How to Find Your Art Style
Oh the question that plagues us all! Let’s dive in...
What is my art style?
Your art style is something you learn, develop, and ultimately change over time. Sometimes adjustments to your art style are intentional, while others can be “happy accidents”. You should welcome both equally.
Your style tends to be a combination of various aspects of how you produce your art. It is your voice, your palette, texture, movement, size, medium, subject matter and method all lumped together in one finished piece that represents you!
Okay that sounds a bit complicated, but it really is the “thing” that makes what YOU do, uniquely YOURS and identifiable.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Next time you’re in your studio and begin to ask yourself the following questions:
What common themes show up in my work over and over again?
Do you always gravitate towards blues? Maybe you LOVE painting abstract landscapes? Do you prefer working on a large or small scale?
If I had to only paint one thing for an extended period of time, what would it be?
Sometimes you can naturally gravitate towards your art style by simply paying attention to what interests you.
Maybe you love hyperrealism subject matter because of the precision and attention to detail.
Or possibly you find yourself drawn to abstract art because it pushes your definition of reality.
"But I Feel Like I’m All Over the Place?!"
If you can’t come up with concrete answers, or you feel a little lost in your art practice, that is totally okay. It could just be that you are still figuring out your artistic style.
Usually, an artist that is bouncing around from landscape art to digital art then exploring abstract art, and pottery is still exploring their artist style and voice.
That is completely okay! If you are struggling on finding inspiration for your artwork, check out this blog post once you finish reading this one.
It is very normal for artists to explore various aspects of art when they are first starting out. If you fall into this category, don’t beat yourself up!
Enjoy this stage of your budding artist journey and let it riiiiiide!
As time goes on, you will eventually land on a style that is yours through and through. Anyone that views your work will know it as yours simply because no one can do what you can do the way you can do it. (That was a tongue twister)!
I’ve developed a FREE resource to help those that are trying to hone their artist style. Be sure to read to the bottom for the resources section.
How Do Artists Find Their Style?
Honestly, this is the *very* unsexy answer, but it is the truth - time on task. Practice, practice, PRACTICE! Before you roll your eyes, keep reading...
You need to show up for your art as often as possible, and put in the time to practice. Talent will not serve you here, hard work will!
Reread that last sentence one more time. Even when you’re uninspired to get into the studio - do it anyways!
Set a time limit, and paint or sculpt or photograph your little heart out. Show up for your craft. If you do that enough times, it will pay you back time and time again.
You have to give what you want to get! And if you want to get better, or find your artistic style - you gotta give your art the time, attention, and sweat equity it deserves.
This is a critical step as an artist, and one that only you can do. Overtime, what seems like a struggle will become a habit.
Try not to get frustrated with this process - and instead enjoy it. If you find yourself getting frustrated - leverage that frustration as fuel and channel it to produce better art!
Some of my BEST studio days started as the most frustrating. Riding the emotional waves, and committing to your craft is the best path forward here. Trust me. Most artists that have found their style practiced a lot.
Tip: Pay close attention to your internal dialogue. Always keep the conversation with yourself about your art positive.
Take a hike
Step outside the studio, slow down and pay attention to the world around you. This doesn’t mean walking around the neighborhood doom scrolling through Instagram.
Really stay present on your walk. Look to the trees, the flowers, all of the shapes and textures, smells and sounds for inspiration.
Soak that up as inspiration to bring back to your studio. Nature is the best therapy, but more importantly the best artist. Take some time to learn and draw inspiration from Nature.
"Should I copy other artists to develop my own style?"
Yes, but with one key caveat. You should grab inspiration from several artists' work that you admire, not just one.
If you pluck out one artist and copy everything they do, that just makes you an asshole. Okay maybe that was harsh - but you’re ripping them off and likely won’t make many friends.
Instead, find 1 or 2 aspects of their work that inspires you! Then do that with another artist. Rinse and repeat!
Overtime, you will mold various aspects of your inspiration into your own and BOOM - you’re off to a great start at finding your artist style.
Note: If you’re a visual artist and you paint - finding inspiration from other artists doesn't have to be limited just to other visual artists who paint. Maybe you love a particular fashion designer, architect, or glass blower and elements of their work can be found in yours.
Experiment early and often and remember to PLAY!
As you’re developing your style, have a little fun with it! I mentioned earlier not to beat yourself up if you haven’t found your art style and I realize you likely already have.
You’ve been frustrated, pissed off, and ready for “it” to just show itself already. I totally get it. All work and no play sucks.
Allow yourself the space to play. Let loose, HAVE FUN! Crank the music, change up the colors, get naked! Woah, okay only do that last bit if you have a private studio.
Hey, if it works, it works.
Don’t question it - embrace your inner Nike and Just Do It! Let go and flow baby!
Remember it Takes Time
When you’re first starting out, remember it takes time to develop your style as an artist. Know that and remind yourself to be patient to take some pressure off yourself.
Beating yourself up for not finding your art style yet isn't going to do you or your art any good.
Being an artist isn’t just your job, or that thing you do, it is part of who you are and how you live your life.
How do you bring elements of you through in your art? Comment below
Being able to have a recognizable body of work that is an honest representation of you is such a massive milestone as an artist!
Give yourself the space to create art on your terms, while still allowing outside influences to inspire your work. Over time, your art style will continue to develop.
My style has evolved drastically over the years and guess what - IT STILL IS! You’re not done growing as a person, therefore your art style isn’t either!
Whether you like it or not, you’re represented through your art regardless of the stage of your art career you’re in.