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  • Writer's pictureJules

Finding my artistic style

As in my previous post, I spent quite some time trying to work out what it was that I needed to do in order to find my unique artistic style, or my voice. On this journey (which I am still travelling!) I found it helpful to compare it to the process for learning a new language. I've written the general steps below, as they have been (and are still) for me, in getting from basic art through to more expressive art.

Whatever stage of the journey you feel you are on, I hope this might be helpful for you too. The steps may also appear in a slightly different order for different people, but generally they move in the same direction - from simple to more complex.

1) Gather elements that are commonly used; the building blocks

In language this looks like:

Most frequently used words, like hello, goodbye or thank you

In art this looks like:

How you’d draw a tree, a flower or sun. How you move a line on a page

2) Chunking; putting essential elements together

In language this looks like:

Learning the standard phrases - Where is the train station? Can you help me, please?

In art this looks like:

Learning that trees have a certain shape that is recognisable, sky usually at the top in blue, grass green at the bottom. Representational art and things in the right proportion. The construction process of recreating what you see.

Child's drawing of a house
One of my earliest pictures. Typical shapes for the house and the flowers.

3) What are you exposed to? What floats your boat? Where do you look for your sources? Research.

In language this looks like:

Listening to other people talking, to get turns of phrases and fluency, enunciation and pronunciation. Often it is easier to understand what someone is saying to you, than trying to talk to them.

In art this looks like:

Looking to what attracts your eye, what draws you in. Super realistic, or complete abstract? High colour or muted tones? What art speaks to you?

4) Construction; using the building blocks to create something more complex

In language this looks like:

How to build a sentence, that makes sense to someone else speaking the same language.

In art this looks like:

How to construct a meaningful composition that flows the eye round a picture. Using the edges, scale and positioning.

Tiny house painting with a big storm
Using the movement of the clouds to move the eye around the picture.

5) The power of thought articulated

In language this looks like:

Convey emotions and esoteric thoughts, through poetry, humour and abstract concepts and stories.

In art this looks like:

Moving from representational art to nuanced art that tells more of the story or playing with colours that evoke emotion rather than realistic renderings. Suggestion through line, colour and composition of underlying meaning.

Allegory: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.

Palm frond painting
The suggestion of trees using shape and line (semi-abstract). Using colour to highlight mood and composition.

6) Different ways of communicating will influence what is expressed

In language this looks like:

Reading, listening and talking in a language all have different structures and nuances, flows and patterns.

In art this looks like:

Working with different materials or with different mediums affects how you can express yourself (pencil vs oil paint vs sculpture).

Each one of these Porsche pictures is done in a different medium (digital pencil, acrylic impasto, vector logo). These give them all a very different feel to each other.

7) Differences in expression appeals to different people and cultures

In language this looks like:

Won’t appeal to everyone - Queen’s English or vernacular or colloquialisms. Tailoring it to appeal to your audience, and what they will respond to best.

In art this looks like:

Peaceful art that is whimsical, or loud aggressive art that is making a statement. Concept art tends to be created as an art installation, using materials we are familiar with but challenging their interpretation. Challenging its affordance (the qualities or properties of an object that define its possible uses or make clear how it can or should be used)

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