015: Scope and Style
Reframing the question of style.
#style #beginner #taste
When you’re starting out, style is such a big question.
It’s the only thing you want to talk about or try to learn.
It’s elusive and alluring.
Artists commonly think:
“If I could just figure out my style, everything else will fall into place.
On the contrary, if you’ve worked a bit, this question of style becomes tedious even boring to engage in. Unless we’re talking about developing a new style, then that’s exciting again.
The problem with talking about style is that it’s way too big a scope to start talking about. I think it might be a good approach to scope the conversation down a bit before discussing it.
Closing the gap
When discussing matters of style in illustrating picture books, instead of speaking in generalities, I suggest scoping it down and attaching it to concrete projects. Here are some better conversation ideas than a general conversation about style.
What style can you execute that best serves your personal vision as an artist as well as the needs of the book?
How much work in a single style do I need to generate for my portfolio to get work for a specific market?
How can I modify my style to take advantage of physical constraints? (e.g 2 color printing)?
How does your style affect how you promote your creative business?
What styles are in demand and why?
How do you feel talking about style, and do you have any ideas for scoping down conversations about style?
I was a writer long before I was an illustrator, so I always think of style in terms of "voice". I think voice or style are really an artist's point of view, an expression of individual experiences, training, and happy accidents (as Bob Ross would say).
I think the key to finding work is not trying to match your style to what you think the market demands, but building a portfolio that showcases your voice to attract the kinds of editors, art directors, etc. that are attracted to your point of view.