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Finding your style

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, June 15, 2018

When you look at a developed artist you can recognise their work straight away. Maybe it is in the way that they do their lineart, or it could be the facial expressions that characters have, (think the Dreamworks Smirk), or maybe it is the tropes that they use in their writing that distinguish them as that creator.

Each of us has a unique viewpoint on life and thus, our own style. But how does one establish that in their work?

Well, I hate to say it, but it ultimately comes down to practice. It eventually comes out on its own but I have some tips that helped me realise that I do, in fact, have a style.

Look at your favourite artists/writers!
List out all the people whose work you like and what it is about them that drew you in? Did you like the detail they put in their characters? Was it how they did the backgrounds or was it their use of colour? Could it be the manner in which the characters interact with one another?

When you begin to understand what it is that you like about your favourite stories you begin to see that reflected in your work.

Take some time out to get a sketchbook and write/draw the features that you like about someone’s work. See if they do tutorials on how they do their artworks. You’d be surprised how many are out there showing their tips and tricks to the world. So focus your practice on figuring out how your favourites do their thing! That has the added bonus of fast tracking your practice too! Just be sure you don’t plagerise! That hurts people's feels.

This is a great way to find some shortcuts for your work. You’re gonna need them! There are so many awesome tutorials on improving lineart, backgrounds, dialogue, pacing; you name it, YouTube has it! Finding those small ways to improve your work gives you the sense that you’re moving forward and accomplishing something.

Learn by doing
This is the hardest part. Go forth and spread your creative seed! Get into the communities and begin posting your stuff and do your best to stick to a schedule. By getting into the habit of practicing you will begin to see dividends on your work pretty quickly. Trying to reach a deadline can sometimes bring out unexpected results! Just be sure to not burn yourself out.

How did you find your style? Let us know in the comments below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST). We’ll be following up on this topic so be sure to tune in and give other creators your tips on how you found your style!

Till next time lovelies!



superzentredi at 9:44PM, June 15, 2018

For me I just had to dive in and it literally took me 50 chapters and almost 1000 pages of experimenting to find my unique style. I consider my art style influenced by 2 things: anime (of course) and 80's and 90's cartoons (my childhood of course) I like fast moving witty dialogue and Ive used the Disney Cartoon Kim Possible to influence that. One more thing, I can't write 'small' stories for me it MUST be epic on a grand fantasy scale with little stories woven in to that grand story. Ive only recently started trying to write a small self contained episodic story. Its very hard for me, but I think we should always try things that make us uncomfortable. An example of that is my new comic The Cosmic Star which started with some cringe worthy attempts at sitcom like humour but its getting much better 6 chapters in.

bravo1102 at 10:54AM, June 15, 2018

I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. I had seen others groping in the dark and I knew I could do it better. So I did. Of course it's a style that ranks my stuff as beneath contempt but it is all mine.

KimLuster at 5:19AM, June 15, 2018

Good article! I've never purposefully tried to develop a style, except to keep things rather loose (not so much because I think 'loose' looks better, but because I'm lazy and loose tends to be faster). People that do tight and detailed linework always amaze me! I don't have the patience for it! Now that I've gone digital, my linework looks tighter, but that's just the tools. Were I still traditional it'd be loose.... so so loose!

usedbooks at 4:26AM, June 15, 2018

I started with a how-to-draw manga book. The style didn't come naturally, so it evolved from there. Mostly a "that accidentally looks better" gradual process. Ended up about halfway between manga and the way I drew (ugly) portraits in high school (which also never felt right).

PaulEberhardt at 4:07AM, June 15, 2018

Fun fact: Albert Uderzo (of Astérix fame) is possibly the artist who influenced me most and one with a very distinct style, and in an interview he once said he hardly read any comics while drawing his own - even if he'd have liked to very much - for fear of accidentally nicking stuff. That'd be a bit too extreme for me, but he's got a point.

PaulEberhardt at 4:06AM, June 15, 2018

I don't think you can actually develop a unique style on purpose, but if you want to try, the advice in this post is probably the best you'll ever get. For me it was just practising, practising and practising again, drawing the same characters over and over, just like you do in a comic. In a way, I only did the "learning by doing" part, skipping all the others. Of course I had a lot of influences, but I didn't think about that consciously until much later. In fact, it's probably better not to focus too much on them, lest they influence you too much. It's the reason why I even decided against taking art classes, no matter how useful they might be, technically. Call me silly or pigheaded or whatever, but much of the fun for me is in finding out things on my own. The funny thing is, I didn't even realise I developed a recognisable style until my readers told me ("The drawing style is unlike any I have ever seen", to quote one, talking about my comic on DA).

Ironscarf at 4:04AM, June 15, 2018

Interesting post. I'm always amazed by artists who arrive with a fully formed and recognisable style. I try to remain consistent within a single project but for the next, I don't want to be constrained by that. It could be more cartoony or less so, it could be full colour or even fully painted. Will I draw noses the same way? Should I make everything more angular, or go curvy? In my mind, I'm looking for a way to draw that enhances the story I want to tell. Others will undoubtedly look and think "but this is exactly the same as the last one!". I would think it's almost impossible to conceal your own developing style, so do everything Emma_Clare suggests and best of all, keep trying new things.

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