instagram hashtag challenge with a gallery (ie: paint this reference image in your own style), and realised that my painting looked very different from everyone else's interpretation. Was this a good thing or a bad thing?
Now, for a while, being the sheep that I am, I thought I had done it wrong. But then, I put down the stick I was bashing myself with, and I realised you can't really do art wrong, and that sometimes it's good to zig when everyone else zags. Even in graphic design, where you're working to a brief, sometimes it's good to come up with something unexpected.
It means you stand out from the crowd, and in a noisy world, that's a positive. As Andy J Pizza from Creative Pep Talk says, "what do you call an artist who doesn't want to stand out? I don't know, but you don't call them an artist".
There was still a nagging thought, especially when I saw which ones were getting a more positive response. Really, the challenge was: paint this photo, rather than paint this photo in your style. A subtle, but important difference! Of course it will still look like you've painted it, but it should have had the same FEEL (moody/black/sophisticated).
They wanted a painting of the photo, complete with matching mood and colour tones. They didn't want someone to go off piste. So, in part to put my mind at rest, and also to understand what was required, I used photoshop to alter my image to be more like the photo, and see the reaction to that.
Well, the results were... that people didn't really care either way! Thanks, internet.
But personally, the blue one feels more like me, and the black one is more sophisticated like the photo.
Do you have a preference? And if you were to do a challenge like this, would you find it more important to vary it up as much as possible, or stick as closely to the reference image?