In this guest post, painter Angela Brittain shares her tips on developing a distinctive artistic style, and explains why this is so important. To see more of Angela’s work, visit www.angelabrittain.co.uk.
Creating a style that makes you recognizable as an artist
During my time as an art tutor and full-time artist, one of the things I am often asked by other artists is how they can make their work distinctively their own.
When we are starting our journey, to produce a picture that either “looks like” or is colourful and harmonious is often an achievement in itself. We look at the work and are pleased with the result.
As we progress and start to show our work, it feels like a very crowded world out there. Lots of artists producing some amazing work and quite likely, very similar to what we are doing.
The work starts to sell to friends and family or we may just want to keep them for ourselves. What I began to realize fairly early on was how important the overall “brand” of the artist is. This seems a very corporate word to use in the world of fine art but is just as relevant.
Some of the most successful artists in the Royal Academy have such a distinctive style that you do not need to see the signature to know who painted it. Have a look at the work of Eileen Cooper or Mick Rooney as examples.
Why is this crucial stage in the artist journey so important? In my experience the people who buy my work become fans and will buy again and again. Not necessarily buying an expensive painting every time – it may be a print or a card but it is because they have affection for my style.
I’m not sure I have quite cracked this yet and my journey continues too. I enjoy trying new subjects and sometimes feel I am “pushing” the style rather than letting it influence the work but I know the more I work at it, it will come.
Gauguin had this problem. Going to his exhibition at the Tate Modern last year, there was one painting where you could see he had found that elusive stream of comfortable style that made his later work fly.
My advice is to follow some simple steps which will help you to achieve your style:
- Find an artist whose style fits with what you would like to achieve
- Do a painting copying their style
- Do the same with two or three more artists
- Decide which one came most naturally to you
- Put all reference to the chosen artist’s work somewhere, where even if they pulled your teeth you couldn’t see it
- Paint your next picture with their style in mind
- Paint or draw something every day for a week and then ask someone if they all look like your work and couldn’t be anyone else’s
Good luck and please share your journey with me by contacting me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have an idea for an article you’d like to share with the ArtWeb community, please get in touch.