How to Develop Your Own Art Style

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Get easy tips to develop your own art style. These fun experiments will help you discover your art creation process.

watercolor and gouache painting of watermelon slices in sketchbook

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I need to start this post with a caveat: Your style will continue to evolve as you practice. So, even if you figure out your style today, it may look different in the future.

Don’t get hung up on it. Just keep creating.

These tips work for traditional or digital art. Try different digital brushes to try new styles.

How to Develop Your Own Art Style

When you’re starting out, developing your art style can be difficult. Here are some tips to get started.

Choose 3 Words that Describe Your Art

I recently saw a viral TikTok series about describing your fashion style in 3 words and realized that it can apply to pretty much every aspect of your life.

Most likely, the first word will come pretty easily to you; the 2nd word will feel a little generic, but you may struggle with the 3rd word. The 3rd word can be your aspirational word.

Another way to narrow it down is to think about words that DON’T describe your art style.

Here are a few words to get you started:

  • Playful
  • Realistic
  • Whimsical
  • Edgy
  • Colorful
  • Muted
  • Monochromatic
  • Dreamy
  • Magical
  • Moody
  • Serious
  • Cute
  • Abstract
  • Nature-based
  • Textured
  • Multi-media

My own art is playful, cute, and colorful. It’s NOT serious or realistic.

Look for Inspiration

If you’re having trouble coming up with those three words, it’s time to look for inspiration.

Make a board on Pinterest (it can be private if you want) and find art you like and feel is a style you want to go in. (This is not about copying other people’s artwork. You’re trying to learn from it.)

Pin as many images as possible. Ideally, you need at least 20, but I recommend saving way more. Pin images that evoke feelings and even color palettes that you like.

When you’re done, look at them as a whole and try to figure out what they have in common. Is it the color palettes, the linework, the subject matter, the art media used, or other elements?

Do you feel like they represent you as a person and, in turn, your art?

What do you like about these images? What can you incorporate into your own art?

Experiment

Experimenting is the best part of art. I love spending several hours playing with different art supplies and color schemes.

Different Media

Try painting the same subject in different media and media combinations. Pick something that you’re comfortable drawing and painting.

Try to stick to similar colors so that a bad color scheme doesn’t influence your opinion.

paintings of strawberries in different media

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • What media do you like the best?
  • Which media is the most fun to use?
  • What are you comfortable with?
  • What do you want to get better at?

Are there media types that you don’t like? What do you not like about them?

Experiment with different media combinations, such as adding ink and colored pencils to watercolor paintings.

By the way, it’s okay to like more than one thing. You will find other ways to unify your art.

Different Styles

Try out different styles for your art. You can use one subject again to try it out.

Styles can include realism, cartoonish, anime, illustrative, or even abstract.

Different Subjects

It’s also fun to try out different subjects.

I used to really love florals, but then I decided to try drawing and painting birds. From there, I discovered that I really love drawing animals, even if they are a bit silly-looking.

drawings of birds

I created these illustrations of birds while on vacation. I fell in love with drawing birds after this.

Different Elements of the Design

Experiment with different elements of the design.

Try adding linework. Add patterns to solid shapes. Shapes can be rounded or angular.

Try out textured backgrounds. Add texture to the design.

paintings of strawberries
Textured watercolor vs smooth color

Experiment with detailed illustrations versus minimal art.

Different Color Palettes

I’m not saying that your style is dependent on a specific color palette, but the colors probably have something in common.

Try muted tones, brights, pastels, and moody colors. Experiment with “ugly” colors; you may find a new favorite.

Here are some of my favorite ways to create new color palettes.

Keep a Sketchbook

Keeping a sketchbook is so important for a ton of reasons, but it’s such a great place to experiment with different styles and subjects.

watercolor and stamp painting of flowers in sketchbook

Practice, Practice, Practice

Even if you feel like you’ve nailed your style, keep practicing. It will get better and more defined as you go.

Own It

Now that you know what your style is, be proud of it. This is a note that I need to send to myself. Your silly little scribbles are you.

painting of watermelon in watercolor and gouache

It’s Okay to Change and Evolve

Keep in mind that it’s okay to change and evolve as you practice. I think we all start trying to draw realistically before developing our own style.

Pin for Later!

watercolor and stamp floral painting in sketchbook

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