I wanted to talk about a very juicy topic in the art world, how to find your art style. I was recently asked this question and did a whole YouTube video on it here.
Looking back on what I did to find my style, I realized there were TWO parts to my process.
Step 1. Pick 3-5 Artist to Study
Beginning artists will tell me how much they love another artist's work, but then I start to ask them what they love about it, and they don't know. You need to analyze why you love your favorite artist's work so you can incorporate it into your own. I also stress using 3-5 artists because if you only use 1-2 artists, you will copy, which is not how you gain a style.
I came up with five categories to analyze your favorite artist's work.
i. Color - what artist color palettes are you being drawn to, bright or muted? Is there a theme for their colors? Do they use lots of colors or only a few?
ii. Opaque vs. Translucent - does the artist you are analyzing paint opaque with a thick application of paint where you can't see through the layers, or do they thin their paint, so it is translucent.
iii. Shapes/Forms - what edges are the shapes and forms creating? Rounded/organic or geometric/sharp angles? This will play into what material the artist is using (I'll explain in Materials).
iv. Composition - is the artist using the Rule of Thirds? How are they using lines in their work?
V. Materials- does the artist use a square or rounded brush? This will significantly affect the overall look of the painting. I rarely use a rounded brush because I love the look of a squared-off stroke.
Step 2. Repeat a composition over and overdoing the following.
i. Pick a photo you've taken of a landscape that you don't mind painting 7- 10 times
ii. Now, you will pick from your 3-5 artist a color palette from artist A and then materials from artist B focusing on the shapes/forms artist C incorporates. This allows you to integrate the artist's work you love without copying. You aren't using their composition; you are using your reference photo and mixing in little parts of things you like from MULTIPLE artists you love into ONE painting.
iii. Repeat this step multiple times, coming up with different combinations each time! Try a color palette from artist C with materials from artist A, etc.
As you continue to evolve and grow as an artist, you will continue to find a new artist you love and mix in little things here and there to add to your style. The beautiful part is your style is always going to be evolving, which is a GOOD thing!
*I want to be very clear, do not copy another artist's work and pass it off as your own. You take 10-15% from MULTIPLE artist you love, mixed with your own style, and eventually you have created a style that is YOURS.
Remember to have fun with it and practice practice practice!