How & when do you discover your signiture style in oainting?
I don’t think there’s an exact moment or formulaic how I, or anyone for that matter, found a ‘style’. There was a certain period and a few works of mine from years earlier, which I do think to be the turning point for the pathway to where my work is now though.
Up until three years ago, I used to dabble in a number of different ‘styles’, ranging from manga/anime, caricature cartoon, superhero comic, realism, and even abstract at one point. Heck, I even tried vector-art! It wasn’t until my final years at high school where I think my work began to take more solid form in terms of subject matter, style, colour etc.
This piece above, was done at the start of 2013. There was something ‘dreamy, surreal and magical’ about it, and I like to think of it as a result of me dabbling in so many different styles. In all those years of experimentation, parts of what I loved about each respective style combined to form this direction for my work; a blend between anime/cartoon/realism portraiture, a sense of abstract/surrealism through visual elements (like the hair) and colour. For the rest of 2013, I spent the year developing my art final for my art subject around this concept, which led me to experimenting with this newfound style further. I loved the direction, and had to take it further, refining my digital style and love for these ‘ethereal ladies’
Above, is my high school ‘art final’, which was a refined style of the first image. It was me wanting to push more realism and completely separate visual elements like the skin, from these more surreal/abstract representation of the hair. I loved it, and I didn’t stop there. This style exploration eventually led to me creating my first watercolour work in pushing this direction.
This above piece, played on the same qualities and aspects that I loved about this newfound style, and I began to feel comfortable in it, to a point where I even tried to replicate those principles into watercolor. This very piece, I believe, is the root of my ‘style’ that I still have today with my watercolor work.
It’s hard to tell someone exactly how to find a style, because a style can be determined in so many different ways. It can be a style based on colour, a style based on visuals, a style based on ideas/themes or even a style simply based on subject matter. For me, I think the way I found my style was because I was able to somehow merge all these aspects I loved about those styles I wanted to replicate all those years. I was able to combine my love for anime, realism, portraiture, superhero comics, cartoons & caricatures, and even abstract art.
The thing is, don’t get too bogged down by this idea of needing to find and have a completely mindblowing and unique style. My work and style is definitely flawed and I’m sure there are thousands of artists whom my work is similar to. A lot of people feel like they HAVE to have a style, otherwise it doesn’t validate themselves as artists, and that can be more detrimental. We get caught up in this idea that without a style, we’re sucky and it makes us unsatisfied and want to give up.
Everyone has their own unique little quirks and kinks that makes their work unique. Two people can draw the EXACT same drawing style visually, but their ideas and themes throughout their work can be completely different, and that is still stylistically unique! Keep practicing and experimenting with what you love, because what you already do is a reflection of what you want your work to show, it might just take time for you to realize what’s so special or unique about it.
Keep going, because when you do stumble across it one day, it’ll definitely be worth the wait.
My art summary for 2014! This year was a big one - finished up a short animated film, graduated, moved across the country and worked on some really awesome things! I didn’t draw as much as I would have liked in the last few months so hopefully that improves next year! On to 2015!
Throwback to a bunch of my old Homestuck fanart! These are all from my old art blog. 2013 was the year I started drawing more often and I owe a lot to HS. I actually improved a lot that year! It’s been a long and wild ride, but I definitely won’t forget this story and I definitely won’t stop drawing Homestuck characters!