"How do you find your style?" or "How do I find my style?"
We've heard this. We've asked this. It's the most prevalent question in the art community among all the up and coming artists. I don't know if it'll ever ceased to be asked no matter how often it's addressed. Almost every YouTube artist has had to address this at one time or another and I have heard several explanations that I wholeheartedly agree with.
That being said, as it is still asked and will continue to be asked, I want to address it and perhaps give my angle as it may be a bit unique.
Art Style... I think young artists are overwhelmed with the vast variety of styles and can see them all on their computer screen that it can seem scary. Also, it seems an abstract thing as so much of art is of abstract things (thoughts, emotions, essence, soul, etc). So I understand why this is such a big question and how it's core to every artist.
The thing is the answer isn't as mystifying as the question.
Before I get to that, I wanted to say a little on my early art journey with my style. I actually never asked this question. I wasn't concerned about style. My family members were artistic and I just learned to doodle some things half decent from them and drew what I wanted (princesses😄). Then people told me how they could easily pick out my drawings among others do to how it was drawn. They called it my "style". I didn't understand and oddly didn't like the comments. Perhaps I felt it meant I was stuck to draw this way forever when I wanted to change it.
Even as a kid, I didn't like tracing. Some friends of mine did it but I didn't like that no skill was in it and they didn't learn anything from that drawing yet showed it off so proudly. I focused on trying to copy as closely as possible by hand. Then I would change up the outfit or hair. I drew from artists I liked yet my hand seemed to make lines, texture, and proportions bit differently. Later I would see how I had subconscious habits from how I trained myself to draw that had a distinction to it.
So to the question, "how do you find your art style"...how did you find your clothing style? How did you develop your food pallette?
Similar though not the same to these, we experiment with looks we like. Early on we might try to copy really close to the characters from the cartoons, books, or anime we like. Then we get more discerning in deciding what features or traits we really love about them. Maybe we like big eyes but don't like anime pointy chins. Maybe we find we like sharp lines and not curvy. You just draw what you like, try different things you see others do. Do you like it? Keep it. Not your thing? Drop it. This is your style and as you do more things that you like, the style changes with you as a person.
There is a second factor to your style, which I touched on in my story. Your hand learns a way of doing things and when you get more comfortable with drawing or painting, this connection the brain and the hand have made takes over when you aren't being deliberate. I have a specific S shape I make in almost all my drawings, specifically with hair. You'll see it repeated. Sometimes it's not what I want and I need to very, very deliberately and slowly make my hand do something else. This again, could change if I retrain my brain to make other connections or become more adaptable. The point being, there is a subconscious style in the very lines you make from how you first learned to draw. Think of it as the DNA of your style and the the rest is like how you do your hair, clothes, makeup, etc. Again, not as set in stone as our actual DNA but requires training to change.
Some people say "your style finds you". While I don't deem this entirely accurate, it's a good thought.
I would LOVE to have a discussion on style with you. Have you found this to be true? Are you trying to find your style? Do you disagree with this? Let's start the conversation. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'm including an ink drawing ai did of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, to illustrate how they came out in my style.
To my fellow artists, keep creating!