So I've been on here on a while now.
What I have seen is pretty interesting in what artists call Realism, and especially semi-realism? What a weird use of the term.
What exactly is Realism? Is it drawing cartoon characters with realistic proportions? No that's what people call Semi-Realism.
But Semi-Realism is non-descriptive, semi-realism could mean anything. It covers a broad topics of styles and is generally useless for a categorize.
Realism isn't about bringing things to to life as it more about shaping reality with a hammer, not reflecting it with a mirror. The term Realism comes from the French art movement in the 1850s that was directly opposite of Romanticism, what is Romanticism? The exotic subject matter and exaggerated emotionalism and drama of the Romantic movement.
Doesn't sound to self-telling now doesn't? How Romanticism is generally a term used to refer by to Roman and Classical times, not about love.
If Realism is about portraying what is real, concrete, not mystical, nor ethereal. That is another reason the term to describe the favorite term of Semi-Realism is flat, what does it actually mean to portray reality only half?
So if modern artwork isn't Realism nor it is Semi-Realistic. What do we assign it?
Idealism is portraying subjects in the ideal. This is what artists means when they paint "semi-realistically" especially in fan-art or other subjects. It uses idealistic proportions, compositions, and colors into an ideal state, usually larger than life, extremely powerful, or extremely beautiful. Idealism has gained a lot of attention, but the main problem with Idealism, that it is forgettable. If you try to portray your brother/sister idealistically, you couldn't because it is impossible, not even photo-realism painting can reach Idealism, the closest thing that can reach Idealism is the Camera, and later the Cinema, you don't have a portrait of your family made, you just have a picture taken. That, and the general composition isn't grounded with reality, so the piece has a contradiction, is it real or not? Is it even the same real person you portrayed? Thus you run into the problem that something is so perfect it seems artificial, in which an Idealistic art-form is. Therefore it is forgotten easily.
Fanart gets away with it because the characters or setting portrayed was never real to begin in the first place. So in essence, the artists is "upping" the graphics of the character, but aren't actually making the character believable or real, because it can never be, nor does it have to be. The branded character already has significant attachment to the fan-base, so there is little reason to ground the character to make it believable. But even still, the artists can't get around the core-fact that the consumer is probably going to see it once, click fave, maybe comment, and never see it again, while an actual Realism painting would have you staring for hours if you appreciated art.
So if you have the problem of your characters, pieces, or stories being forgettable it is probably because your thinking in the ideal.
This is realism
Notice that the artist was trying to shape a reality not mirror it perfectly. The subject matter is real, I can safely say there was a Breton farmer in France that worked all day in the fields. He didn't paint a farmer in the fields as he was so much constructed a farmer in the fields.
Examples of Idealism are pretty easy to find, just hit 1 month popular you'll get some from Sakimichan, Wlop, and others. Notice how everything just seems perfect in a ideal setting with ideal composition.
Compare that back to the Song of the Lark and decide which one is more realistic?
If you said Song of the Lark you would be correct. Why, because it is grounded, what is that? That means the subject matter is tied to reality, reality isn't shooting magical beams from your favorite character from a cool setting. For a 19th century Frenchman, working out in the fields all day was a reality, and still is a reality, for not only them but for most of the world as well. That is why it has survived over 150 years.
That is why if you want to improve, abandon the idealistic and study realism proper, that isn't picking up an anatomy book, it is actually studying that time period pieces and comparing it to other periods, anatomy is only a tiny piece. Trust me, Realism is much easier when you don't have to worry about drawing attractive magical girls, buff warriors, plutocratic royalty, or fantastical settings. It is like water on the pallet of the tongue.
Too much of the extraordinary becomes ordinary, while the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Expect to see such after these tests.