Most of my early drawings were attempts to imitate someone else's style or drawing popular cartoon characters. Haven't all of us began that way? I drew the Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Disney characters, etc. etc. In my early teens, I came up with several different styles of my own, inspired by other artists - but they didn't look quite like the inspirations, partly because I wasn't gifted enough to copy them accurately, and partly because I mostly drew from memory. So, in the end, I came up with something that looked as distictly mine. I had one cartoony style, one realistic superhero comic style (however awkward) and one grotesque, caricature style with prominent use of crosshatching.
I went through a manga phase in highschool - but never really drew any comic using it. I never really continued any comic for more than a few pages. Some ended after two or three panels... 7 pages tops.
Then I took a break that lasted... 7 years, if I remember correctly.
"A Bit Cheesy" is the first think I tried drawing after that break. And I wasn't trying to copy any style with it. I just drew it the way I liked it and felt comfortable with, and was easy to do.
That's why I don't use perspective much at all. It's easier that way. I COULD use it, if I wanted to, I did practice one-point, two-point and three-point perspective before, but I find the straight, sort of isometric angles kinda stylish. I'm also used to them, since I'm a CAD designer and the software's default setting is "No perspective" for sheer convenience, and most importantly, accuracy.
I drew the character's faces/heads the way I saw them in my head when I tried to imagine them - not TOO cartoony, but not realistic either. I wanted A Bit Cheesy to be a semi-serious love story - in which humor was one of the chief factors, but a bit melancholy here and there wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. The character design reflects that in its own peculiar way - or at least I like to think so: the cartoony heads are attached to more or less realistically looking bodies. Other than the big sneakers, their figures are based on me. I try to make the hands as realistic as I can, too. I always use mine for referrence.
I'm not really sure how I got the idea of the limited color palette. I think it might've been the DareDevil comic, drawn by John Romita Jr., it had the same brown and blue theme as my first episode. But then I experimented with other couples of colors: blue, red and green; blue and yellow; blue and red; green and red. Might also be my fascination with symbolism...
The shading of characters vs the backgrounds went in two opposing directions. I soft-shade the backgrounds and cel-shade the characters. In the beginning, I'd cel-shade certain items of the background, too - but as I went on, I discovered how much cooler things look when soft-shaded properly. And for the past couple of pages I haven't even been using contours. Still, I cel-shade the main characters just as I did when I started. That way, it looks kind of like cartoon stills rather than a comic - and I like it enough to keep it that way rather than try to soft-shade the characters, too.
As for formal education in drawing, never really got any. But of course, I did realize the importance of learning the basics. I was curious, too. I think I was 9 or so when I started learning how to shade metal objects, and I loved to do realistic copies of photos with pencils. I didn't try to learn any particular style of doing that, I just tried to make as faithful a copy as I could.
My other issue with formal education is I'd hate my own style suppressed or some style forced upon me. As unprofessional as that might seem... I'm just hostile towards people who are convinced that their own vision is the only right way and everyone else's is by default allllllll wrrrrooooong. And I won't take "Because!" for an answer. If I don't get a coherent explanation why I should change this or that, and if I'm not allowed to say why I think my way does make sense - I don't feel obliged to comply. Simple as that. Because of that, I had some issues with several e-zine publishers. Whenever I tried to argue my point, they'd brush me off with vague, one-sentence explanations, tell me that I'm not willing to "cooperate" (i.e. succumb to whatever unreasonable modifications to my stories they had in mind) then there's nothing they can do for me, orrrr not reply at all. It's not like I'm hostile to advice. It's true that I'm hard to work with, sometimes. Erica called me nazi once - and she's not the only one that had issues with me. But if someone manages to convince me, there's no reason why I wouldn't try and look at something their way. For instance, I was very happy with my baroque style of narrative - until an editor of a magazine told me it's overblown and hard to read. So I toned down - and that was the best thing I ever did for my writing. Similarly, a buddy of mine, who worked as an editor for a magazine, too, told me my style is too explanatory. That kinda shattered me - but eventually made me discover how to use allusion, symbolism and rely on the reader's ability deduce rather than explain everything.
So what I mean to say is, while "Everybody's special" is not necessarily right, perhaps just because one doesn't have a PhD in Arts doesn't mean they're retarded and maybe shouldn't be treated as such ;)
And I think saying Todd McFarlane's and Jim Lee's styles look the same is nothing short of blasphemy! Arrrr!