Often when in the midst of an unproductive day, when nothing I draw seems to work, I like to browse the internet, dropping in on flickr, Pinterest, or whatever my current creative blog obsession happens to be, to try to get my creative juices bubbling. However, sometimes this results in the opposite of what I intended as I am awed by the beautiful drawings and amazing ideas by other cleverpants people. I end up feeling somewhat despondent, not a great place to be when trying to draw something. It’s not really a question of whether I’m good enough (ok maybe sometimes, but that doesn’t get me anywhere and is also rather lame :P), but rather a question of style. There are so many unique ways that people make art, it can be overwhelming!
As an artist or illustrator I am beset with “style” doubts. The drawings that I create naturally don’t always fall into what’s “in” or “current” and I often debate whether to adapt and adopt the current trends, or to stick with what I do best. It’s a hard choice and doesn’t always work out. I suppose that it is something all artists face at one point or another. Do we cultivate an instantly recognisable style or do we use our skills to draw any which way.
I guess it all boils down to the purpose of your drawings. Why are you drawing the way you do? Who are you drawing for? Of course if you are drawing for clients, it’s a bit of a double edged sword! You need to have a distinctive style so that you can catch the eye of someone who wants what you create. By sticking with one style your client knows what they will end up with more or less, as your work is consistent, and clearly they chose you because they liked your art. But sticking with one style also limits the number of clients you attract. And let’s be honest, in crisis riddled 2012, you need many clients to pay pesky bills. A bit of a quandary.
I’m not sure that I have figured out the best solution, although I think the recipe needs to include an equal amount of distinctive style and room to grow. Without a handful of challenges to branch out, whether by trying different techniques or concepts, you do tend to get stuck. At the same time, trends change and people want different things. I think we need to be versatile and unique.
All the images in the post are by me chronicling my various “styles” and how my drawings have changed over time.