How I found my Art Style

I get a lot of questions about my art style, so today I'm sharing a little bit about how I found my art style! We dig into some of my old sketchbooks and I go through some old art!


Video Transcription:

Hey guys, Today wanted to share with you the story behind how I found my art style. I think it's really interesting how different artists go about finding their own art style and developing it and the topic is always really fascinated me. So I thought I'd share my story behind how I found my art style.

Now our story begins way back in sixth grade. We had a reading assignment to read the Hobbit and this is sort of around the time that I was also doing a lot of writing and if you look back at a lot of my sketchbooks and notebooks and journals, I was doing a lot of fictional writing throughout my middle school and high school years.

Now along with writing I was also doing a little bit of trying and maybe not as much as you would think. I have always drawn and I've drawn for a very long time, but I wasn't a huge sketchbook user. I wasn't doing a lot in pencil and on paper I was actually doing a lot in the computer. And in my sketchbooks I was actually drawing a lot of maps. Now, this connects to the hobbit because we did an assignment and we had to read each chapter and that is what first introduced me to Tolkien's work and it's his maps that I can point back to and say I'm pretty sure that was an early influence.

Fast forward to high school and I was doing a lot of digital work in Photoshop. I was using a lot of like photo manipulation actually in this, while it doesn't necessarily relate directly to what I'm doing now actually was a huge asset. It allowed me to learn a little bit more about composition and also about color and light and combining different images into one photo. To make it look realistic you have to be able to figure out these kinds of things. I have been using Photoshop since then and knowing how to use Photoshop is invaluable.

Fast forward just a little bit more to college and I was doing some more work in a couple of illustration classes. Being able to try out these new and different media really helped me to figure out what it is I did and didn't like.

Now you get to a point in my life where things start getting interesting. I got married at 21. We moved to Japan because my husband was in the navy and after we moved to Japan, that was a real turning point for me because prior to that I was doing a lot of graphic design work, a lot of kind of freelance stuff, nothing really to do with illustration because I didn't go to school for illustration. And in Japan I had a lot of time to myself because my husband was away out at sea for six months at a time and I needed just to kind of rethink things. I was alone in a country that I found beautiful and wonderful and amazing and graphic design really just lost its thing for me. I didn't really want to keep pursuing freelance work and it just felt kind of empty and I wanted to go back to the artistic things that I found when I was much younger that I really enjoy doing.

So I took a class online. My first online class was actually Noah's Art camp. And that taught me a lot about what it takes to study art, how to study masters, uh, the importance of thumbnails, which are already kind of knew from graphic design because we did a lot of thumbnails in class. Moving on into just color studies, value studies, those sorts of things. That was all incredibly helpful for leveling up my Photoshop painting skills. There was about two years to three years there where I was doing a ton of work in Photoshop and I wanted to become what a lot of people want to become is a Magic artist because I loved landscapes and I had tried to develop this sort of painterly style I thought that maybe that was something I could try some, if not that then maybe book covers. Um, just ton of different illustration projects, perhaps concept art.

During that time I was also working on some more pieces that had to do with line work and they were very line focused, very line heavy, um, some that were kind of just whimsical cats. I did a whole cat calendar off of those and that was something I was doing at the same time that I was doing this other painterly style.

While I was in Japan, I started pursuing conventions and small shows. My very first show was a tiny little craft fair on the navy base and that resulted in just kind of a lot of exploration into what it is I wanted to be doing, how I wanted to focus.

All throughout this journey I had been honing in and focusing down on different things that I really knew I wanted to do. In Japan I did a couple more larger shows and I had a great experience. Now while we were still living in Japan, my husband and I decided to take advantage of living on that side of the world and head to New Zealand. We spent about two weeks down on the South Island driving around in a rented mini camper and just loving the gorgeous landscapes and sceneries. I had been there as a kid and I'm pretty sure we're both determined now to live there someday.

While I was there, I spent quite a bit of time doing sketches, plein air studies, sort of just playing with this new thing that I had, which was watercolors. Because I was a digital artist I couldn't bring the digital work with me on our trip and I really wanted a way to experience New Zealand through art and watercolor was what I decided to take with me. And it's that trip that I point back to as being the turning point for how I started down this watercolor path that I'm on now.

But without all those other things before that, I wouldn't be where I am. It took a lot of exploration, kind of wandering, trying a bunch of new things, learning a buch of new things, and really digging in deep to those things and then being able to give them up to get to where I am now.

The story doesn't end there though. I was actually in the US that fall and in 2015 I went to Illuxcon for the very first time and at that show I brought my watercolor work and my digital work and several friends of mine said, you need to be doing this other thing. This watercolor thing is working for you and that's what you should be focusing on and I am so grateful to them for just stepping out and saying, hey, this is probably the better option of the two things you're trying to do that don't really mix well.

I have found that every time I have focused in and honed in on my craft in some way that that has improved my work tremendously and I cannot stress enough that if you have a thing that you want to try and that you're doing, that you love focus in on that. Don't get too distracted by other things because you dilute your energy, you dilute your time, you do like dilute your artwork in your portfolio. This isn't for everyone. I realize, and this is just how I found my style, but it's worked for me really well.

I am so thankful for the amazing friends and my husband and family that have supported me through this entire journey so far. So where I am right now is a place that I am loving and enjoying. I have found watercolor to be such a relaxing medium. I love the way it works.

I have founded there is just, it feels like it has infinite possibilities and infinite ways of playing with it. I really want to master this craft. I've not lost sight of —I love digital work and I love that that place as well and maybe I will come back to it someday, but until then I am loving where I'm at.

I hope you have found this video inspiring or useful. If you have, please leave me a comment down below. I would love to know what you thought. Are you searching for your art style? Or have you seen other artists find their art style and you have no idea how to get there? If you haven't already, please hit that like and subscribe. I would love to see you in my next video because there are more coming up very soon. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you next time.