Developing your own painting style can be a rewarding journey. It can also be hard to know where to start. After years of teaching, I can tell you, that everyone has a unique style that underlies all they do. What we need to do together is to nurture that style, bring it to the surface, and develop it. It can be a fun journey! Let’s explore some ways to help you bring out your unique voice and style in painting.
Study and experiment with different techniques and styles
Take time to study the works of artists you admire and experiment with different techniques, materials, and styles. This will give you a better understanding of the different styles and techniques available, and help you develop your own style. Don’t worry about being a copycat at this stage. Think of it more like dressing up or acting. It is a journey to see what you love and don’t love. You’ll end up taking bits and pieces with you as you go.
Regular practice is key to developing your own style. By experimenting and exploring new techniques, you will gradually develop a sense of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Create from your own experiences and emotions. Your own life experiences and emotions can be a rich source of inspiration for your art. Consider incorporating your own personal narrative and emotions into your paintings to make them unique and meaningful. For one person, making spiritual art would be rewarding, for another it could feel awkward or phony. Go where it feels like you are. Ignore where you think you “should” be.
Trust Your Instincts
Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to take risks in your artwork. Sometimes, it’s the imperfections and unique quirks that make a piece of art truly special and memorable. Try to avoid stressing out about the process, or being extra hard on yourself. Breathe in and out, remember that you are enjoying this, and try not to take yourself too seriously. This is a life-long journey to be enjoyed.
Keep a Sketchbook
A sketchbook is a great tool for experimenting and developing your style. Use it to sketch out new ideas, record your thoughts and inspirations, and capture fleeting moments and scenes. The more you get comfortable with sketching, the more you will see that your person style is coming through. The most important part of a sketchbook is that you can return to it as a collection of insight into what was going on during that period. While, scattered drawings here and there don’t have that same journaling effect.
Seek feedback from other artists. This can be a valuable tool in helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses and finding new ways to develop your style. A word of warning – know what kind of feedback you seek, and go to the best source you can find for that. (A spouse may be a terrible resource for this. Mine doesn’t know a thing about art.) If you need private feedback, I do offer a limited number helpful critiques. See this link for info. Be protective over who you ask, especially if you are sensitive about your art, which is VERY common. A stray comment can set you back if you let it. I would avoid posting on social media and asking for feedback, unless it is from a curated private group.
Develop Your Painting Style
Remember, developing your own style takes time and patience. Be persistent, keep experimenting and don’t be afraid to try new things. With practice and dedication, you’ll find your own unique voice in painting.
Extra tip: I found that making Pinterest boards of paintings that interested me was a great way to see the cohesiveness of the styles I liked. While we can gather a list of names, we are visual people, and gathering a collection of images is a great way to see how they link together. Back in the day, I would go through art magazines and tape images I liked to the walls of my studio space. However it works for you, curate your collection of inspiration that excites you.
Do you have other tips? Comment below to help your fellow artists.