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How to Find your Signature Style

Hello friends!

If you’re an artist that is trying to find their own signature style, you might be wondering about how to achieve this and maybe your lack of distinct style stresses you out.

This is one of the most common things that I hear, especially from beginning artists, and it’s always something that fascinates me.

A lot of teachers talk about finding YOUR style and how important it is for your brand to have a distinct voice, but how can one achieve this?

Well, the answer might not be as straightforward as you might think, but it’s also not as complicated as it sounds!

Before I talk in detail about steps that you can take to achieve your art style, it’s important to mention that there are no “rules” for this. The steps below are personal tips that helped me when I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say with my art, but it’s by no means a rigid guide that will definitely lead you to glory. It’s first and foremost a path of exploration and introspection of you as an artist, which then translates to your art in the long run. So let’s dive in!

Draw from your own personal experiences and interests

Your voice is unique because of… well… you! This might sound very obvious, but so many artists try to find their voice by exclusively imitating others. While it’s true that taking inspiration from other artists can be beneficial to your own artistic journey, you also have to remember that your art is what it is because of your own personal view on life, what you experience, what you enjoy or dislike.

Everything that surrounds you influences who you are, and the same applies to your art. So instead of trying to find the next trendy thing to paint or to copy the most famous artists out there, take a moment to think about what it is that you like. What made you pursue art in the first place? What do you want to express and bring to this world?

The more enjoyment you get out of drawing what you personally love and feel close to, the better the outcome, trust me. This is a struggle that I had at the beginning of my career, I was trying to make art that the market wanted, instead of focusing on what I personally loved and related to. And the art that came out of it was not my best. I took no enjoyment in painting these themes and I was dreading another day having to paint something that I didn’t like. Once I took some time to introspect and really think about what I wanted to draw and say with my art, I noticed a great shift in the subjects that I chose.

I’ve always loved painting whimsical settings with animals, and this is mainly what you will see in my pattern portfolio. Because I have my own way of depicting these scenes, my patterns have their own unique voice that showcase my way of seeing things. That is what the foundation of my art style is, and that is the same process for yours! It will also make you stand out against the crowd of similar artists that draw and paint the same way. Don’t be afraid to try different things and see what comes out of it!

Think about what you would personally buy as a customer

Another tip is to think about what you would personally purchase if you were buying a product with pattern design elements on it. Do you like bold colors? Are you more attracted to realistic patterns or more graphic ones? Do you have a tendency to purchase nautical-themed patterns or maybe you love florals? Whatever your interests are, they are a great source of inspiration as your own preferences will greatly influence your work.

A lot of business owners, when asked about who their target customer is, reference themselves as the key customer. They usually experienced a gap in the market, where they couldn’t find what they specifically wanted, and built a business on trying to fill that gap. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the case in your business, but it can be a great starting point when trying to figure out your target customer.

Draw inspiration from artists that you love and admire (but don’t plagiarize!)

Finding inspiration from other artists that you love is a great source of inspiration. Analyze their art, what is it that you especially like from their art? Can you find a way to incorporate these elements into the way that you design? You can even do master studies of their work to see how they think when they design. But make sure that these copies are for your own personal learning and never find themselves on a POD website, you definitely don’t want to copy another artist’s work and sell a close derivative of their work!

Final thoughts

    A personal style is a blend of your own preferences, inspirations and experiences. There is no quick way to achieve this, it takes years of development and it really just comes down to honing your skills as an artist. The more I paint, the more I realize what I like in my designs and what I don’t like. Whatever I’m not happy with, I try and find a way to change it to suit my personal taste.

    As I grow as an artist, my taste in art changes and it translates into my work as a result of this constant journey. With that being said, don’t feel too restricted in staying loyal to only one style. Explore different avenues, draw completely differently to what you normally would. Keep a sketchbook where you experiment with different techniques, subjects, etc. You don’t have to show the world everything that you create, and by having a sketchbook where you allow yourself to try anything you want, you can take off the pressure of having to create great art and just have fun with it. You never know what might come out of it!

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