I took a break from posting on social media during the holiday week but still lurked around to see what was going on. Have you ever scrolled past a bunch of posts from your Facebook groups and though “oh this questions again????” I’m sure you have. And the most popular question (or scream for help) that I have been seeing online is “how do I find my style?”. This is usually followed by “can anyone recommend tutorials and teachers on YouTube/Skillshare/Domestika/any other platform available so I can improve my skills?”
You either have read this questions, maybe you asked the question yourself, or maybe both. Then you get tons of suggestions and opinions on who the best artist is and follow them, and watch every single tutorial under the sun. You absorb all these delicious techniques on types of brushes (digital or otherwise), texture, color palette, inspiration boards, and the list goes on. Then, nothing happens. You’re still unsatisfied with your pieces because they look (in your opinion, of course) just…meh. You are now officially confused and equally frustrated. You think your art should have been better by now.
Now this email is not to tell you I have a new class on “find your style today”. In fact, shockingly it is the opposite. And here is my unpopular opinion:
Stop watching so many darn tutorials.
Yes. Stop. “but Simone, I follow along so I learn at the same time I’m doing the lessons/projects”. How many of you do that?
See, you follow along all those artists which is a great way to absorb a bunch of stuff, but then you are not challenging your brain on all those lessons you just absorbed. You go from one tutorial to the next, then one more, then 5 more, then, OMG this one is only 30 minutes and I can illustrate a children’s book?? (I lost count how many times I did this LOL)
“how do I find my style?” should be a journey, and it’s time to embrace it
You need to give your brain a break from watching and following. And just DO IT. You need to turn off that video and start drawing/lettering/painting/whatever art you are leaning without any guide. Then, that piece will be completely YOU. I know you are thinking you will make super ugly art (again your opinion, and I will tell you why). But the truth is, it doesn’t matter, pretty art, bad art, who gets to judge? How many people you see posting their art online saying “not happy with it, need to improve my skills”, and you think omg i wish I could do that! So who cares if it’s bad or good, just start creating and things will happen.
Oh but the question was about finding your style. You already have one. In fact, you might have more than one. And it’s ok. It’s good to be versatile. Your style might be a color palette, or a theme like flowers, or animals, or adding a distressed look, or adding glitter. Your style is what you like to create. What you are attracted to.
Now go create something awesome (it will be awesome, and that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it.). And if during that time, you happen to find a style you like, even better!
So true!!! It is so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of classes! And then I think I can do this! And digital wallpaper and illustrating children’s books and making coloring books….so many classes, so many possibilities!! And it keeps me from doing the real work of creating. Not that I haven’t learned some useful things. I have. I’ve learned a ton from online classes (taking one now, in fact) But I think you need to pace yourself and take the time to absorb and try out those new ideas before jumping into a new class. And you have to trust the process. It’s really easy to take class after class after class looking for something. It’s much harder (and more rewarding) to start doing the work to make that learning into your authentic art.
Right?! You gotta put that brain to work after watching classes, otherwise it just gets used to watching instead of doing!