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How to find your art style

If you were asked to make a list of your favourite artists, chances are you’d be able to explain the small quirks or creative decisions they’ve made that made an impact on you. You might have even tried to recreate these styles in your own pieces.

But is honing a style – either someone else’s or your own – an achievable goal? Or is it counter-intuitive to your development as an artist? The answers depend on how you want to work, and to figure everything out you need to listen to your instincts. This article explores how different artists have developed a ‘look’.

For more advice on honing your art, explore our guide to mastering different art techniques, and our roundup of tutorials exploring how to draw just about anything.

Djamila Knopf’s style is quiet and contemplative (Image credit: Djamila Knopf)

Various factors contribute to the development of a style. For fantasy illustrator Djamila Knopf, it can all be traced back to watching Sailor Moon for the first time. “The minute that intro came on I was completely mesmerised,” she explains. “To my five year-old self, the colours, the style, the story, the transformation scenes – it was all perfect. From then on, I drew Sailor Moon fan art non-stop and tried to emulate the style.”

Today Knopf describes her work as evoking a “sense of wonder and nostalgia”, which sounds like a fitting way of carrying forward her formative anime experience. “I use colours that are far from realistic and so they create a more dream-like, alternate reality.”

Image: Toni Infante

Toni Infante describes his style as a mix of East and West (Image credit: Toni Infante)

Freelance illustrator Toni Infante had a similar experience upon discovering manga. “Dragon Ball was probably the first one I came across,” he says. “Seeing those powerful characters with weird hair really left an impression on me. I think it’s still easy to see the influence of Dragon Ball writer and illustrator Akira Toriyama on my style, which includes plenty of dynamic shapes and angles.”

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