One of the most asked questions on art communities, online forums, and discord art servers is “How can I find my art style?” It’s an understandable worry, once art becomes important in your life, to stand out and have a unique art style seems to be the next logical step in the process of growing as an artist.
However, it’s not like that.
But let’s begin by asking what is an art style? What defines it? Is it the medium we use? Is it the brushes and strokes we use? Is it the artistic movements we follow? Is it the art we admire? Maybe is it the details of our art?
Many factors influence our art style hence we can’t limit its definition to a couple of them or even a single one.
When asking the question “How to find my art style?” The usual answer we get is a vague “It will come with time and practice” and I’m not saying it isn’t true, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of things we can do to speed up the process.
Finding your art style is usually a long process and it won’t happen overnight, however, there are some things you can do to change the time frame of finding your art style from years to a couple of months.
And that’s the point of this article!
We’re going to guide you through the process so you won’t get stuck in a single step or go back without noticing! This will be a nicely structured guide to help you find your art style without hardships!
Section 1: Introspection
Before we begin, take a piece of paper and a pen to write down the answer to the following questions. It doesn’t have to be a super-specific answer, just write down what comes to your mind!
Step 1: About yourself
I’m sorry but you don’t get to skip this part. Before even thinking of finding your art style it’s important to take a little time and think about yourself.
Every one of us is the combination of all those things that have left an impact in our lives, the things we love, the things we hate, the things we admire and the things we’ve experienced and the things we fear, so take a moment to think, what is art to you?
Is it maybe something you enjoy admiring? Something you do for fun? For popularity? Is it what you plan on making your career? Is it your job? Is it your passion? Is it something permanent or something you’ll move on from?
Question yourself for a moment and once you have your answer, write them down.
Now let’s go to our next step.
Step 2: Your inspirations
We take inspiration from all that is around us. Inspiration is key when creating art in any of its forms, so as artists we keep looking for sources of inspiration in every place we can, even without noticing our brain keeps collecting information of what leaves a strong impression on us.
Now think about those elements that inspire you to create, collect them in any form you can.
Take pictures of the pieces that left an impression on you.
Find the artists you admire, observe them and study them, their tools, their methods, their inspirations.
Follow art movements that call to you, learn from them, what tools are used? What are the most common themes? Do you like them or are you lukewarm about them?
Basically for this step, you’re going to make a board full of your inspirations. Something you can look at while working on your art, something that helps you envision new concepts and creations.
Once you have your board done, move to the next step.
Step 3: Your Art Journey
After collecting your inspirations on a board (it can be digital too) take a good look at your own art.
Gather your favorite pieces and the ones that came easy to you that you’re proud of and place them right next to your board (You can do this on a big digital canvas or print them)
Highlight or write down those elements that there are in common with your inspirations and your art, write those elements that are completely different, made by you.
Now you’re probably noticing that you don’t just have one style and that you don’t just like one style, don’t worry. That’s actually great!
Multiple elements weigh our art, and there are probably a lot of styles you like and want to imitate. You also probably have an interest in more than one medium and take inspiration from very different kinds.
The key to finding your style lies in what you like the most and what comes easier for you to make.
At least for the first one.
Because yes, through your artistic journey you will have more than one art style, you will try and probably master more than one medium and will probably explore polar opposite sources of inspiration.
That’s what makes you an artist. Trying to forcefully stick to a single style will hurt your creativity, as well as completely trying to copy another artist’s style.
What makes an art style unique is how we project our feelings and personality into our art.
And we are a mix of many many elements so it’s only natural our art style is as well.
Take whatever you like the most from other artists and apply them to your art.
Do multiple pieces with those elements, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be good, it’s just an exercise that will help you figure out what direction your art style might take.
Study the artists you like and also the ones that you don’t like. Experiment with the mediums you like the most and try those you don’t really fancy. You’re going to fail, probably, but that’s good!
Now, once you’ve done all that, you’ll have most of it figured out, congrats on finding your first art style!
Or the idea of it.
Because yes, that was a lot of work but we’re still not quite there yet.
And yes. What follows might be the hardest part, especially if you’re a beginner.
Section 2 – Practice
The first part might’ve helped you figure out in what direction you need to go to find your art style but this next part will settle down your style and help you grow.
Step 1: Master the Fundamentals
Now that you have a solid idea of what is going to be your art style (or art styles if you choose more than one) it’s time to practice.
And yes. Many art styles don’t look anatomically correct, sometimes the linework is messy, sometimes is too simple, sometimes is really detailed, the perspective sometimes doesn’t make sense, but believe me, there’s a strong base of knowledge and practice behind what might look weird or simple.
And I’m talking about the very fundamentals of art. Whatever the medium is, you need to have your basics done.
Anatomy, color theory, value, perspective, blending techniques, study your medium, and master those elements that will be heavily present in your art.
Follow the artists that influence you and find their methods, their way of breaking the fundamentals and merging them into their art. Find what’s different and what remains the same.
Experiment, once you’ve got the fundamentals down, apply them to your art. Bend then. Break them. Stylize them.
You’ll see crazy improvements in your art and your style.
Step 2: Know Your Tools
Also, master your tools. Know your brushes, your materials, your software, whatever medium you use, study it to its core.
Ok. Maybe that was too much. But you need to pay special attention to the tools you use to bring your art to life.
Because even though art relies on the fundamentals, having the wrong materials will strongly affect your art.
Also if you don’t know how to use them…well, I guess you know what comes next.
You must have a deep knowledge of your tools. Where to find them, where to buy them, what’s better, what’s worse. Watch tutorials on YouTube, consult professional artists, ask your last shops employees and keep trying new tools until you find what suits you best.
Step 3: Get Feedback
Here comes what might be a very hard part of the process for some. And it’s a step many might want to skip but it’s also very important.
But how? From where? Why?
To grow as an artist it is important to learn from your mistakes. And sometimes your eyes are not enough. We can spend a long period of time making the same mistakes and we wouldn’t even notice. Then after one artistic critique, you’ll see them and improve your art enormously.
The problem lies in that sometimes we don’t like criticism. And that is totally fine. But just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean we don’t need it.
It is very important to also know where to look for this feedback. We can post our art on social media and some fool from the internet might leave a comment that will probably shatter our soul if we pay too much attention to them, so social media is not the right answer of course.
Look for art groups, forums, discord servers, art communities, etc that niche on your medium (watercolor, oils, digital, 3D, etc)
Those will have artists that just like yourself, are looking to improve and that will also know how important it is to give and receive feedback.
Step 4: Give Feedback
Yes. Now that you know how to ask and receive feedback, you can also give it to fellow artists. Trust me, your art will see the fruits of that.
And this is such an undervalued part of being an artist!
Giving feedback doesn’t only help the receiver but it also helps the giver a lot! And not only that. If you take it one step up and try to correct it to what seems right to you, you’ll be learning a lot not just from the correction but from the other artist’s perspective as well.
You have to be careful about this part though, you can paint over or make other versions or even carbon copies of everything you want, as long as it remains a private study or as long as you have the permission of the other artists to do so. Don’t ever post paint overs online without previous consultation and consent from the original artist. And always post studies crediting the original artist online.
Let’s go to our last step.
Section 3 – Enjoy Your Art
You read it right! This last step is going to be enjoying the fruits of your hard work! Now you should have your art style all figured out!
So… what now?
The answer is… Keep going!
As an artist, you’ll find that having an art style makes you unique and recognizable. It makes your work your brand and gathers around you an audience that enjoys it.
But it also means that you can do that again. Art styles and art movements are all temporary. After following all the steps you’ll find out that what matters is not the way you do your art but the small things that make it yours.
And having more than one art style will reflect that.
So if you find a new source of inspiration, a new medium you wanna try or an art movement you want to follow, or simply want to try something new, go for it!
Follow the steps again and keep trying, you’ve got the fundamentals down, you know your tools and you’re now part of communities that will help you grow! Keep creating and keep evolving!
That’s the beauty of art.
And, that’s it! Thank you for reading until the end. I hope this article helped you and answered some questions.
I also hope you find your art style soon, but if you don’t, don’t overthink it and just keep creating!