I’ve heard a lot of young artists say that they don’t have an art style.
They treat it as if it’s this THING. This thing that constantly eludes their grasp.
So I’ll let you in on the secret to finding your art style.
How You Draw Right Now IS Your Art Style
Long ago I heard a quote saying, “What you draw wrong, is your style.”
That’s what an art style is, drawing something “wrong” but it looks good.
Your style will always be changing.
As you get stronger at the fundamentals. When you find new artists that you like and get influenced by. As you find shortcuts to get similar results faster.
That being said, however.
You Can DEVELOP Your Style
So how does one do that?
Let us go through all the ways that YOU, the beloved reader, CAN DEVELOP THEIR ART STYLE!
- Practice Using Construction – Construction is used to draw complex characters or objects, using simplified shapes like spheres and cylinders. This is an important skill in drawing as it trains your eyes and mind to break down things you see as simplified shapes that you can combine to recreate them from imagination from any angle.
- Understand Proportions – Knowing proportions is the skill to be able to know how big or small something should be in comparison and where it should be placed in relation to adjacent elements in the drawing. For example, knowing that the hand is as long as the face, etc.
- Learn Perspective – Learning perspective will help you to better understand foreshortening and to draw multiple characters in an environment in relation to each other much easier than having to trial and error until it looks right.
- Study Your Influences – Using construction, proportion, and perspective; study artwork by artists that you enjoy. Break down their figures into basic shapes, try to reverse engineer their process and try to figure out how they got from point A to point Z. Do gestures of the characters poses. Copy the characters using construction. Either by looking, or even by tracing, figure out where they placed the horizon and where the vanishing points are. If you’re studying their colors, try to eyeball making the same color (traditionally or digitally) and then compare (this is much easier to compare digitally).
- Learn Anatomy – This one doesn’t apply to all styles. Super stylized and cartoony art may simply not require any anatomy knowledge to draw. But if you want any semblance to real life, then it can be very useful to learn some anatomy. You don’t need to know all the muscles and their names. You don’t need to be able to draw every bone from every angle. Well, unless you’re drawing an anatomy book or drawing skeletons and cadavers. But, for everything else you mainly just need to know how the muscles push and pull each other and landmark details. Landmark details being things like the collar bone, shoulder blades, etc. You’ll also understand how your influences simplified the real thing into their own art.
- Apply What You Learn – This is probably the most important thing. Studying without applying what you learn is a trap that I see a lot of young artists fall into. They’ll refuse to do original pieces of art because, “they don’t know anatomy” or “they don’t know perspective” or they “can’t draw X.” Don’t fall into this trap. Apply what you learn by drawing things from your imagination. If you study how to draw legs but can’t draw a character with legs afterwards, you’ll know you need to go back and work on legs more. Create a project of some sort for yourself. Be it creating new characters. Drawing a short comic. Something. Just make sure it has a definite end to it so that you can see it to completion. As you do this project you will find parts that you’re struggling with, let this inform you on what you need to practice. Hair coming out bad? Study hair. Having trouble thinking up clothes for the characters to wear? Study fashion. You’ll improve AND have stuff to show for it!
That being said, I also recommend you listen to this short clip by Ira Glass.
Now go create something original, and then make it better.