Many beginning artists tell me that when they look through their art portfolio, they feel frustrated by the lack of consistency. It seems to them that each drawing they make is different from the other one, that nothing feels unique, and that they don’t manage to develop consistent aesthetics. I’ve been through this struggle many times, so I’ve decided to share my simple insights on finding your own style.
Once you understand that style is nothing more than a set of limits, you’ll be much more confident about the process of developing it. While a personal artistic style takes years to develop, it is always rooted in the estriction of elements
To understand the concept of restriction, let’s look at some known brands. For example, YouTube’s ‘style’ is defined by their specific red color in their logo. Their website can only use that specific red color, not other tones. That restriction creates YouTube’s consistent look and feel. And when you see a Van Gogh painting, you can easily tell it’s a Van Gogh, because he has a clear restriction with his “pointillism” technique. He limited his process to using only specific small brushes and painting intense small dots in order to achieve a certain feeling and aesthetic in his paintings.
To understand it better, I suggest the following exercise. Try to limit yourself and create 5 different drawings:
Use a maximum of 4 colors
Use maximum 2 different brushes
Once you experiment with limiting yourself, you might not entirely feel that it’s your own personal style yet. But it will absolutely come with time. Limits create a home. Boundaries create intimacy. Start with a clear and stable base - you can always expand later. Once you get to know your own limits better, you can adjust them and understand how to work in the space between them. Finding your own style is not a one-time event - it’s an infinite process. Even Van Gogh had periods where he changed his style. I believe it’s impossible to stick with a single style for years.
Don’t be harsh on yourself about finding your own style, because no one actually ever does. Style is not something that you find, it’s something you develop.
If you want to learn more about these topics, I’d recommed you to read my book, View Insights. My book includes tips, strategies, and insights on being a digital artist, finding your style, and growing an audience on social media.
To sum up, I’d say that the entire game is all about exploring the tension between the restrictions you’ve set for yourself and the development of your craft. You should make sure you’re being consistent by setting up restrictions, but also being open to adjust these limits from time to time so you can develop something unique. I hope you’ve found this tip useful and that it made you more confident about the process of finding your style.