When I started my art adventure years ago, I struggled developing my own art style. I decided to stuck to the fan arts and classical painters studies. It seemed reasonable. However, deep down I felt the urge to break the barrier of learning or recreating to finally start making something unique, something mine. I wanted my paintings to reflect my personality and passion.
I wanted my paintings to reflect my personality and passion.
The task turned out to be overwhelming. How the heck artists find their own art style?! I’ve never find a step-by-step method on exactly how to do it. And it was starting to frustrate me.
I’m sure you had heard that developing a personal art style takes years. Or that the art style is something that comes naturally for every artist when they’re passionate about something. To some point it’s true: practice and passion does helps a lot. Practice will help develop technical skills and knowledge of how to recreate specific effects. Passion can give you a sense of your comfort zone, and a direction. However, that may be a very long process. So, what to do if you’ve mastered the fundamentals, and still having troubles with finding your personal art style?
Don’t worry, many artists struggle with this issue.
First of all, it’s good to remember that, nowadays it’s really hard to create something undeniably original. With the baggage of the whole art history, and modern visual culture, which aggressively surrounds us with adds and posters, it’s almost impossible to be truly a unique artist. However, it is possible to develop a painting style that will make your artworks feel like… you.
…make your artworks feel like… you.
Second, artistic sense and style are very similar to everyday habits or personal opinions. They’re developing and changing over the years, so they stay true to us. If you’re having trouble with your art style, it’s probably because you had gained more self-confidence or knowledge, and your art style doesn’t keep up with the changes. When the art style stops alter, it stops to feel right. We start to feel the need to change something, to create things in a different way than before.
I believe that in the same way we’re able to change our daily habits, we can develop and polish an art style. All that is needed is deliberate decision and dedication. For example, if you’re about to make changes in your diet by eliminating lactose, you must start analysing ingredients of the products you eat, then create daily menus, and follow them. Later this way of eating will become natural, and you won’t need the guidelines any more.
Third, the best way to do start is to set a clear goal and create a set of guidelines. With time, you will notice that real creativity happens when an artist make a decision to adapt things according to his or her taste. However, to make a style consistent, you’ll need to follow a set of rules. Rules set by you yourself. Otherwise, they will become restrictions, not guidelines.
So let’s start discovering your art style!
1. Make a portfolio
Collect your all drawings and paintings and sit down. Put away all the fan arts, studies, and pictures you don’t really like. Now take a close look on the pictures that are still in your hands.
- How wast is your portfolio?
- How would you describe its mood / colour palette?
- Are there any similar elements or repeating themes?
- Does it feel right? Would you like to create more pictures like this?
- Are there pictures you REALLY like? Why?
When you pay attention to individual elements that keep appearing in your paintings, it will become easier to identify things important to you.
2. Which artist or art style really catch your eyes?
I know that artists are collectors. We tend to admire so many things that, by looking at the collection of artworks we love, it become hard to tell what we’re really interested in. So now pick:
- one art style
- up to three artists
- up to three themes or objects that keeps repeating over and over
3. Limit your interest
Search for ten pictures that combine both style and theme you love. Choose pictures that resonates with your personality and aspirations. These pictures will become your first guideline, a reminder of what you want inspire you.
If you have a knowledge of art fundamentals these step will be easier for you, because now, you will analyze the artworks.
Analyze one picture at the time. Pick one element that really catch your attention and circle it with red crayon. It may be an unusual composition, a detailed texture, a little smirk on the portrayed face, a light, or tiny moths in the background, whatever you like the most. Then ask yourself:
- Why is this element so interesting?
- What makes it better/different from the other similar?
- How does it affect you? What emotions it create?
Write down the description of each element as well as your observations and thoughts. Then paint a study of each element. Try to isolate the element from it’s surrounding. For example: if you like how an artist draw his lines, then make a line study only; if you like the colour palette, try to draw a simple figure using these colours. Doing so will give you understanding of both emotional impact it had on you and technical aspects. Maybe at the end you will decide that it wasn’t the moths you liked but the texture they created?
5. Merge it all together
Now is the time when it all merge together. How to do it?
- pick one of your beloved themes
- choose technique
- create a colour palette
- start developing your own art style
If you think this cannot be done just like that, you should simply sit down and start drawing.
Give it a try. You have nothing to lose.
If you need more help with finding your own unique art style, I’ve started working on an in-depth online course. If you’re interested, become my beta-tester and help me create a course that will answer YOUR questions. The course will be finished in the first quarter of 2020, so by pledging to Stylist tier, you will get a the course with a huge discount!