If you’ve got your own unique art style, then you probably know that it’s never really a single unchanging style. Over time, your art style will gradually develop and change in all sorts of interesting and subtle ways as you learn more about making art.
Personally, I like to think of this phenomenon as being like a computer program that receives updates every now and then. It’s easier to think of your art style in this way if you suddenly learn something new that you can quickly apply to your art (like when I suddenly learnt how to draw faces in profile after reading Betty Edwards’ “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain” in summer 2013). But, as I’m about to explain, changes to your art style can often be a lot more subtle and gradual than this.
But, since I sometimes think of my art style in this way, it raised an interesting question in my mind: “When was my art style’s latest ‘update’ ?”
For a while, I thought that it was either early last year when I learnt a new technique for drawing noses or possibly even in late 2014 when I’d started practicing learning how to draw in black & white (as opposed to the greyscale art, with pencil shading, that I’d sometimes made beforehand).
But, as I eventually realised, my art style had improved slightly since then. When I was making another study of an old painting from the 1880s called “The Laundress” by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec which was posted here in December, not only did I learn a new technique for painting realistic shadows/shading on people’s faces, but I also realised that I now knew just about enough about how lighting and shading works in order to actually learn this.
This, it seems, was the latest “update” to my art style. It wasn’t some major change that I could easily spot at a glance, it was something a lot more subtle.
It was something that I’d picked up from looking at a lot of photos and other works of art in the right way (eg: studying them closely, thinking of them as a three-dimensional image presented in just two dimensions etc..) over the past few years, through practicing drawing and/or painting shadows/shading over the years and also from making gloomy minimalist paintings when I wasn’t feeling inspired, like this one:
So, why have I mentioned all of this stuff? Well, if you’re making art fairly regularly, then it can sometimes be easy to worry that your art style has stagnated. But, if you’re interested in making art and you practice regularly, then your art style will improve and evolve.
Yes, improvements can happen suddenly when you decide to start experimenting with new techniques etc… but they can sometimes happen very gradually, or in ways that you don’t immediately notice. Regardless, if you practice regularly, it will happen.
Sorry for the short article, but I hope that it was interesting 🙂