Hands down, the question I get asked most frequently is about how I’ve managed to develop my own signature style. I tend to chuckle a little at that. Funny, I can "see" the style of others, but am so unsure of my own.
Having a style that’s “yours” can be an empowering thing. tweet that! It can make you feel like a more established and authentic artist. It can also help other people recognize your work in an instant - which is really helpful if you’re hoping to build a business from your creative efforts.
I want to start out by saying you can’t force a style to emerge overnight. Allowing it to develop over time is all part of the creative adventure.
When I look back at how my style has evolved over the years, it is clear that it definitely changes, grows and emerges over time. I used to work with a lot of warm colors and now I use bold, bright color.
Having said that, I do have a few tactics to help you tap into your style with a little more ease:
Step away from all the visual inspiration.
Stop mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, stop pinning, stop watching endless Youtube tutorials, stop taking workshops. Not indefinitely, just for a little while.
When you’re constantly seeing other people’s art, elements of their work will creep into yours without you even realizing. Clear your space of all the noise, grab the supplies that make your heart sing and allow your creative vision to emerge.
Look back through your old artwork.
See if this sparks anything. It’s the easiest way to reignite your old creative passions. Sometimes I take old projects and paint over them or cut them up and use them in brand new projects.
Follow your instincts.
Make it a regular practice to pull out a blank sheet of paper and just start creating. No rules, no plans, just your own creative whims.
Take note of your personal tastes.
Look at what you’re naturally drawn to. This could be favorite colors and textures, it could be supplies, it could be techniques… ultimately these elements will form part of your signature.
I try to break out of the norm and try new colors and supplies, but I end up being pulled back to what I love and find especially satisfying.
Reinterpret creative lessons.
When you do take workshops and watch tutorials, don’t be afraid to deviate from the lesson plan and follow your muse instead. For example, in my Pop-Up Fringe Journal workshop, I give my students printable collage sheets to use as journal covers, but you could absolutely use your own painted papers.
Most importantly, don’t forget that your eyes may not always see a signature. Sometimes it takes someone else to show you that you already have a recognizable style. Ask a cherished friend to flip through your art journal and see for yourself!
I hope these tips have helped you see that developing a creative style doesn’t need to be such an uncertain process, nor does it need to be all-consuming. It will happen naturally over time, so just sit back and enjoy your creative play!
Have a blessed day.