Many famous artists have created extremely recognizable works of art.
You would probably recognize one of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches or a bright and textured Van Gogh painting as soon as you saw them
But the works of famous artists aren’t just familiar because they are famous. Each of these artists has a unique style that they developed throughout their artistic journey.
But how do you find your own art style when you are just starting out?
You probably want to find one as soon as possible.
Reading this article will help you find a personal art style in 7 easy steps!
What defines an art style?
An art style is defined by the techniques used, the choice of color, and the choice of medium. If you develop your personal art style, any piece of work you make will instantly be recognized as yours.
It may seem daunting, but any artist can develop a style. Drawing in a specific style is not a necessary step in becoming an artist, as it often happens naturally over a long period.
But thoughtfully developing a unique style can help you gain an audience. Typically, internet audiences prefer consistency, and posting art in a consistent style can help you build a fan base and sell your work.
Can I steal or copy an art style?
If you are still trying to find your personal art style it’s totally fine to try and copy someone else’s art style for practice.
Artists of old would copy the art of the masters in order to improve their skills, and you can do the same in your personal work.
When working from references, be sure to pay extra attention to the elements that you like and try to incorporate them into your own style.
Copying specific parts of a work that you enjoy is much more effective than trying to blindly copy the entire piece.
However, keep in mind that copies should be reserved for your sketchbook or private portfolio.
Stealing an art style is very different from copying it.
You should never intentionally make a piece that you create to look like someone else’s work with the intent to sell it.
You probably heard the following quote before:
Good artists copy, Great artists steal.
But “steal” in this context means to use someone else’s work as inspiration or starting point for your own creative process.
Outright stealing someone’s art style is unethical and may violate the original creator’s copyright.
Moreover, if you simply copy and paste someone else’s work, you will be missing out on many of the benefits of making art.
Can you have multiple art styles?
You can have more than one art style. There is no rule to art, and that’s the best thing about it.
You should never feel pigeon-holed into one style or medium. And your style is free to change and grow as you do.
You can draw in an anime style, an abstract style, and a realistic style, all as often as you like.
Use the style that best suits the vision in your head that you have for your artwork.
7 Steps to finding your art style
1. Find artists you admire
Many artists have peers that they admire and whose styles they find inspiring. Before trying to find your own art style, try finding two or three other artists with an art style you like.
It’s helpful if the art is the same art medium that you prefer, but it doesn’t have to be. You can draw influences from animated TV shows or movies, or even sculptural works.
Create a mood-board on Pinterest, or by using a drawing program, that showcases these artists. Keep this mood-board open while you work and use it for inspiration and study when practicing your own style.
2. Find works that you admire
You can take your study one step further and pick out specific works from your favorite artists. They should be art pieces that you think represent the style you want to have in your own art.
Decide on the themes from these pieces that you enjoy. Is it the moody lighting? The bold, smooth outlines? Or the delicate addition of detail?
Take notes on the things about each piece that you like best, and take time to incorporate those elements into each new art piece that you create.
3. Practice, practice, practice!
“Just practice!” is the universal advice that all artists have heard, but that’s because it is the truth. You can practice drawing in a specific art style just like you can practice any other technique or skill.
You don’t have to constantly produce finished paintings in order to practice – thumbnails or sketches work well to nail down concepts that you would like to improve. Always use references while you practice, and know that it is just that: practice.
Take the pressure off of yourself and remember that mistakes are part of how you improve and evolve. Not every piece needs to be perfect, but every new piece of art you create will help you grow as an artist.
If you are having a hard time staying motivated, doing an art challenge such as the 100 heads challenge might give you the extra boost you might need.
4. Be willing to change
As you create more artwork, you may find that the style you’ve been using is growing stale or that you’re interested in something else.
Always go with your instinct!
Never be afraid to break away from a style you’ve been using for a long time. As stated above, you can have multiple different art styles that suit your various projects.
But any art style will change as your tastes evolve and your skills improve. A style that you might have once thought was unobtainable can suddenly become something you’re really interested in trying.
Never be afraid to break the mold once in a while.
5. Piece elements of different styles together
A creative way to find a style that suits you is to tie different elements of different styles together into your own unique vision.
As mentioned above, it’s often not advisable to copy one other artist’s work blindly.
Think about what direction you want to go with your art style, and thoughtfully include elements that you think will help you move in that direction.
Always feel free to explore other artists that aren’t direct influences on your work.
6. Experiment with medium and color
Just like you shouldn’t feel restricted to one style, you shouldn’t feel tied to only using one medium either!
Mixed media art requires a wide range of skills, but it often pays off with stunning results. Some of the best artists use different media in surprising ways, and that alone gives their work a signature style.
Will you combine watercolor and acrylics? Copic markers and ink? What about scanning your traditional art and adding some digital touches?
The possibilities are endless, and finding the right combination can spark inspiration and make your work unique.
7. Share your work
It can be scary to put your work out there, but the feedback that you get from the art community can help you take your artwork to the next level.
Posting your art on social media or art sharing websites can help other artists provide feedback while also helping you build a trusted community. Sharing your work can allow you to see the piece through new eyes and help you grow as you tackle new projects.
Sharing your work can open you up to a whole new world of artistic styles, as it allows you to discuss methods with other artists and ask questions.
Maybe you’ve been struggling with the perspective on a piece, or you just can’t get that arm to look quite right. Sharing your works in progress and asking for help can take some of the pressure off of you and give other artists a chance to share what they know.
It helps build trust, build community, and can ultimately help you develop a strong and more recognizable art style.
Once you have perfected your art style, there are many ways you can try to sell your art online and make a nice side income.