17 November 2012

How to Develop Your Artistic Style

I started dA back in 2006 doing simple digital photography. I had never taken a class and I had no knowledge on photography. My only formal training in art has been in water colour and pastels. These days I’m into photomanipulation. How did I get into it? Simple: deviantArt.

You’ve probably heard many people calling dA a wonderful community. It is, but it’s so much more than a community. DeviantArt is an art school. Yes, there are people who sign up and then put up masterpieces of work, but if you dig deeper into the community you see something amazing: progress. This is what makes dA great. To me, deviantArt has been my art school. I’ve learned from so many deviants on so many different forms of expression. And I’ve made friends.

There are some complaints about dA. Those are usually found in any community. Things usually based around generated artwork. (Too much anime/anthro/myspace shots and so on.) I think a majority of these complaints could be cut down by simply encouraging artists to find their own style; I know, groundbreaking.

dA introduces a variety of styles and techniques to us all, but many times an artist is blinded by trying to emulate (and sometimes immolate :omfg:) what they’ve seen others do. This results in hundreds of deviations that all look like each other. Sadly, many of these make the front page and it starts the cycle all over again. So here is the main point of this article: one way to become popular on deviantArt is to develop your own style.

Tips on Developing your Style

1. Enjoy and study other pieces of art, not just on deviantArt. Learn from this work, don't copy it.

Never underestimate a day to the museum and never underestimate other art forms. Being an artist is like being a growing tree. You start out as a sapling focusing on one art form, but you grow and develop all different sorts of artistic "branches". If you're a photographer, spend some time studying sculpting. You never know what you'll learn from another form of art that you can incorporate into your own work.

2. Carry a small notebook with you. Write down things you see or think of that inspire you.

You never know when inspiration will hit. I've always carried a notebook around with me ever since I was a kid (and a fanatic about Harriet the Spy). It wasn't until this year that I realized the full potential my notebooks had. The one I carry now is the size of my hand. It's filled with quotes, play ideas, poems, and short scenes I've seen or dreamt up.

Using a notebook is also another way to get rid of writer's block, especially if you're used to typing. A notebook forces the writer to get more "physically intimate" :flirty: if you will, with his or her work. It's an excellent way to form new methods to outline one's ideas and organize your writing.

3. Try different art forms when you get artist's block.

Like I said, You never know what you'll learn from another form of art that you can incorporate into your own work. You may even discover that you enjoy, say, pottery over photography. Learning new perspectives in any aspect of life enriches your dreams and ideas. This is especially true as an artist.

4. Look around dA and look at whatever trend is happening in your artistic medium. Brainstorm on what the exact opposite of that cliché and play with that idea.

There is nothing wrong with using a style you know everyone enjoys, but it's safe. And believe it or not, people love new things. Always look at things from a new angle and remember the three Is: Inspiration, Interpretation, and Innovation.

An interesting exercise is to look around your community and see what's en vogue, then take your artwork in the complete opposite direction. This trains your brain to think in another way and makes your art fresh and unique.

5. Listen to new music! If you generally listen to punk, try classical or alternative and vice versa.

My best work comes out when I switch CDs. Don't just try a new band, try a whole new genre. If you're like me, you've probably found a handful of bands and types of music that you like. Reach outside of music cloud and find something completely different from what you've tried. If you like country try glam rock, rap try opera, or alternative try musical soundtracks. There is no end to the inspiration you can find.

6. Be involved enough in the community so you can meet other artists.

Watching, learning, and changing your music extends your perspective and strengthens your identity. But, you also have to find a community of people. My community is obviously dA. Use deviantART, an art group at school, or any other various club/activity that will provide you with a safe environment of friends and artists that you can learn from, laugh with, and who will give you their honest opinion.

7. Participate in contests. It’s a very easy way to try something you may not have tried on your own.

My art work was generally dark/conceptual until I began to enter contests. I went from:

to this

Just by entering a contest with a theme I wouldn't have picked. Now, that piece is one of my favourites in my gallery. Entering contests forces you to try something different.

8. If you sense your style changing, go with it!

A shark can’t live if it’s still, neither can your creativity! Your style is a reflection of who you are, and who you are often changes with your experiences. Embrace your style change and enjoy it.

9. Give your artwork a strong message. Your artwork can be beautiful, but if it doesn’t affect someone else or make them think, it can easily be forgotten.

Sometimes art is made for pure aesthetic pleasure, which is good. But, if you're looking for a way to capture and inspire the viewer you can always try sending a message. It could be a positive message like fighting for breast cancer or finding happiness; or it could be a strong message about current events.

10. Take some time away from art to get to know yourself.

Sure, all of these tips are great, but if you don't know yourself, you'll never be able to develop your own style. Read a new book, find your meaning in life, and spend some time alone meditating or just thinking. Fill yourself with positive motivations. Hang out with friends, watch movies, and enjoy everything. Take a yoga class or get some fresh air. Getting to know yourself is the best advice I can give you for evolving your own artistic fingerprint.

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