Simple Art Tip #6: Don't Worry About Style

When I started getting serious about drawing, I would look at my favorite artists’ work on Deviantart and think to myself “Man, I wish I had a cool style like them.” I would do my best to emulate their style and hope that it would look different enough from theirs so that nobody would catch my bluff. The trouble was that while I could fool others into thinking I was being original, I couldn’t fool myself. I knew what I was doing wasn’t right and it made me feel ashamed and unfulfilled as an artist. I was so focused on having a style that I put all my energy into that instead of focusing on bettering my basic drawing skills. 

Some artists like Loish have very recognizable styles that are so unique, others can’t help but want to emulate them. The problem with this emulate-others mindset is that instead of doing work that makes you a better artist, you’re focusing on creating work that will look a certain way. 

You might like the instant gratification of creating something that looks like one of your favorite artists’ work. I mean, it looks pretty and you created it! But if you’re serious about being an artist, copying other’s styles shouldn’t be enough for you. As an artist, you should aspire to create things that look like they were made by you, not by someone else. 

Don’t you want to create something that is uniquely you? Don’t you want to be able to look at your work and say with pride that nobody else’s work looks quite like yours?

The way to get there is to NOT worry about it. 

Don’t worry about “having” a style. Style is something that’s already in you and it’ll develop over time. Here’s an analogy: you know how babies are born without teeth? Parents don’t worry about making the baby’s teeth come out. They know that the baby’s teeth are already there and that they’ll eventually come out naturally.

So don’t pull your teeth! Instead, focus on learning, practicing, and having fun. This is especially important when you’re a beginner. Don’t put the pressure of having a style on yourself. Be open minded. Experimenting is the most important part of learning and growing as an artist. It’s okay if you fail. The whole point is to learn!

Here are some things you can do to learn and practice (without worrying about style):

-Draw/paint from life

-Draw/paint self-portraits (use a mirror-it’s tougher than you think!)

-Make master copies 

-Experiment with different mediums

-Accumulate references

-Learn about art history (go to the library and look at some books)

-Practice drawing things you’re not very good at

Don’t worry about posting these things online. It puts pressure on you to create something that looks good, instead of making an honest attempt at learning something new. It’s okay if you spend less time online while you experiment and practice. It’ll make you a better artist in the long run. Plus, you should learn not to need outside validation to feel accomplished. The best way to get people to like what you create is to be the best that you can be and that takes time.

Does this sound reasonable? Let me know what you think.