Stop Drawing Like Other People!
Developing artistic style is a huge concern for many beginner artists. One of the things that happens is that they start copying the styles of other artists that they admire. You can’t blame them, really. In fact, doing studies from the Old Masters is part of what you do in art school. But doing a study and copying are two different things.
A study of another artist is meant to examine how they handled the medium, perspective, line, lighting, etc. It’s not meant for you to create a precise copy. A study should help you understand how they solved those elements and how you can incorporate that understanding into your own art. And generally with copying, you don’t learn nearly as much.
I’ll admit that I copied other artists for a while, too. I had never drawn comic book characters before and I happened to be a huge fan of Jim Lee’s style. At the time he was drawing for The X-Men. I liked his style so much that I found myself trying to draw just like him.
The problem was, that wasn’t my style. It was his!
So my work ended up not being anything special. My work looked like someone who was trying to draw like Jim Lee. That’s not what I wanted. I want people to look at my work and know it was my work, not someone else’s.
So then, how do you develop artistic style?
Here’s the ironic part…
However you draw naturally, IS your style. As you gain experience, that style will evolve with you. Trying to copy someone else’s artistic style is like trying to copy their handwriting. It doesn’t work. It looks forced, like you’re trying too hard. That’s because that style isn’t yours and isn’t natural for you. Think about it…your natural style is like your signature. You wouldn’t want anyone attempting to forge your signature, would you? And in fact, experts can tell the difference between the original person’s signature and anyone’s attempt to duplicate it.
So don’t worry so much about developing artistic style. It will happen naturally. In fact, you…