Hey guys, welcome to Kyle Heath Art!
Today I'm going to talk about how to find your own unique artistic style, and if you watch the video, as I talk you'll see me create a stylistic piece that I was pretty happy with!
Many of us have sat around looking at a blank piece of paper and thought, "what can I do that's unique to me, that isn't copying anyone else?"
We'll think and think about it, and usually we're discouraged in the end that we haven't come up with something new.
This kind of process usually leaves us feeling that we just may not have it in us to be different and have a unique style...but I'm here to tell you that you ARE unique, and maybe you just need to go about finding your unique artistic voice in a different way!
First Off, What Is Style?
I'm gonna use the word style and creativity interchangeably throughout this, because I believe creativity is the key to finding a style that's unique.
So let's define what creativity is. Creativity is connecting together two existing ideas to make something totally new.
This definition is going to be the basis for everything that I have to say about finding your own artistic style. We tend to think of an original unique idea as just sprouting up out of nowhere, but really originality comes when we make these connections that have never been made before.
Think about the Unicorn.
One day, a guy was thinking about horses and thought, "but what if it had a horn like a narwhal?" and then the unicorn was born!
There's no such thing as an original idea that's unconnected to anything before it. Our ideas are standing on the shoulders of giants. That's a phrase that Isaac Newton popularized, and what it means is that ideas and discoveries build off of each other.
The older ideas are the reason the newer ones exist. And that's why creative fields tend to advance and evolve over time.
So What Does This Have to Do With Painting?
Let's think about this in terms of painting. Let's look back to around the time of the Impressionists. Before the Impressionists, everyone was interested in fine details and religious themes.
Then people like Monet came around and said, "what if instead of focusing on realism, we concern ourselves with creating the general impression of light?"
So as a revolt against the realism, Impressionism came to be. And this happens over and over again.
If you look at post-impressionism, you see that people like van Gogh looked at the Impressionists and thought, "but what if we abstracted the painting into a bunch of different shapes?"
So these new, creative, unique artistic styles couldn't have existed without the styles that came before them. Creativity comes from combining together existing ideas.
4 Tips to Develop Your Artistic Style
So with that idea in mind, I'm going to give you four tips for how you can find your artistic style.
1. Consume a lot of diverse art
This is the easiest step, and it's the most important one.
If our creativity is a combination of our experiences, then the most important thing we can do for creativity is to experience a lot!
Think about this in terms of cooking. If we were asked to make a smorgasbord of desserts, but we don't have anything in the pantry to cook with, we're not going to be able to make something delicious.
But if we fill up our kitchen with all kinds of ingredients: eggs, flour, butter, then the sky's the limit to what we can create!
So don't sit down to cook up some art with an empty pantry. Find all kinds of artists that you love, and constantly expose yourself to new great art. It's never been easier now that we have social mediums like Instagram.
Also don't limit yourself to one single art Idol. I know it's human nature for us to geek out over one successful artist, and you obsess over them.
(my current obsession, Teddi Parker's art)
So fine. Obsess away. But also make sure you're engaging with other art as well.
And one more thing about this: also try to engage with art that you aren't naturally drawn to.
I know we like what we like, but you may find over time that you develop a taste for something new--kind of like how I started loving sushi when I turned 13.
These unusual art influences--the really different ones--are where the real magic of your unique style will start to develop. Van Gogh's style would have never come about if he didn't develop a fascination with traditional Japanese prints.
2. Have a goal each time you create art
When you sit down to make art, have one thing in mind that you want to try that you've never done before.
Now that's one thing, not ten things. So put a sticky note in front of you if you need help focusing on one.
It could be to use a different color paint this time, or doing your under painting in charcoal, or using a flat brush instead of a round, or using only straight lines instead of curvy ones--whatever!
The important thing is to choose one different thing each time you create art. this will naturally create Eureka moments because you're tweaking your style in tiny ways every time you sit down.
3. Create a lot of art
When you're mixing it up every time you create, you're inevitably going to crash and burn with some of your pieces. Maybe even most of them.
Be proud of every failed painting you make. It's a sign that you're an experimenter, a Discoverer, a Christopher Columbus of art making!
The best way to nurture this mindset is to create art as often as possible--maybe even finishing a piece every day.
Rather than tweak a single piece of art into oblivion over weeks or months, finish a small 6x6 painting every day. Paint faster. Put in less detail. And most importantly, be less precious about the art you create.
Your art will thrive when you stop being an overprotective mother hen over every single thing that comes out of your paint brush!
Finish new pieces daily so you aren't scared to experiment.
4. Do master studies
This one may surprise you, but what I mean by master studies is that you should copy the work of the artists you love.
Here's what I mean: find a piece from an artist you love, and decide what you like about it.
Is it the way it's arranged? Or how the lights and darks stand out? Or how chunky the brushstrokes are?
Now try to make a direct copy of this piece, with a sticky note in front of you of the main thing you like about it. Try to put yourself in this artist's shoes, and dissect their technique.
Now it goes without saying that you don't present this copy as your own work, and you don't try to sell it. This is study time.
Also do this with numerous artists so that you absorb all kinds of styles and perspectives--not just one.
Maybe do one of these master studies every month, and after your master study, keep that sticky note on your easel that had the one thing you liked. Now make your own work and try to inject this thing into your painting.
You Can Find Your Own Unique Art Style!
Over time, these four steps will bring out a unique style that belongs only to you--I promise!
Rather than logicking out what style would make you stand out, you want to nurture and grow a style that expresses your unique personality.
Feed it regularly with lots of exposure to art, lots of opportunity to create, and lots of experimentation, and you will grow a lovely style that people will look at and say, "this could only have been created by you!"
Try these principles out and let me know if they help you find your unique art voice! Also, please join my email list for more lessons just like this. I'm thrilled to be on this art journey with you. Let's grow and explore and discover together.
Happy painting, everyone!