Why you should develop your own art style and how to do it

If you’re just getting into drawing comics or cartoons, then I think that it’s definately worth developing your own unique drawing style instead of using a more established drawing style (eg: anime/manga-style art, classic American comic book style art, realistic drawing styles etc…).

Whilst there is a lot of amazing art in these established styles and there are probably quite a few arguments in favour of learning these styles of drawing, I’ll be focusing on the advantages of coming up with your own art style.

Some advantages of coming up with your own art style:

– Your work is a lot more recognisable: If you have a very distinctive art style, then people are going to notice and recognise your work a lot more quickly than if you use a more widely-used style.

– Your drawings have more of a sense of “personality”: This is probably something of a double-edged sword and it’s probably more appropriate in some genres of comics than it is in others (for example, if several artists are drawing the same character and/or working on the same comic, then a more standard style might be better for continuity). But if you’re writing as well as drawing your comics, then it just kind of adds a personal touch to them.

-Your drawings stand out and are more memorable.

How to develop your own art style:

In one word, practice. In two words, practice and research.

It’s a cliche, but it’s true – developing your own style takes time and it often kind of happens subtly and after lots of experimentation. But when you’ve worked out the basics of it, then most of these changes tend to be more to do with technique than anything else. For example, all three drawings in this timeline of my art are all in the same style, although there are lots of obvious differences too.

How my art has changed from 2006-2012

How my art has changed from 2006-2012

It’s also important to learn and research too. Although books and online guides about learning how to draw won’t tell you exactly how to come up with your own unique drawing style in the same way that they might teach you other established drawing styles (eg: “How to draw manga” books, Youtube videos etc…), they will help you to learn important techniques which you can incorporate into your own drawing style.

Drawing techiques can also be learnt by looking closely at your favourite comics and pieces of art and trying to work out what kind of techniques the artist used when drawing backgrounds, lighting effects, shadows, expressions etc…

Likewise, there is nothing wrong with incorporating techniques from other drawing styles into your own drawing style, as long as your drawing style, as a whole, doesn’t look identical or too similar to anyone else’s induvidual style (which, with the exception of widely-used drawing styles, can potentially cause trademark/copyright issues and is just bad practice anyway).

It is best to learn drawing techiques from a variety of different drawing styles as well as working some out for yourself. This will ensure that your art style will still be uniquely yours and it also means that you can’t be accused of ripping off someone else’s art style too.

For example, I learnt how to draw people closing their eyes tightly from “South Park” and I draw this in a reasonably similar way, but my art style (as a whole) don’t really look anything like “South Park” even though it was one of many influences on my art style.

Oh my god! You killed Ke…. Ok, this clearly isn’t South Park

In short, coming up with your own unique art style can be more difficult than learning a more established drawing style, since you kind of have to work it out as you go along but it’s a lot more rewarding in many ways.

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14 comments on “Why you should develop your own art style and how to do it

  1. […] style than they ever could be. I’ve written before about finding your own narrative voice and your own art style, so I won’t really be going over this particular subject again here. However, I will be […]

  2. […] about writer’s block and the seeds of stories, developing your own narrative voice & art style as well as a random comic I drew a couple of weeks ago, but I thought that I’d cover it in […]

  3. […] + “Some Thoughts About Writing And Drawing Filler” (nothing like THIS article, of course…) + “Creative Role Models And Inspiration” + “How To Give Your Story Or Comic That Special Quality” + “Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment Creatively” + “Some Tips And Tricks For Writing Good Horror Fiction” + “How And Why You Should Add Crossovers To Your Story and/or Comic” + “The Pros and Cons Of Writing a Fiction/Comic series” + “Should I draw My Comic in Colour or Black & White/Greyscale?” + “What Is The Soundtrack To Your Story?” + “Finding Your Own Narrative Voice” + “Why You Should Develop Your Own Art Style And How To Do It” […]

  4. […] If possible, use your own art style: I’ve written about developing your own art style before , but it’s fairly important when it comes to […]

  5. […] art style every day or leave all of your comics projects unfinished. But, even when you’ve found your own distinctive art style – it will still gradually change and evolve over time if you practice regularly. Likewise, […]

  6. […] do some artists have so much trouble developing their style? You’d think that it’d be absurdly easy, kind of like figuring out whether they like a […]

  7. […] is a slightly revamped version of one of the most popular articles on this blog, which can be found here. Although, unfortunately, it doesn’t contain any images – unlike the original […]

  8. […] of all, this has nothing to do with developing your own art style – it’s perfectly possible to draw a wide variety of things using the same […]

  9. […] since my old post about developing your own art style still seems to be the most popular post on my blog, I thought that I’d revisit this subject […]

  10. […] addition to this, Pamela Coleman Smith also developed her own fairly unique drawing style, which is something that I believe all artists should try to do throughout the course of their creative careers. Her style is easily recognisable at a glance and […]

  11. […] isn’t really an article about developing your own art style (I’ve already written about that), this is an article about all of the things that surround your art […]

  12. […] the path of learning how to draw manga is very well-trodden, it won’t be quite as exciting as finding your own unique art style will […]

  13. […] I kind of feel like playing it safe at the moment. I've also removed the reference to an e-book in my old "Art Style" article. Again, this is probably just me being ridiculously paranoid overly cautious and it has nothing to […]

  14. […] I’ve already talked about finding your own unique art style before on this blog, I thought that I’d talk today about one of the many fun ways that you […]

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