I think my lack of style is a problem.



  • I often hear that artists shouldn’t worry about style too much and that it will develop naturally. I understand that but how can I hope to get work as an illustrator when I don’t have a style yet? What art director wants to hire an artist who isn’t consistent? I’m just frustrated because I feel like I’ve seen a lot of false advice on this topic. People say I things like, "don’t worry about your style. Just start putting yourself out there and look for jobs and the rest will follow." But I struggle to see how this is possible. Can anyone help me under this better? I’ve dropped my Instagram below so you can see where I’m coming from.

    https://www.instagram.com/griffinmcphersonart/



  • @Griffin My 20 cents: You have a style and I like it a lot. It's understandable that you're frustrated, though. Personally one of the problems I have is not understanding my style through other people's eyes, and thus not understanding what makes it unique. Your adherence to certain colors, textures, lines, mark making, and proportions make your style stand out.

    Keep it up!



  • @Jabbernewt thanks, I appreciate the feedback! I know it looks like I have a style (which sounds like it doesn’t make sense, I know). But the reason I say I don’t have a style is because I will have a style within a certain series of drawings I do but then when I do another series I fell like there is pretty much no consistency between the series. But if you still disagree with this let me know! It’s good to have other eyes looking at my work to get some different perspectives



  • @Griffin You definitely have a style! Do you know what market you are aiming for? My initial feeling is that your style would look great in editiorial pieces and to accompany online articles, or as chapter heading illustrations for middle grade and young adult books.



  • @Griffin Oh that's pretty normal. I have done lots of projects in the past where the styles are modified for that specific story. You'll even see this with some professional artists, like big-name illustrators such as Kim Smith and so on.



  • @ajillustrates wow! That is pretty much exactly the type of work I’m looking for right now so I’m glad to hear that that’s what you came up with! In the long run I’m working towards graphic novels but editorial work and that kind of thing is where I think I would fit best right now.



  • 734632de-41a0-4d1e-acc1-297f21bcb7a4-image.png

    These are all from the same artist, and they had to modify their style so that it could fit the tone of the book they were illustrating, but despite that I would say the artist is still recognizable.



  • @Michael-Angelo-Go that’s reassuring, thank you 😁



  • That’s one of the perks of being an artist you can have as many different styles as you want. Just be sure when you make a portfolio have different pages to showcase your different styles try not to intermingle them, then it will appear inconsistent. But you definitely have a style!


  • SVS OG

    @Griffin you do have a style, you just don’t like the work you’re producing now.
    There’s 2 schools of thought in approaching how to find one’s style. Basically they’re:

    1. Passive - this is basically the “Don’t worry about style. Just draw and it will come naturally.”

    2. Active - the method the guys here in SVS are promoting which basically entails finding artists you like, figuring out what you like about their work through studies, and integrating these aspects into your own work.

    Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are valid and I can’t really say one is better than the other. It really depends on the artist’s situation.

    The Passive method is great for hobbyists, people who don’t really need a distinct style to market their work yet , or perhaps people who are starting out and still have years to develop their skills. Generally, the passive method is good for people who are not in a rush.

    However, if you need a job pronto, or maybe you need a unique look to brand yourself which basically include most modern day illustrators, the the Active method is for you.

    If you’re not satisfied with your current work, go find artists that you like and who are also doing well financially, determine what you love with their style, and copy it.

    I know this stage is quite frustrating but know that we are always here to help. I hope this was helpful



  • The young adult graphic novel is blooming over the last couple years. It is a good place to be if you are into making comics, graphic novels. You work made me think of indie comics, and young adult graphic novels.

    I see it can be a strength that you work in multiple styles if you want to work in editorial, or graphic novel, as long as you can produce work consistently for one project/book. I have thought about this hard for the last couple years, and paid close attention to a number of artists I admire and follows. It is almost a personality thing: some artists work only in one style, others work with multiple, but do every style well. I kind of think there is no right or wrong way.

    Don't be discouraged, keep making things, keep exploring what you like to do, especially pay attention to the process - It is hard to draw with a style if you do not enjoy when making it, even if you love the result (this was an advice from Lee White). I was pretty clueless with my style last year. Then I got a book gig out of blue, with a ridiculously short deadline. I was not happy with the result because I rushed everything. But it really pushed me to produce a lot of work in a fairly short among of time. It made me also see and feel what I like to do what I do not. That process helped a lot for me to find a vague direction. It was totally worth doing a not-perfect-book.

    It might help to shift the worry a bit as well. If you have a project to work on: be a personal, or client based project. Focus on getting that one project as good as you can in whatever way, and focus on how you can have fun when doing it. Once you are done, then do a de-brief with an artist friend, or here in the forum, to discuss what you like and what you do not. If you keep doing a couple of projects in this way, your style may come to the surface.

    Another thing worth doing is the Dream portfolio assignment designed by Lee. You can find it in the SVSLearn class if you are a member. You can also find older threads in this forum where people did their dream portfolio and shared and discussed with each other.

    I hope this make sense. It is frustrating, but maybe, just maybe, it is also a bit exciting/fun/everything else, I hope? Because we artists are made to explore, search, and discover the unknowns.



  • May I ask, what does it look like when you draw without a style? Like if you take style out of the equation entirely, what does your art look like?



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz excellent advice as always. Thank you, this was very helpful!



  • @ArtofAleksey well I guess I have to define style first which I suppose would be something along the lines of "consistent, cohesive visual and or thematic traits", just so we are in the same page. The concern I’ve had is that I feel I am lacking this for the most part because even though there may be traces of similarities between the works I do I feel they vary drastically but as I’m learning through this thread that may not be as much of an issue as I think.



  • @Griffin i see, so you’re more concerned about consistency in your work rather than visual problem solving am i right to say that?



  • @ArtofAleksey yes! That’s a perfect way of putting it



  • @Griffin so then are you thinking of style as a shorthand way to solve that problem? Cause i think theres a better solution



  • @ArtofAleksey I suppose so, yes



  • @Griffin have you gone through your art and compared the inconsistencies?



  • Going through your work I expected a whole different situation but your work honestly surprised me, I'm not a pro at all but I can see that your work has a level of proficiency that a lot of people find difficulty getting to.
    In terms of style and sticking to it, my opinion is that we are made up of many things and have many influences, it's often implied that we must pick one thing and stick to it, but honestly, I think that's not necessary
    I think it's okay to have a few styles to work in, to have different ways in which we express, render and illustrate
    what you see as inconsistency, I see as variation
    I'm not sure of what your situation is so I can't tell you what you should or must do,
    But I don't personally think you will have much trouble getting work because of using a couple different styles of which they are all appealing and interesting to me!
    your work is so cool and I can totally imagine it fitting into so many areas of professional careers !


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