YOUR *own* STYLE, YOUR *own* VOICE:
This is something which I cannot stress enough - developing your own style of drawing. Every time somebody asks me about my art or how to pursue a career in illustration, I always tell them first to find their own voice and develop their own style. Don’t ever try to be somebody else - this is the ultimate failure of any artist or illustrator. We are all unique and we each have special qualities…remind yourself of these when you are creating.
Remember what people like your friends, your family tell you about yourself and build on that. Somebody might tell you, ‘you are eccentric or you are moody’…then go and express this in your style of illustration and drawing. By discovering your own style, you are not only developing a signature that will make you instantly recognizable, you are also staying true and honest to yourself. But with that said, you can also have fun by referencing and creating an homage to your favourite artist. I’ve done this a few times in my own work, whether it was Dali, Warhol or Lichtenstein.
I think it’s good to give people an idea of what excites you as an artist and by doing this, you are attracting the right type of person you want to follow your work.
I also adore the work of James Jean, but I will never be him or draw like him so why would I waste my time trying to be something I’m not? It might take time (it took me around 2-3 years) but find your voice, find your style and develop, experiment and practice. It would be a pretty boring art scene if every single artist worked in the same style, wouldn’t it?
A visual notebook is an excellent way to start. You can buy a small A5 notebook and a biro and just start scribbling down things that drop into your head, visuals that excite you or even stick in things like cuttings from magazines or a url from a website. My illustrations usually start with a thumbnail roughed into a notebook. And again, as I said above - experiment! The most groundbreaking things in the creative world are mostly discovering by accident and by experimenting.
I’d love to see any sketches or techniques you use to draw with - please feel free to email me or post a link!
Drawing Tip 1:
Don’t be intimidated/Get comfortable
The first thing that I find with people who want to learn to draw is the feeling of apprehension and confidence. Remember that when you set out to draw something, it is impossible to aim for a completely lifelike, perfectly rendered illustration straight off. There are illustrators and artists whose art looks are technically superb but they still have errors and imperfections in their work and they have spent years developing their style (which I’ll get into later) They have honed their skills by practicing everyday.
Don’t run before you can walk, I myself have scrapped (Yes! Torn up and thrown in my trashcan) a few pages before I get my idea the way I want down on the page. Also, set up a space where you can feel relaxed and comfortable to draw in.
Remember to watch your back and take breaks if plan to draw for a few hours in the day. I do my drawing in blocks; for example, I’d spend five hours on day drawing, two the hours the next or half hour etc. I also like to give myself a full whole day drawing, like switching off my computer and Social Media sites and sitting down to practice or develop something new. If you like to work with noise, then work in a busy space…I myself work in a very quite room but I do put on my iPod the odd time as I’m drawing. I also like to have a pot of tea or water ready to drink so I can take my break.
I’d like to hear from you, please leave a comment or any tips you have yourself ;-) Philip.