How to Develop your Own Unique Artistic Style

How to Develop your Own Unique Artistic Style

31st July 2017 IN Blog

As with anyone who writes various blogs about any subject, in this case art, or has a social media presence you will open yourself up lots of interaction from fans who usually leave kind comments, ask different questions or requests of advice to help them on their way with their own artistic journey.

One question that I receive quite often relates to my choice of style – how did I ‘develop’ my own style of painting and how can any artist find their own unique way of painting or illustrating to help them stand out from a very large crowd of other talented artists.

Influential Artists

The answer is quite complex - any artist’s style is something that slowly develops and changes over time. I think for me, like many other artists we have our own favourite illustrators or fine art painters that we enjoy and have followed for a long time. I know for me, that I was inspired by various children’s book illustrators along the way, such as Raymond Briggs, Beatrix Potter, A. A. Milne and so on. Notice how I say ‘Inspired’ rather than ‘influenced’ – I never try to copy the artistic style or work of another artist per se, but I am inspired by the feelings and emotion that the artist portrays via the characters that they have developed and the scenes which they create, and it is this that I try to produce in my own work rather than mimic a similar style.

Essentially, I want to create my own unique style of Children’s Book Illustration that isn’t directly comparable to the work of others. I love a hand-crafted feel to my paintings – I don’t want super-straight lines and perfect colouring. I don’t want every inch of the paper covered in paint. I like to let the medium that I use (usually watercolour) do its own thing on the paper. So if you compare my work to others it will inevitably have its own ‘feeling’ and hopefully ‘life’ to it.

Essentially, I want to create my own unique style of Children’s Book Illustration that isn’t directly comparable to the work of others. I love a hand-crafted feel to my paintings – I don’t want super-straight lines and perfect colouring. I don’t want every inch of the paper covered in paint. I like to let the medium that I use (usually watercolour) do its own thing on the paper. So if you compare my work to others it will inevitably have its own ‘feeling’ and hopefully ‘life’ to it.

Kris Miners Whimsical Folk Art Style of Painting

I think with my style, you will either like it, or you won’t. Many people want to see the modern, almost flat style of digital creation or something very ‘cartoony’ in nature. My paintings and drawings are purposely left a little rough around the edges and are sometimes painted onto exceptionally rough surfaces to give them more of an atmosphere. My characters too are left this way – I purposely don’t draw or paint anything overly cartoony – I try to adopt a half way approach between cartoon and realism in many cases. I do this in several ways, but usually by adding a little texture to an otherwise cartoon-like presence, or use wavy and imperfect lines to give them a little more soul. I suppose a good, but rather strange analogy would be to be the comparison of a pair of new gardening boots compared to an old and well-worn pair with a certain personality and charm about them – old boots offer a story and appearance of a well-lived life. New boots are generic, flat and lifeless.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way taking anything away from artists who use digital means to create their art – it’s fantastic how far digital imagery has come in recent years and some of the artists that utilise these modern techniques are fantastic at what they do – but it’s just not for me personally. Give me a dodgy old dip pen and bottle of ink over a graphics tablet any day of the week! I wouldn’t know what to do with a graphics tablet anyway to be honest!

So, to develop your own unique style – there are several things that help. First of all focus on the type of art that you enjoy looking at and build your own creations from the inspiration it provides, but not by copying it directly. You can do this with your own choice of medium, digital art, pencils and crayons or inks and acrylics, etc. You may find that you begin to produce the kind of work that you’ve always wanted right away, or, like me, you may find that it takes many years and your style and it changes as you go, and it most likely will.

I found that my choice of medium has changed several times over the years and also the way in which I use them. As an example, I used to only use graphite pencil to create anything as I couldn’t get on at all with watercolours - my early work is horrific! But I always knew that it was watercolour that I wanted to work with as I loved the subtle and slightly unpredictable results that could be achieved with it. I persevered for a long time and eventually mastered watercolour to the level that I need for the type of work that I want to create – don’t get me wrong, I’m FAR from a watercolour master, I just do my own thing and see what happens. I’m never 100% happy with my finished work, but if I enjoyed creating it and it has a feeling, be that a happy theme, a cold day or even a sad tone, then I’m relatively happy with my end result – it just needs to say what I want it to without words.

As well as watercolour, I like to mix in a few other mediums too, such as ink, coloured pencil, etc. I’m completely self-taught with all of my art and I find myself still experimenting with different mediums all of the time. Most of my work utilises black ink lines which are then filled with colour, but at the moment I’m finding that more and more my paintings are beginning to take a new turn and I’m now relying on the watercolour itself to produce the lines and edges of my work rather than Indian ink.

Mastering your own style of art is just a case of perseverance with the medium that you choose to use and practise, practise, practise and a little more practise until eventually you naturally build up your own unique style, and after a while people can generally tell who created it without even looking for the signature.

Good luck and feel free to head over to my Facebook page and send some of your work to me – it’s always great hear from you!

Halloween Illustration

COMMENTS

Be the first to post

LEAVE A COMMENT