When you look at famous artists it's easy to see that they all have a certain style or subject that they work with, a niche that makes them so recognizable.
I noticed while in college that some students already had their style, and others were completely lost. I was kind of in the middle.
My style was minimal, clean design, which to be honest isn't all that unique. Most designs are minimal so that didn't really separate me in any way from everyone else. But that didn't seem to bother me too much at the time. I was doing what I loved and the fact that I was hiding in the shadows not knowing who I really was as an artist didn't matter to me, yet.
I won't niche my creativity
This is something I really am a believer in, you hear it all the time, especially in the blogging community, you need to find your niche to be successful in today's busy world. But I just couldn't do it. I even wrote a post about not niching my creativity.
I love to draw, paint, sketch, illustrate, hand letter, design, and much more. How could I just eliminate most of those and focus on only one type of art.
As you can see below, I was all over the place, I had many different classes over the years and loved all of them, ceramics, drawing, life drawing, 2-D design, graphic design, photography, typography, packaging design and web design, I wanted to do it all. And I had to find a way to do that yet still be recognized as me.
The start of it all
It all started to come together last spring when I decided to try hand lettering. This is how it looked, not too great I know, remember I was still a beginner to this. Being an artist doesn't mean you're good at all of it.
I tried calligraphy and more structured letterforms but it just wasn't working, too many rules and not enough fun.
Besides hand lettering, I loved to experiment with paint, yes by this time I loved paint because I discovered abstract art. I have never done abstract art, I always wanted my art to look realistic, but in reality, I don't have that kind of talent. So this is the way I went.
I also loved to doodle and illustrate. I liked working with watercolors, ink and colored pencils to create my illustrations.
I had too many art forms I loved, add graphic design to the mix and you end up with a big pile of "I don't f*ing know who I am!"
I didn't know if I should put illustrator, designer, painter, photographer or all of the above on my business card. I just didn't know where my focus should be.
Remember I still didn't want to niche down. What I wanted was a style.
Participating in the100dayproject
Have you heard of The 100 Day Project ? I decided to give it a go this year to challenge myself and maybe by the end of it I would find what I was looking for.
I figured if I could stick to something for a 100 days then it was something worth pursuing for a long time.
The decision had to be made. What would I do every day for a 100 days that combined most of my passions? These were my choices:
MINI ACRYLIC PAINTINGS
I decided to combine lettering, watercolor, illustration and abstract painting all into one.
The final result
Combining all those separate art forms, I discovered this. Bright, colorful, illustrated lettering, as well as watercolor abstract art. You can see my daily art challenge at Letterbefun or follow on Instagram at #100daysofletterbefun
Don't get me wrong, I still love graphic design and love everything else. But this has become my priority, this is what I enjoy the most because it's me and it combines most of my passions into one nice package, I have finally found my style.
So now even if I do just a painting or just a design, all I have to do is make it fun, bright, colorful and full of life. Because that is my style.
Do you want to FIND YOUR style?
Step 1 | photograph all of your art
These don't have to be fancy photos, you can use your phone, but try to take photos of everything you love to do.
Step 2 | Print them out
Now that you have all of your photos taken, print them out. Don't make them big and use fancy expensive paper. Just regular paper will do, and don't make them large either. 3" x 5" is plenty.
Step 3 | Find similarities
Cut them out lay them out on the floor. Look at all that you have done, this is you, these are your passions. Try to find similarities between all the different photos you have in front of you. Maybe you have a reoccurring theme you didn't notice before, or you always use certain colors. Write down what you find, maybe you realize that you love some pieces more than others, why is that? Dig deep.
Sometimes it's helpful to get a second opinion. Maybe you don't see your style, but someone else does. Ask a friend if they see any similarities or themes when they look at your art.
Step 4 | Combine mediums or styles
Once you narrow it down just a little, but you still find yourself loving a few different things, try to combine them to create a separate style. I loved lettering and watercolor separately, but combining them made me love them even more.
Want a little more help? I have another post about finding your creative style.
What has been your biggest challenge when discovering your style, have you always had a style and how did you find it? Comment below and let's chat.