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Let's talk about style
what is style and how to find your style?
Hello everyone, Happy April Happy spring. in this month’s newsletter, I would like to share a bit of my thoughts about style. It is an old subject, I am sure you can search millions of general answer online. but this time, I want to present some of my artwork to show my personal practice to this question.
what is style
What is style? to my understanding, it is a unique way of drawing that distinguish you from everyone else. your style is who you are. if you are serious, detailed focused person, naturally you draw differently from someone who are careless. here I would like to show some of pages in my sketchbook:
There was a period of time that I want to explore the licensing market, so I practiced to draw a lot of beautiful flora and delicate watercolor pieces. they are nice work, (I think) but somehow I don’t feel excited when drawing .
the second piece is some random experiment in my sketchbook, it doesn’t serve for any purpose. but I really like the lines, the energy expressed on the paper. and it is so stress releasing when doodling it. Personally, I enjoyed much more compare to those previous work. technically, I can do those delicate lines, however, I feel I am a careless person and never pay attention to details. I like loose line and roughy sketch. they are the elements speak to me most.
To sum up, I would say style is drawing what you feel most comfortable and satisfying. Your style is your personality.
style VS consistency
As a children’s picture book illustrator, the most important thing is to keep the consistency. It is so ture. art directors will carefully examine your portfolio, if you can’t guarantee a consistent look, they will worry that you don’t have the ability to handle a 32 page book. However, I don’t think this will be the reason for you to stop exploring. I know some artists have a very consistent style and applied it to every book they did. using the same technique, same way of drawing people. For every book I worked on, I try to find a new way to do it.For the simple reason that I hate to repeat myself.
Butterflies on the first day of school I use acrylic
My story friend I use water color and color pencil
Everyone loves lunchtime but zia I use color pencil and PS
I don’t know if they are consistent in style, I try to make variation for each book.
If you would like to explore the different medium, don’t be afraid . make sure to have at least three pieces and keep it consistent.
Finding the right look for each book
Each picture book has a different story, different theme. Each book deserve one best visual solution , tailored for its story. Here I would like to show some of my process of finding “the one”
Dandelion boy is my first author-illustrated picture book, published in China. it really takes me a long time to hatch this baby. I started my story seed back in 2016, and take several years to polished to the final manuscript. the visual look also revised for several round.
The first few round of greenish water color look, feels refreshing, BUT I don’t think they are memorable. I was really struggled at that time until 2019, when I attended SCBWI LA. I was fortunate to attend a lecture given by Corinna Luyken. she was introducing her process of creating her picture book My heart. I was totally blown away by her style and deeply attracted to the technique she was using——- Monoprint. after doing a few self learning online, I started to experiment it myself.
Yes, IT IS A MEDIUM hard to control, but it is also a lot of fun. you just let it go , and be little bit spontaneous. sometimes it is a disaster, but sometimes the paints will surprise you. I end it up creating tons of dandelion, and I scanned them into the computer , selecting the one I like most, and then digitally compositing in the photoshop.
here I will show some more original artwork vs final look
because I use oil based materials to create monoprint, it is very hart to add any details, so I drew my characters on a seperate sheet and scanned them, let the photoshop to do the assembling.
I hope you enjoy reading this month post, and be bold to try out different medium. don’t worry style too much , they will come naturally in your process.