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Finding a Drawing Style

I can usually recognise the artwork of my favourite artists and illustrators immediately – I guess similar to bands whose songs you can recognise even if you’ve never heard them before, each artist has a signature drawing style. It’s what makes them different from everyone else. What I’m interested in is how they developed this style in the first place.

Some artists’ style is in their message as well as their artwork. Marc Johns is one of my favourite illustrators – his drawings are funny and quirky and always make me smile. There’s nothing particularly complicated about his drawing style but even the simplest illustrations are clever (in a wonderfully silly way).

Other artists are all about a specific technique or medium, like Patrick Hruby whose illustrations consist of brightly coloured geometric shapes and are instantly recognisable as his. Still others it’s all about the subject matter, like Roberto Parada’s celebrity portraits.

Usually it seems to be a combination of all of these things, the artist using their preferred medium and techniques to create their subject matter or put across their message.

Drawing style - hand drawn alphabet
The more I draw the closer I feel like I’m getting to finding my own style of drawing, though I wouldn’t say I’m there yet. I do prefer working with pencil and ink, but that’s hardly going to make anyone stand out in a crowd! I’ve been trying to experiment with as many different techniques as possible to see what happens – this was one of the reasons I drew the alphabet with each letter in a different style, to force myself to come up with some different ideas and give them a go.

(Some examples are at the top of this post but I’ve uploaded all the letters to my Facebook page as well as to Instagram if you’d like to see the full range).

I’ve also experimented with doing more ‘realistic’ drawings like this one of a kitten’s face…

Drawing style - realistic kitten face
And you’ve probably already seen my basic stick figures like these…

Drawing style - dancing stick figure
I feel most comfortable somewhere in the middle though. I enjoy drawing everyday objects but wouldn’t like to be limited to that all the time. I like to simplify things so that they have enough detail to be interesting and recognisable, but without looking too realistic (I figure if I want something photorealistic I’ll take a photo of it!)

Presumably the more I draw the more my style will emerge – and at least that’s a good excuse for me to do as much drawing as possible in the meantime 🙂