How to find your art style

You don’t like your drawing style, it doesn’t satisfy you anymore and you don’t know how to improve it. Or you’re afraid that the audience will not like it and your drawings won’t sell. These artistic blocks can be overcome very easily if you face them with the right approach.

What is the art style

Every artist will give you a different explanation, technical or poetic style of design, about what is the art style. But I want to stick to the objective definition because we will need it soon:

The design style is the set of details which makes the artist recognizable through his works.

Think about it. Both the greats of the past and your favorite artists have a unique style, you just need a glance to recognize the author even without reading the signature.

Moreover, the style changes and evolves from time to time, as the artist lives and accumulates artistic and life experiences.

What is the use of having a design style?

I would like to immediately dispel a false myth very common among young artists: in some areas having your own art style is useless. In fact, it can be harmful because it precludes you some opportunities in which otherwise you could make a career.

Refining your own art style is only useful if:

  • you pursue a purely artistic career, in which selling is a secondary aspect;
  • you want to specialize in a specific niche, for example American comics or certain kinds of manga;
  • you aim for a style that, in addition to being “your signature”, is also extremely versatile and saleable.

Why having more than one art style

Although you will put your own in each drawing, mastering different styles of drawing or illustration will allow you to range over different tasks and sectors, greatly widening the range of your work possibilities.

In addition, you can choose or recommend to the customer the most suitable style for each artistic project you work on.

Of course one thing does not exclude the other: you can work out your own style and at the same time get used to drawing in other styles.

How to find your own design style

Study the basics

I know you do not like it as a 1 point, and yet it will make the next steps a lot easier.

As I have already explained about learning to draw manga proportions, without knowing the basics you will not be able to understand why your favorite artist has drawn that line or mixed the colors in a certain way.

Before you even worry about the style of drawing, worry about learning to draw well: anatomy, proportions, perspective, etc.

Collect the sources

Collect images and examples of your favorite artists and authors, or create a collection of details of which you appreciate the performance and the final effect.

If you can, try to group them by types of products (eg comics, manga, illustrations, painting, etc.) or professional areas that interest you (eg images for video games).

Assimilate the details

Train yourself to reproduce the details by integrating them into your drawings.

Or, you can reproduce a number of drawings of your favorite artist, without copying them, until it becomes natural to you. For example, try drawing the same characters in the same style, but in different poses.

That’s why at the beginning I recommended you to master the basics of drawing first, so you will not have to worry about it while focusing on style exercises.

Do not imitate, be yourself

Remember that your style is your signature. Do not try to imitate your favorite artist. Let yourself create a unique mix with your personal artistic imprint.

After all, drawing is a way of communicating and you have to do it with your own voice, not with someone else’s.

Finally, remember that your style is not just your signature, but also your story. Let it evolve and change without forcing it. One day, looking back, you will find all the stages of your artistic journey.

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Francesca Urbinati Artist

Francesca Urbinati

Sono illustratrice e fumettista freelance. Ho lavorato su effetti speciali 3D, graphic design e multimedia per RAI, Mediaset, Adobe, ArtOrder LLC, Studio Hamburg, MoveTheGame e molti altri. Pubblico la serie a fumetti Niki Batsprite e aiuto altri artisti e autori a emergere.
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