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Developing a style

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, May 22, 2020

I recently took on the Sailor Moon Redraw Challenge. I was so excited to pay homage to the series that inspired me to take drawing seriously but most of all, I was curious as to whether or not I had a style. It took many years for me to realise that I had one and it was only when I looked at my recent work did I finally see it. So here are some of the things I did to help me find my style.

I studied my favourite artists/writers!
I listed all the people whose work you like and took note of what it was about them that drew me in such as the detail they put in their characters, how they did the backgrounds or their use of colour and shading. When you begin to understand what it is that you like about your favourite stories you begin to see that reflected in your work.

I reverse engineered their techniques
I took the time to write/draw the features that I liked about their work. If they had sketches or tutorials I would study them to see how they achieved a certain effect and then try to replicate that. This included tracing over their work to get a feel for how they drew a line or coloured pictures and then applied those lessons to my own work. This had the added bonus of fast tracking my practice.

All of the YouTube
I found great shortcuts that helped speed my practice and work along. There are so many awesome tutorials on improving lineart, backgrounds, dialogue, pacing; you name it, YouTube has it! Finding those small ways to improve my work gave me the sense that I was moving forward and accomplishing something.

Get feedback
This was the hardest part. I got into the communities in forums and discord servers and began posting my work for review. The feedback I received really jump started my progress when I reached a slump. Be sure to open yourself up to constructive criticism as a fresh perspective can push you to the next level.

How did you develop 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!
Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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bravo1102 at 1:20AM, May 23, 2020

@hushicho: there are classes one can take to learn all that. In fact it's part of the curriculum in instructor/evaluator training in the US Army as well as part of an After Actions Review in the military.

hushicho at 2:34PM, May 22, 2020

Be sure, too, that you're opening yourself up for CONSTRUCTIVE critique. If it helps, you can frame it by asking the person what they like about your style, or a particular piece of art, and why. It requires much more thought and consideration to create a positive answer. Just saying what you don't like is easy, and it's almost never helpful to an artist. Most people are not good at critique, least of all constructive critique, so that framing can be really important.

Tantz_Aerine at 2:19PM, May 22, 2020

That's a wonderful iteration in your style :) And good prompts for developing it.

Avart at 9:50AM, May 22, 2020

I started drawing my own Simpsons comics, writing mini stories with them (Bart playing soccer and so). Then I was introduced to anime like Saint Seiya and I liked that style a lot. Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon was a reference too, but I go for a more 'realistic' style. I think my style was developed around 1999.

bravo1102 at 9:48AM, May 22, 2020

Don't get me started on wardrobe and costuming.

bravo1102 at 9:42AM, May 22, 2020

I have a chunky, cartoony style because it's easy for me to draw characters consistently. But when I started doing comics I practically created my own medium instead with digitally manipulated photos of 1/6 scale miniatures. It's all very cinematic and that's a result of my college minor in film. Seems I have an eye for frame composition when looking through a lens and blocking everything out with sets and figures as opposed to drawing it. But it's a pain having to come up with a prop as opposed to just researching and sketching it in.

marcorossi at 7:44AM, May 22, 2020

I liked a lot of different comics since I was a kid, mostly italian stuff, but then japanese, and during university I dit read a lot of "indy" american graphic novels. As a consequence, even though I wanted to draw japanese style, I never had a clear idea about what I wanted to do. With time I got to a rather simple pen and paper style, but then I wasn't satisfied by it so I bought a graphic tablet, that made my style change again. So, uh, a lot of bumbling around I suppose.

ShaRose49 at 7:26AM, May 22, 2020

I think I’m only JUST starting to know what my style is and hopefully my art is starting to be more consistent. I took inspiration from everything I liked, went through so many phases, tried everything, and eventually kinda had to make a lot of choices based on what worked for me, like how much detail I had patience for. I also watched a lot of tutorials and read some art books, yep. Also constructive feedback was insanely helpful, because sometimes I had no idea what I was doing wrong.

usedbooks at 4:57AM, May 22, 2020

Accidentally. I wanted to have visuals for my script/story and had no one to draw them. So I attempted a simplified manga style using some manga guides. It didn't come naturally or feel "right" so I slowly allowed it to change to something that fit my personal aesthetics better and was relatively easy to draw repeatedly and show expressions.

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