how to define your art style 2

This seems obvious, but really, look at that which you find creative, inspiring and look extra hard that the things that take your breath away. If you’re only looking at one artist, you’re probably doing it wrong. We human beings are really good at being sponges to the world around us, and most of our opinions, ideas and perspectives are composites of the things we engage with on a daily basis.

Apply this thinking to your art as well, and use these composites to help you narrow down what you would like your output to look like.

Let me illustrate by example. I love Phil Jimenez’s severe and distinct line work, but I also love Peach Momoko’s subtle and feminine colours. Combine that with Tessa Wessel’s light mastery and the serene, simplistic environments of Moebius and we have something to work with and work toward.

how to define your art style 3

Characters are super fun to draw. Let’s start there.

You can define their body shape, height, hairstyle and then add various visual elements to make up and communicate their character to viewers and readers alike. It’s an extremely creative and inspired process, and it challenges you to create something specific and personal.

However, for a lot of us, our style explorations stop there when in reality it is only the beginning.

Drawing and developing a character is a great way to launch the foray into exploring your style and how it can look and feel but it’s super important to flex those muscles elsewhere too.

Think about your style in terms of:

  • How does your style influence colour and texture?
  • How do environments look when drawn in your style?
  • Do you have a specific way of drawing faces? Belt buckles? Guns?
  • Does your style have any constraints or things that are to be repeated?

Think about hooooooow you draw instead of whaaaaaaat you draw. It heeeeeeeelws!

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Speaking of colour, here’s a biggie.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Deep, huh? What I mean is, essentially, you have every colour at your disposal thanks to the wonderful ways of the colour wheel. However, using every single one of them all the time is probably not the best idea if you’re trying to narrow down your specific style and create a vibe that is intrinsic to you and your practice.

Think about what colour means to your art, and how you use it.

Are you trying to evoke dark or mysterious feelings regarding your elusive shadow witch or do you want people to feel happy and energised when gazing upon your snappy little frog knights?

Colour is, in my humble opinion, a super tricky thing to figure out and get right. Once I was trying to draw a mountain scene that closely resembled another one I had stumbled across on the internet and only after about an hour did I realise it looked so way off because I had been painting the mountains green instead of purple.

Perhaps that was a rookie error, but the lesson still rings true. Colour is important and a potentially powerful way for you to distinguish your art.

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This is a bit of a thinker but bear with me.

Your art, and subsequently your art style, isn’t static.

I mean it can be if you only use it as such, which is once again you need to get away from the character sheet and onto other realms that require your attention. Drawing things in situ can help you express and define your style in a way that ensures that it accommodates and contributes to the things you’d like to draw, not detract from it.

Try conjuring up some cool scenes or situations that you think would look dope or that you feel like drawing and see if you can create some unity or cohesion between them in terms of style. Try to also make them vastly different from one another for a challenge.

Let me know if these help and if there’s a particular topic you’d like me to discuss :)

- Dante Ludolf