There are many styles of art, and it can be difficult to find a style that suits your creative talents. Finding your art style is not something that happens overnight, it is something that can take time to develop. Maybe it is different drawing styles that you have picked up from family or friends, or maybe it is something you have seen that has inspired you. When discovering how to find your art style, you will have to look at the whole picture from techniques, compositions, media, colors, subject, and more. Even if you think you have an answer to the question of “what is my art style?”, it is always forever changing and evolving into something new.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is My Art Style?
- 2 Finding Your Art Style
- 2.1 Emulate Artists You Love
- 2.2 Finding Inspiration From the World Around You
- 2.3 Never Stop Practicing and Experimenting
- 2.4 Try New Things
- 2.5 Art Should Be Fun
- 2.6 Do Not Feel Discouraged
- 2.7 Join Groups
- 2.8 Explore Specific Art Styles
- 2.9 Think About What the Message Is Behind Your Art
- 2.10 Summary of Ideas and Questions to Ask
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is My Art Style?
There is an abundance of art styles to try, some age-old and others with a more modern approach. All of these art styles tell a unique story and expression of what an artist is feeling. In general, this could be done through painting, drawing, sculptures, and other forms of art like fashion, music, and literature. Within the painting and drawing category, there are many styles of art such as:
- Fine art
- Pop art
- Fantasy art
- Anime or manga
Many famous art paintings are immediately recognizable by their style of art. For example, The Water Lily Pond (1899) by Claude Monet, The Persistence of Memory (1931) by Salvador Dalí, or The Marilyn Diptych (1962) by Andy Warhol.
The Water Lily Pond (1899) by Claude Monet; Claude Monet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Finding your art style should include discovering if you prefer muted tones or bright and vibrant colors. You do not have to know about all these styles, but if you like something, it is a good way to form a foundation to further your own style.
Finding Your Art Style
As we have mentioned, find at least two or three different art styles, and write them down. If you are not sure, you can always Google the words “different art styles” or “styles of paintings”. See what comes up and what attracts your attention. You can then write down what drew your attention, was it the colors, subject matter, or medium used? What about the aesthetic art styles stands out, was it abstract or more realistic? You can then choose an aspect of these paintings and you can then practice them. As you live your life, you go through different experiences, and so your art will change along with you. You might even change your style or incorporate different art styles. Here are a few ideas on how to find your art style.
Emulate Artists You Love
This does not mean copying them exactly, but rather getting ideas from various artists and using the techniques and designs, and making them your own. Think of it more as inspiration, there must be styles of paintings that you find interesting or something that draws your attention? The artists that inspire you can be photographers, cartoonists, designers, and animators.
Copying and selling work that is similar to another artist is stealing. When you create artwork, the influence of these artists is there, but the art is still uniquely your own.
Many artists today have their own website and Facebook page where you can go and view all their art pieces. To be able to develop the technical aspect of painting or any other art form, you need a reference. In art schools, students copy the masters to learn how to paint. This helps you to pick on the various techniques used, which will help in future endeavors. However, this is only for learning purposes, and if you continue to do this, you will be stunting your artistic growth and you will not be able to find your own art style.
You should be using the techniques you have learned to incorporate into your own work, even if you make mistakes along the way. By forging your own path, it will lead you towards expressing yourself and creating more unique art pieces. Consider the philosophy behind aesthetic art styles and learn to appreciate the beauty and vision in other artists’ work. Contemplate the meaning of an art piece and try to recognize what went into the making of it. Art is more than what you can see and is a lot of what you are feeling. You can take this and use it in your art creations.
Finding Inspiration From the World Around You
Maybe you find beautiful landscapes enticing, and you love to paint them. You can get inspiration by looking at things around you. Do you know anybody who “people watches”? You can do the same by observing those around you, the movement, shapes, colors, and light.
Learn different drawing styles, still-life, or figure drawing.
For example, anime or mango art is quite popular, so you will need to learn about anatomy and how to draw in proportion before you can move on to shaping it into what you want. Take a look at nature, there are plenty of color palettes out there for inspiration.
This can help you understand things like shading or creating textures. By using different techniques, you will be able to narrow the list and start using the ones you want. Taking time to learn new skills and gain new perspectives is a way to find your art style. You will need to invest some money, time, and energy to get better at your chosen art form.
Never Stop Practicing and Experimenting
You need to practice art and going over things in your mind will not help, you need to develop through practical applications. Practicing once every few weeks is also not going to help you progress, you need to work out a schedule that sees you doing something at least a couple of times per week. The following may be able to help you build up a routine.
- Today, it is easy to go online and follow artists you like, watch tutorials, and join workshops or courses. You can also purchase art books.
- Go and search for inspiration, go on a hike, or go sit at a busy coffee shop and draw the things you see. Visit art galleries or go to the museum. If you can, travel and explore.
- Make sure you make time each day to paint or draw, even if you only sit down for a few minutes. You can increase this slowly over time. Try to commit to about 30 days, which can help build a habit.
- You do not have to go out to practice, draw everyday items around you and in your home.
- Try out new ideas. For example, try using mixed media, or attempt a clay sculpture. Experiment with watercolors, oil paints, and acrylics.
- Consider choosing a regular topic so you do not have to wonder what to draw.
- There are sketching challenges available that can help motivate and help you to draw every day.
- Sometimes, having somebody else join you can help keep you motivated. Find somebody who also loves to draw and do it together.
- You do not have to complete a piece in one day and it does not have to be perfect. Relax and have fun with the process, just make sure you are consistent.
- If you are serious about your art, you might want to consider a mentor or instructor.
- Keep a sketchbook on you at all times so you can draw when inspiration hits.
Try New Things
How are you going to find your art style if you don’t try out new things, you might even have to do something out of your comfort zone. Maybe figure drawing intimidates you, but that should not stop you from trying. Try painting with your left hand or your less dominant hand. Paint on large canvasses or try small ideas.
Exploring all avenues can help you to grow and discover what your likes are and find out what you do best.
It is always a good idea to challenge yourself, you do not know what you are capable of unless you try. Many people never try new ideas or things because they assume they cannot do it. You will never learn and grow if you do not challenge yourself. If you have tried still-life sketching, why not also try doing something more abstract?
When carrying your sketchbook with you, do not be afraid to simply doodle. You can even doodle how you are feeling, or anything that comes to mind. Allow yourself to simply express yourself without any expectations. You might discover when looking back on what you did, something that inspires your imagination. This is also very therapeutic and a way to just have fun with what you are doing.
Art Should Be Fun
Sometimes, you place a lot of pressure on yourself to do something perfectly. This can only lead to frustration, try to leave any expectations behind and focus on having fun instead. You may even discover something new. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, so do not be afraid to “color outside the lines” now and again. The more fun you have, the less chance you have of simply giving up. All of the art pieces you think you messed up, are all an integral part of the learning process.
Perseverance is key to success, so you might as well have fun along the way.
Never compare yourself to other artists, as they have their style so should you. You can learn and gain new ideas from others, but do not think that your art is not good enough. If somebody else’s art inspires you, make sure to take notes and then find a way to incorporate them into your artwork. Why do you want to create art? It should make you happy, or be an outlet for your emotions, it should not be a burden or feel restricting.
Make sure to find your joy in art and allow all the pressures of life to melt into the background. Ultimately, there is no wrong way or right way to do things, it is all about the creative process and doing what makes you happy. When you do this, it does not matter what style of art you are doing, you have found something you love to do. Even if you are a professional artist and there are certain expectations and some pressure, it should still be something you want to do and enjoy doing, otherwise, it just works.
Do Not Feel Discouraged
You become a good artist over time, it does not happen overnight. You must go through a process of learning to find your own style. The more you make art a part of your life, the more you will discover things about yourself and your personality.
However, this takes time and may even take a lifetime to fully blossom into your style, so do not get discouraged, keep on and enjoy the process.
Once you have been painting for a while, you should be able to go and look back at all your art pieces, and then discover what you are drawn to most. You should be able to see what medium and subjects you like most. For example, maybe you create pieces that use bold colors, or you are drawn to urban landscapes instead of sea or mountain landscapes?
These repetitions are what reveal your art style and discovering or finding these is better than simply choosing. The best art comes from knowing what style and mediums are the most effortless and fun to do. Your art style should be something that comes more naturally, and you should enjoy doing it. Once you have found a recurring theme in your art, you can further develop and practice these elements.
We have already mentioned joining workshops and following online tutorials. There are also various groups and communities you can join with other artists. You can share your work, ask questions, and get feedback from others. Many of these groups can also provide resources and have relevant content that can help you. Facebook has different types of groups anybody can join, and there is also Reddit, amongst others. There may also be local art communities and groups you can join physically.
You may also want to ask your family and friends to share what they like about your art most. The opinions of those close to you can also help you to gain more understanding into finding your art style. Learn from any constructive criticism, which will help to improve your art style. Some people get offended easily when it comes to criticism, but you should not get offended if it comes from a good place. Anything else you should simply ignore, and you should be proud of all your achievements.
Explore Specific Art Styles
If you have chosen a specific art style you enjoy, you can focus on all the techniques and possibilities to create with this medium. You can explore different drawing styles, for example, using charcoal and creating black and white drawings, or using full colors. Explore portrait, landscape, or still-life options when drawing.
Before finding your art style, you should gain an understanding and improve your basic skills and techniques.
You should at least lay down some groundwork, for example, learning about color theory and how to create light and shadows. Start simple, gain knowledge and practice everything. Since finding your art style evolves, you might even find yourself using more than one style or technique. This is fine, you are developing your own distinctive style, use it.
Think About What the Message Is Behind Your Art
There is more to art than putting pencil or paintbrush to paper, however, learning all the technical skills is important, but what makes your art unique? You will start copying and improving on your skills, and you will also have to understand perspective and composition. To make your artwork more authentic, you should also consider what message is being portrayed. You should first work out what your concept or vision is before you begin painting or drawing.
Summary of Ideas and Questions to Ask
Before finding your art style, you might want to explore many different avenues and subjects. That is okay, as we have learned that art is a process that will take time. But to help you along the way a little, here is a summary of a few questions you can ask yourself and ideas you can use while on your journey of discovery.
- Regarding Your Art: Is there a common theme or element that shows up in your art? What do you enjoy creating and what subjects interest you?
- Skills: Practice and develop your skills and try new and different techniques.
- Inspiration: Who or what inspires you? Choose some elements from these examples and practice them. What inspires you every day, look around in nature to see what you can use.
- Practice: Patience and practice are important, find ways to improve your skill every day.
- Have fun: Maybe the most important things to do, as if you are not having fun, what is the point? The process is in the journey, you cannot skip any part of it. Once you reach a goal, there is always another one as you grow and develop your skills.
- Other questions: What does your art mean to yourself and others? Why do you want to create? How does your personality show itself up in your art?
Being able to find and create aesthetic art styles is something that can take years to achieve. So, if you have not found and mastered your style yet, do not be discouraged, you will get there. This is not something you can force, and it needs to develop naturally so you can fully reach your potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Various Art Styles to Try?
Yes, there are many painting styles, different drawing styles, and further art forms. For example, today the more popular art form is contemporary art but there are many more like anime, pop art, impressionism, modern art, and lots more. There are also many mediums besides painting and drawing like sculpting, digital art, photography, writing, and more.
How Can You Discover Your Art Style?
This is a very broad topic as it can be a personal journey for many. However, you can do certain things that can help you. Look for inspiration around you, discover what artists and mediums you like, learn all the technical skills required, read, practice, and try out new techniques. Use the elements you found in other artists’ work to create your own unique style. The best way to find your style is to immerse yourself in the process and not to focus too intently on anything specific.
How Can You Identify an Art Style?
Aesthetic art styles can be identified by the way an artist interprets their subject matter and creates their own vision. It is a way artists express themselves through various mediums. The style is determined by certain characteristics, for example, color, composition, and forms. An easy example would be geometric art, which uses various shapes, forms, and angles.
What If I Do Not Like My Art Style?
Everybody has an art style and if you do not like what you are doing, it is time to find something you do like. Get out there and do a little research and find ideas from other artists and things around you. Then try and practice until you find something you enjoy and like doing. You also need some patience as becoming an artist and finding your art style can be a lifelong journey.
Why Is Art Important?
All type of art is a form of expression. Art tells a story and what the artist is feeling and thinking, without the artist having to say anything. So, it is another form of communication and can bring awareness to various issues. Art can also be simply something to enjoy for its aesthetic beauty.
In 2005, Charlene completed her Wellness Diplomas in Therapeutic Aromatherapy and Reflexology from the International School of Reflexology and Meridian Therapy. She worked for a company offering corporate wellness programs for a couple of years, before opening up her own therapy practice. It was in 2015 that a friend, who was a digital marketer, asked her to join her company as a content creator, and this is where she found her excitement for writing.
Since joining the content writing world, she has gained a lot of experience over the years writing on a diverse selection of topics, from beauty, health, wellness, travel, and more. Due to various circumstances, she had to close her therapy practice and is now a full-time freelance writer. Being a creative person, she could not pass up the opportunity to contribute to the Art in Context team, where is was in her element, writing about a variety of art and craft topics. Contributing articles for over three years now, her knowledge in this area has grown, and she has gotten to explore her creativity and improve her research and writing skills.
Charlene Lewis has been working for artincontext.org since the relaunch in 2020. She is an experienced writer and mainly focuses on the topics of color theory, painting and drawing.