Hello! I very much admire your work. I'm coming up on my first "Tumblr birthday" soon, and I think I've made decent progress in finding my own artistic style during this first year. However, I'm still not sure if I should focus on one particular style more than any other, or if I should keep up with the variety. I was wondering how long you experimented before you created your current style of drawing? Thanks for your time!
you are welcome,
i am happy to hear from your progress
and thanks for this challenging question.
in general, i would say never stop experimenting. in my opinion art is not about finding or maintaining a visual ‚style‘ – one aspect: it is about honestly expressing yourself. whatever this means to someone: drawing, singing, dancing, writing… – maybe all of it?
i experimented a lot, like i said in the interview with NeverLazy magazine, back in the days, i chose to draw in black lines, not only because i liked it a lot aesthetically, but also because i was not fully satisfied with the quality of my shapes and lines. drawing directly with black ink, really helped me to concentrate and grow in my self-confidence facing the paper.
some time ago artist Ben Tour recommended my artwork and called my way of creating „fearless“. the unexpected mention was a nice surprise because he truely was an inspiration on my way becoming an artist myself. but have i aimed for being ‚fearless‘ – i think not. i am just moving, developing, exploring, digging deeper into the way i have began to walk.
but i would not draw in the way i draw now if i would not have experimented with a lot of various techniques.
i remember there was a cool drawing teacher and we had to learn all this traditional drawing techniques with pencils to visualize the same object / still life. this was really a good lesson. ( studying from nature is very important to train the eye and the perception - i highly recommend this. )
a certain time afterwards i was sitting in front of my paper and asking myself – what is ‚my‘ way of doing it? do i really want to use a pencil? do i want to create a naturalistic piece? i admired Horst Janssen, i adored Egon Schiele — but who was i?
so, i guess this was the beginning of listening to my ‚inner sound‘.
i approached the paper and started exploring — i found out, that i want to express myself in lines, the circle became the center of creation and that i will accept all the figures and character who want to come out in their imperfection.
but this was my way, every ones way is individual. someone else will sit in front of the paper and find out, he or she wants to use dots, or strokes with charcoal, or big self cutted brushes from the tool market with watercolors, or cheap color pens, or — something else.
what unites might be the organic process – if you let it, creativity can grow like a plant, maybe a tree. but you do not need to ask yourself what kind of; just grow, and develop your fruits.
if you think about illustration i would like to refer to the FAQ of Jillian Tamaki —
„How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?
I think that setting out to “find a style” is sort of psychologically limiting. When I was a student, we were very much encouraged to develop our basics, experiment with media and not lock ourselves into finding a “marketable style”. It took me a very long time of trying on different hats before I hit upon something I felt inspired by. I didn’t dare think I should try to get jobs when I was in school, and I’m thankful I was just allowed to incubate.
All of that said, the term “style” has a certain usefulness in the field of Illustration. When you first start out, I would recommend your style (the work you present to the world) be a little more consistent across the board, so people know exactly what they’re going to get if they hire you. But you’re not a machine. It’s my opinion that “style” should evolve over time as you grow and change as a person. It’s inevitable.“
( http://jilliantamaki.com/faq/ )
so, style is more than a ‚visual style‘, maybe call it an ‚attitude‘. it develops out of your personal work and is in my experience an orangic process. it can also help not to think in terms of ‚style‘, but in terms of ‚language‘.
style versus language —
open thoughts on this, will be my next topic in my FAQ
i hope this helps a little on your way. greetings