Art Q&A: How to Find and Develop your own Artistic Style

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By Dan in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

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Question: How do you find your own style, without adopting the style of your teachers? -Karrie

The question of style is an interesting one, Karrie, because most of the time an artist’s style is really just the defects, faults, or quirks that come with his or her personality and skill level.

Many people would also lump “style” in with “subject matter.” They’d consider Thomas Kinkade’s style to have something to do with houses. But of course that’s not the case. You can paint both dogs or houses in the same style, and lots of artists do.

When you study under someone, you’ll probably paint using the same process as they do, with the same brushes or sizes of canvas—even the same color palettes. So yes, it’s easy to pick up your teacher’s “style.”

But the way around this is to look for the unique aspects in your own art—and at first it will definitely be the flaws, or the things you think aren’t quite right. Maybe your perspective is a little strange, or you tend to create extra dark shadows. . . anything.

Then think about whether you’d like to emphasize that aspect of your work, or eliminate it.

As you grow more familiar with painting in general, you’ll see additional character traits in your own art and can weed out what you dislike while emphasizing the things that you find interesting.

I’d also suggest studying up on art history, since you’ll probably find certain methods of painting, color combinations, etc, from artists in the past that you’ll want to gravitate towards.

Your artistic style will constantly evolve, and of course there’s no right or wrong style to have.

As long as you understand your own work, and expand upon the things that make you unique, you’ll be ahead of the game.

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