Question about style?



  • Something I've always struggled with is style and consistency. Right now I'm at a point where I have really two ways to go forward building my portfolio. I have two styles I can work in and I don't know if either one of them is marketable. My main goal is to illustrate children's books either my own stories or other peoples.

    Style 1: This is my fast style it's rough line, primitive, with some water color texture it takes me between two and four hours to finish an illustration: 0_1465579377173_13178049_776656425803299_219859831188313424_n.jpg 0_1465579380638_life-is-a-song-finished.jpg 0_1465579385255_day-dream.jpg

    Style 2: This is detail work, light color, occlusion, realistic, this style takes me anywhere between 10 and 40 hours per illustration. Also not sure if it's marketable.
    0_1465579501386_11947637_682175685251374_469959943666155587_n.jpg 0_1465579508672_sea-shell-mailbox.jpg 0_1465579512866_mushroom-mail-box1.jpg ![0_1465579539696_finished-web-no-words.jpg]
    Last month's third Thursday I tried to apply my realistic style to one of my cartoon drawings and this is what I ended up with....0_1465579788026_finished-web-no-words.jpg

    Any advice would be really helpful. I'm trying to fill my portfolio and I'm just not sure which way to go?



  • @evilrobot Wow, I really like both of your styles! I just did a course with Giuseppe Castellano at Penguin and he is a huge advocate of artists showing they can do more than one style. The main thing that he helped me with is organizing those styles in a meaningful way on your site AND showing that you can do those styles more than once. In your above examples you definitely show that you can maintain each style, but giving several examples of them.

    Here's a link to my site if you're curious where I ended up after his course: www.iwataillustration.com

    Nice work, I love that cactus painting!



  • @evilrobot I've been thinking of posting a very similar post about style, it's something that's been bugging me for a while but particularly this month I'm frustrated about it and really want to find a direction I like.

    I think both of your styles have got great things going for them - personally style-wise I like the pencil textures in the very first piece the most (the fawn) but I also think that the way you've used lighting in the more realistic pieces is great too - like the light shining on the cactus and the toadstool, it makes you feel like you're living in that space which is great.

    I think (and this is personal opinion of course) it might be worth experimenting combining elements of both - using the pencil textures, but bringing in more of the painterly light and value contrasts from your realistic style. Sorry if that's a bit of a sitting on the hedge answer ;-) but like I said both styles have got great things going for them.



  • I agree with @Dulcie combine your styles. But that is my opinion. It took me a while to find my style, but once i was comfortable with it and I enjoy it, then I knew it was the one I wanted to work with. I try to push myself on other styles but always find my way back to what i like.



  • Ah, this seems to affect every illustrator out there! The question of style is my constant nightmare. And what is causing it is all this emphasis on a consistent portfolio, because if I was left to myself, I would do a different style for every piece! So, no answer here either - I struggle to keep consistency like everybody else, I do not have a process (an illustration process is what they told me you need to keep consistent in your work) and I am constantly in exploration mode. What I do is trimming my portfolio regularly, so that it is more or less consistent. Obviously this means doing a lot of work that does not land into a portfolio....But, like in Jake Parker´s case, I see a consistent signature emerging even if the styles may be different. Even in your case, it is always recognizably your art, even with the two different styles. The treatment of shapes, the way you draw hair, eyes, the choice of proportions and the color schemes are related and recognizeably yours. The same is happening with my work: I see recurrent elements appearing even in different styles....
    I like both your rendering styles and I think they both have a market - actually I do not think there is something as a "non-marketable" style, if the skills are sound and the subject matter is relevant. So, no advice, sorry.....Maybe just separating into different tabs on your portfolio?



  • I'm in the same boat as you but I'm looking at what I like doing or what feels natural and then developing that more. I also listed loads of things I'm interested in and found common themes which I'm trying to build into personal projects to help develop my voice and style. Lately I have to admit every thing I've done looks like it is in a different style because I'm always learning and experimenting, so I'm trying to keep to similar themes at least.



  • Thank you all very much for your advice...seems this is a pretty common thing all of us are dealing with. Glad it's not just me.



  • @evilrobot Hey William - here is a Stephen Silver video that touches on this subject - he is awesome - i find your work very recognizable and very good - when you first appeared on the forum assumed you were a working professional! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLkRAIux-Tg



  • @evilrobot I like the idea of being able to include two styles. Since I am self-publishing my own books ( I guess it's a hobby job) I can try many styles and hopefully they will all be worth buying. The first book I did was for a friend and it was watercolor and ink. I developed a style for that particular book. My current project is done with rapidograph and colored pencils and looks quit different. I don't really have a portfolio organized yet but, it seems that if you do both styles well you could include both in your portfolio. If you get hired, they will let you know which one caught their eye, wouldn't they? Then you would use that style for that project. I think that both styles look good and could be marketed. Does that double your chances of getting work ? :-)


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