…and something new to help
There are a lot of articles out there on how to find your own style artistically. There are even some pretty great courses and classes on the subject. I’ve read many of the articles and taken one really wonderful course. Everything I’ve read/taken however focuses on the physical aspect of creating your artwork. Learning by emulating other artists, doing assorted artistic exercises or stretching your horizons by doing something like taking a class in acrylics when your artistic comfort zone is watercolors, these are all great ways to grow as an artist.
Yet, in my experience one thing seems to be missing from the equation: knowing who YOU are as an artist. Not what you are drawn to for media or whether you gravitate toward the whimsical or realistic, landscapes or portraits. No, this is about who you actually are, your hopes, dreams and beliefs, including limiting ones. The class I took touched on this briefly and I understand why they didn’t devote more time to it. People expect tips and tricks for making their art stand out from others, to create something that people will look at and say, “That’s so and so’s work”. So having someone tell you to examine who you really are and get to know yourself sounds kind of counterproductive.
However, if you really stop and think about it, how in the world can you expect to develop your own artistic style if you’ve never taken the time to get to know yourself. As crazy as it sounds, few of us ever dive any deeper than a surface introspection regarding what really makes us tick. Sure, we know our own favorite colors, foods and movies. We may even have a few goals laid out and/or dreams we want to pursue. The majority of us spend so much time trying to understand others and make them happy that we fail to stop, ask and answer the really deep questions that can clarify who we really are. Our self-reflection is often limited to unconscious thought processes.
This is why many psychologists believe in the importance of asking ourselves (and more importantly answering) questions that not only cause us to reflect on our own beliefs, goals and dreams, but that in turn are a catalyst for more questions that can take us deeper into understanding just who we really are.
For example, if we stop and ask ourselves why we have a certain belief, it can then branch off into questions like “Is it a valid belief?” or “Am I comfortable with this belief?” or even “Is this truly my belief or did I simply adopt it because my (parents, significant other, etc.) held this belief?”
Asking myself some of these challenging questions has made me much more aware of the reasons who I am and why I tend to do the things I do. It’s also been a catalyst for some pretty major changes in my life that have probably been needed for a long, long time.
The bonus side effect of this inner soul searching? I can see my artistic style developing.
The truth is your artistic style will grow and change the same way you grow and change as a person, and this is why knowing yourself is such a powerful element of finding your artistic style. So before you go looking for one more article, class or course on developing your own style, consider truly getting to know yourself first.
To help myself and others I’ve created a new zine to encourage asking and answering those challenging questions and uncover who we really are on our creative journey. The answers to these questions can help you no matter what type of creative journey you are embarking on; artists, writers, family historians, journalers, bloggers, vloggers ; knowing the who, what and whys that form you will open new creative channels. Click here to find out how to get my em•POW•erment zine.