Recently, someone asked me a question about artistic style: do I have a style, how to develop it and what do I call my style? Perhaps you’d like to listen in on the answer.
Do I Have an Artistic Style?
All artists have a distinct style. The analogy often used is it’s like handwriting for art.
And, much like handwriting, it takes some time after learning the basics for your style to emerge. During the time you’re learning the crafts of drawing and painting and understanding how to handle the materials and mediums, it may seem like you have no style at all or you jump around from one thing to another.
How do I Develop my Art Style?
The only way to develop your individual style is by making your art – repeatedly. Your individual style will start to develop as you gain confidence and experience with each part of the process of making art. It’ll start to show in how you make your marks on the paper in preliminary drawings, the paper you choose to work on, the medium you prefer and how you apply it to the surface and every other element of the finished art. It’s the sum of all these individual choices that add up to an artist’s style.
What do I Call my Style?
I think a large part of the problem for artists trying to define their style comes from trying to pin it down with a label. The more common descriptions, like cubism, expressionism, pop art or surrealism, are broad terms and a type of art shorthand for classifying works. While they’re helpful for broadly classifying a work and make a point of common departure to talk about a work, I think they can be restrictive and intimidating as well as corralling work into premade boxes. I like to think of artistic style in more descriptive terms (* see below) then categorize it if necessary.
What’s Your Style?
Individual artistic style marks a work as belonging to a particular artist and is more of a way of working and handling the materials than a label. Do you have a style? How would you describe it without using a standard classification? Drop me a note and let me know what your style is, I’d love to hear from you!
Like loose vs. tight, realistic vs. unrealistic, colorful vs. monochrome, soft vs. hard, rounded vs. angular, and so on. Here are some pairs to get you started:
I just got a great question via email and having sent the answer off, thought you might like to hear it too.
The question was about how to get crisp edges when using stencils and did I have any tips?
I’ll make an assumption that you’re having a problem with the edges when you use paint with a stencil – that’s the most common medium that causes problems. My experience has been there are two things that may be at fault: the application tool being too wet and the stencil moving around.
First, the application tool. Paint is inherently wet and stenciling is an inherently dry art form – thus the smudgy edges. I’ve found that using a sponge applicator (either a cosmetic wedge or special purpose sponge brush) is a better way to apply paint. Brushes are difficult to get dry enough and often “push” the paint under the stencil edges.
The trick with using a sponge is to dip it into the paint and then dab most of it right back off until the sponge is barely damp with paint. Then gently tap it onto the area straight up and down. Of course, it may take more than one coat to get the color build-up you want, but the edges will be crisp and, personally, I like the look of the differences in coverage – it gives the work a more lively quality.
Second, the stencil itself. If the stencil moves while you’re painting, the edges will smear. If you’re working on a project that allows, go ahead and tape the edges of the stencil down with low-tack blue tape. That will keep everything in place for the duration of the project.
But, if you’re like me and move that stencil around to get different angles, that won’t work. In that case, I hold the working area down firmly with one hand (up close to where I’m working) and apply paint with the other. One other tip with this is to gently twist your wrist as you lift the sponge so it doesn’t pull the stencil up with it. It takes a few times of practicing but it really does keep that stencil down so the edges stay secure. Finally, be sure to wait long enough before picking the stencil back up – it shouldn’t be long at all if the application was dry enough.
Now, this is just my experience and your results may vary – do you have something that’s worked for you?
Try out your stencil technique with these sturdy, US made stencils – in the shop and ready to ship!
Happy Friday – Special Digital Printable Card Bundle – Alice, Shells and Florals
It’s time to share this week’s bundle special. I heard you saying that a weekend wasn’t long enough, so special bundles will now be available for the whole week.
This pretty bundle has all your favorites on printable cards ready to make your journal and papercraft projects special. Each one is ready to print on letter size paper, then just cut them out and embellish!
You get all three card sets for the price of two! Best of all, they are ready to download immediately – no waiting!