No matter what you do, whether it be painting characters or drawing crap, a familiar style - your style - always seems to surface. C'mon, name me your favorite artist and you'll definitely like a particular feature of his or her art - whether it be the way the artist renders characters, or the color style (fine art style or pastel or comic-book style) or any of that good stuff.

Every contemporary digital artist seems to have their own take on the whole Space Marine thing

If you've drawn say uuh... fan art, like I have been for a while, you can see my uniquely odd style of drawing on my old works. It's just there. So well, why do I bring this topic up? I found this topic on I wanted to talk about it, you know - how does a person's style emerge?

Roosketch began the topic, and he sounded kinda pissed off:
How did your style come... did you just draw and draw and eventually it appeared? Did you draw something one day, notice one part you liked about it and tried that in the rest of your drawings or has it been there from the start?

I'm looking to become an illustrator and so I'm drawing as much as I can. It's not a lot really, but it's frustrating when I draw something, take a moment to look at it and end up thinking this looks like someone else could've drawn it... It's the quirky things that make a piece memorable I find... just as with photography, you have to play with light and depth of field so you get strange light effects or blurry bits as well as focused bits because otherwise it's just recording what the eye can see anyway!

This may not carry much weight, since i'm still very much an amateur, but i've noticed that some degree of style is just natural. Have 2, 5, 10, any amount of people draw something and i'd put money down that they'll all be different. As much as improving and evolving as an artist is technical , observation and perception lend just as much to the work we produce. Isn't style just the sum of our experiences and observations as artists?

May be there are other ways, these are the ways I can think of to develop a drawing style:
1. copy and learn from a favourite artist
2. learn from a number of artists and combine those attributes which you think work best
3. learn the basic skills and develop a style from one's own preferences

I think each way has its pros and cons.

Caravaggio pretty much was known for a particular style of painting, which a lot of other folks copied off

May be everyone has some natural style which if developed will look different from everyone else (may be not a big diff, just a bit diff). The reason why it is so hard to develop a personal style is because the natural preference is somewhat not strong enough. When one copy or learn from the same artist work for a long time, some day one's own preferences will be replaced by that artist's preferences.

For an individual artist, style, at its best, is what happens when you push your skills as far as they can go. If you try to impose a style onto your art, it will prevent you from pushing your skills to the max. So don't fret over style. Just make art to the best of your ability, and style will happen.

i have found that style comes from what i am inspired from or doing a lot of. i would not be so worried about developing a style, just look for inspiration and what catches your eye, then try it yourself. naturally what works will stay with you. currently i seem to be big on vectors and fat contour lines, particularly from a lot of the work i do which revolves around cartoons etc etc. i think style has become a problem for me, trying to break out of it is the real challenge. im really into architecture and simple shapes lines these days, its starting to show through in some of the stuff i do.

most importantly surround yourself with variety. take the good parts of everything. style will find its way through and start to shine once u becoem comfortable in doing what you do.

Anime and its art style has been widely criticized in forcing artist to draw a very specific way, not allowing much growth in developing his or her style - naturally, this point of view has been met with some opposition

I think style always comes from somewhere else, inspiration from someone else. Nothing comes from nothing. Look at some of your favorite artist's work, try to combine some of them. I always like Tetsuya Nomura's style(FFVII, VIII,X, and Kingdom Hearts), have been doing it since 1997 when FFVII came out. And, now that I've seen Marko's and Wesley's style, i try to incorporate all of them to form something i think fits me.

Erwin Madrid's lush painting style really shows off his interesting style Erwin Madrid's Portfolio

I mean, whew! How the hell do you quantify style? That's a question for the folks who've been studying and practicing art for a lifetime, phd type question. And then the answer they give would probably be incomprehensible to many.

A thought occurs, there are many different layers of style. You know, your style in drawing faces, style in drawing architecture, style in painting either, etc.

That just leads back to the inevitable question, what IS style? Is it something quantifiable, like "an artist's divergence from realism (i.e., "photorealism")" Or is it something more subjective like, "whatever is most uniquely recognizable about an artist's work - i.e., whatever it is that makes his work unmistakable, to the extent it exists at all"

Go crazy thinking about that stuff.

I think a lot of it might come down to what the artist, consciously or not, admires in what he perceives in the world (including within himself) - that will tend to come out in his work.

I know this much, I agree with Seedling that style will happen; it might be problematic to start forcing the issue.

I suppose a lot of 'serious' people despise anime, but you have to admit, ever since its popularity skyrocketed in the Western world, a lot of artists, such as Mark Brunet, have take it, and sorta made it his own, and for that I'm grateful
BlueFley/Mark Brunet's Portfolio

Some clarifications:
1. Way 3 I mentioned above:"learn the basic skills and develop a style from one's own preferences"

normally doesn't mean one can really develop everything, still needs to find inspirations, but may be not as much as Way 2,

2. Way 2 I mentioned above:"learn from a number of artists and combine those attributes which you think work best"

personal preference still comes to play of course but this way is more analytical than Way 3

3. These are just some classifications for ease of discussion, I guess not many people purely do in any of the 3 ways above, just a matter of relative importance

4. Speaking of cons. No way above always work. For way 2, combining different attributes may not look good if this cannot be done seamlessly. For way 3, the resulting style may be one which is not as distinctive as one wants, or may be it's very unique but the market doesn't need, and of course it may also be a great and unique one everyone likes

My thoughts:
Well, that's style for you. Every style (save for anime in most cases) is unique. Just keep drawing, and lets see, shall we?


  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. > Anime and its art style has been
    > widely criticized in forcing artist
    > to draw a very specific way, not
    > allowing much growth in developing
    > his or her style -

    In my experience, this only applies to people who do not know how to draw or, alternatively, do not bother to learn how to draw in any way, save for imitating someone else's artwork. It's not exclusive to Japanese styles, of course, and a simple look at how Katsuhiro Ohtomo and Leiji Matsumoto, both coming from classic Osamu Tezuka idolisation, have diverged over the years is both fascinating and testimonious to the faultiness of such an arguement.

    Pure and simple: The nature of Japanese art as a mass-produced, media-saturating format has made it so that, yes, much of it looks very similar. But how could one not say the same thing about Marvel/DC comics, or Italian-inspired comickers?--Ultimately, all the truly great artists ARE the ones who branch-out on their own, comics or otherwise.

    Just copying stuff is lazy and, heh heh, research it--it's what led to the Dark Ages. :(

  3. ChrisK Says:
  4. Trust me, I've read just about every anti-Anime thread on Conceptart and deviantArt boards, and you could probably find some of those arguments posted here for posterity. I probably should have mentioned this is a "follow up" to my other dealings with anti-anime, but I thought it was already a given if you've been reading this blog for some time now...

    But I mean, yeah sure, I've heard people bring up those anime legends in defense of the style, and how commercialization sort of ruined anime as an art form over the years. I've got no qualms with that. I think though that the arguments I've read say that anime, due to its inherent simplicity, is constricting in how you draw facial features, anatomy, etc.

    I had a friend who went to art school, who was an excellent anime artist. The moment she started drawing that stuff in the classroom, she got scolded by the professor.

    Anime has a stigma as well among a lot of people. You could say that adopting the style of other Western comickers would also lead to stagnation, well yeah, that could true. But learning is a continuous process, as I've learned from Peter Chung's interviews. You gotta keep experimenting and seeing what fits you and your future clients best.

  5. nodeerskulls Says:
  6. I, for one, think style is the 'print' each artist leaves in the way his pen moves on paper, in the way he sees things, in the way his lines come out once said pen touches afore-mentioned paper.

    Once you draw, no matter what you draw, sooner or later, you, as an artist, will start drawing it your way - you will not just copy it, you will interpret it.

    Long story short, I think style is that artist's interpretation of what he sees and how he translates it into the medium he works with.

    And well, the anime argument is such a dead horse it isn't even funny. Anime has its own individuality, as it has many branches (as an avid manga reader myself, I sometimes marvel at the differences between various 'authors'); however, said individuality has been smothered by copy-cats done for convenience, less cost and less skill.

  7. ChrisK Says:
  8. Nice to hear from you Sugar Kid! I agree with what you've said, because I have been more and more of my individual style come out as I copy certain 'Master Drawings' and the human figure. =)

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