Although I’ll be talking about the tired old subject of having a unique “art style” and/or “writing style” yet again, I’ll be looking at it from a very slightly different perspective today.
Instead of focusing on what makes our art and/or writing look unique, I thought that I’d focus on what makes our creative processes so unique. In other words, I’ll be looking at how we make art and how we write rather than what our art and/or writing looks like.
You see, we all have different things that we value when we create things. To use a gaming metaphor (and apologies if I get this wrong – I haven’t played that many RPGs), we each have different stats that we tend to focus on more than others. We try to increase our “level” in a few areas, whilst not really caring as much about the others.
For example, when it comes to making art, I tend to value reliability, simplicity of production and speed.
What this means is that I’ll try to stick to a schedule rigidly, regardless of how “inspired” I feel (even if this affects the quality of my work). It also means that I tend to make art that isn’t needlessly complicated and doesn’t consume more than 1-2 hours or my time per painting.
This also means that most of my art tends to be on the smaller side of things (eg: most of my current paintings are between 19x27cm – 18x19cm in size), because it’s quicker to fill this amount of paper than it is to fill a large canvas or anything like that.
My slightly cartoonish art style, my reliance on things like simple block colours and my preference for “faster” art mediums are all an extension of these things.
If I valued a different set of qualities – such as realism and technical quality, then I’d probably produce very different art. I’d spend weeks or months working on large photo-realistic oil paintings or pencil drawings. I’d paint more form life than from my own imagination etc….
You’d be surprised at how much what we value about the creative process can affect the kinds of things that we create.
The same is probably true, to a lesser extent, with writing. Since it’s been a while since I last wrote any fiction, my examples are probably going to have to come from my non-fiction writing since I have more recent experience of this.
When it comes to non-fiction writing, I tend to value quantity, reliability and speed. What this means is that I tend to be slightly long-winded and I often tend to use the slightly formal and old-fashioned essay writing style that was drummed into me during my education, for the simple reason that it’s almost second-nature to me by now.
It also means that I believe in sayings like “done is better than good” and I’m not usually the kind of person who will spend several days meticulously crafting a non-fiction piece that I’m going to post on the internet.
If I valued a different set of qualities, then this article would probably look very different to what it looks like now. In fact, it’d be almost unrecognisable.
So, yes, if you want to learn more about your own personal art or writing “style”, then it might be worth taking a look at the things that you value when you’re actually making art or writing. Seriously, you might surprise yourself.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂