I’ve written about this before and I’m sure I will again (every time I need the reminder myself)…
Style, for any artist I’ve ever met, is a THING. We obsess about finding our unique voice, what makes us different, because for some reason that is the validation we need to keep making art. I could go down several tangents here but I’m going to attempt to stay focused…
Let’s try this one, if just for the next five minutes: you already have a style. Period. No more discussion. Do you like it? Is it good enough? Do other people like it? Is there a market for it? It might very well be that these issues are still be TBD.
You already have a unique style because you are the only one who is you. I believe it was illustrator, Melissa Sweet who said that style is your unique take on the world. This unique take is formed by both nature and nurture — your family of origin, your experiences, the places you’ve been and the places you haven’t been, the relationships you’ve had, your physical quirks, your taste in music and movies, the people you hang with, and on and on…. all the things that make up “you.” Can you see how the chances of someone else having the exact same worldview is rather slim?
Let’s take my recent experience as an example. I just completed Month 1 of Lilla Roger’s Bootcamp. The assignment was to design a 1920’s-inspired coloring book cover. My submission was a coloring book featuring women from various eras and what their daily lives were like during that period. I made some sketches…
My final art was the result of a week of sketching and musing on the assignment.
• I thought of my grandmother, who was a girl in the 20’s.
• If you look at my sketches and my portfolio you can see that there’s a way that a draw people and faces that’s just… the way I draw them.
• I have a habit of imposing narratives on my work so of course I had to create a larger story for the assignment.
• I wanted to learn something about the time period and research about women’s experiences.
As I prepared to submit my piece, there’s a part of me that couldn’t imagine a different solution. And yet, of course, there were as many solutions as people in the class (over 300!). As I looked in the gallery, I thought to myself, “I would never have thought to do that!” Of course not! Because I’m not them and they’re not me.
My illustration reflects my habits and my take on the world—my style.
Thought for today: hang in there, grasshopper! Just do what you do!