Who's got style? We all do.
However, this is a question I get all the time. Budding illustrators (I fall into this group - maybe we all do) ask me that question repeatedly: How do you develop your style and how can I find mine? This is the wrong question to ask. This shouldn't be an end goal, it shouldn't be fixated and maybe it shouldn't even be verbalized. It should be explored.
All I know is my own personal experience, but when people mention my style as if it was a predetermined choice, it can make me feel stuck. We cannot create in a box, we must always be growing. I wanted to share my progression to visually share with you how I've found my 'style'.
Here's some early work from 1990, when I used the pseudonym, eccRBeb, which unfortunately didn't stick with me.
In college, our program was very heavily based on realism. It gave me a good start and a great point of departure as well. This was from 2008, Oil on Board.
Shortly after this was painted, I jumped off the realistic bridge and never finished anything realistic ever again. I did have some classes that were geared towards stylized work too, and I preferred those, only because I felt as though I could finally find what it was that I had to offer the world. Freshly graduated, I worked like a horse because I felt really free about what I was making. A lot of weird and sometimes terrible art got made:
Though this work is different and old and it makes me cringe, some of it reminds me of that really fresh love for making things.
Figuring out how to actually make a client happy was new as well. It's an interesting give and take, being an illustrator.
Then I went through this weird Elizabethan collar phase. My characters started to get sweeter. I also started layering paint a bit more and started getting heavy into commercial work.
And I guess that leads us here. To today. Where I continue to find what it is I need to be making. Below is a piece that in not quite finished, gouache and collage on paper.
Here is my style advice: Make things you want to make and your style will find you. There's nothing worse than finding excellent illustrators wasting their talent on a style someone has already manifested. Be inspired, steal, and borrow but find what you have to offer.
Signing out. Until next time, xoxo.