My creative style:
It’s a scary beast isn’t it? The ever elusive, often shy, seldom seen – the creative style or artistic style. It feels like that Lumos magic that a mere muggle could only dream of? Or It feels like that pot of gold at the end of the longest rainbow. A bit over-dramatic do you think? Maybe, but since we pursue it with such vigor, yet lament when it’s not so easy to find, those two statements might well be true.
So lately I’ve been thinking about my own creative style or rather whether I have one or not. I have been asking myself some questions;
What is a creative or artistic style anyway?
Do I need one?
If yes – Why do I need one?
And how do I get one?
These are a lot of deep thinking questions to answer, if you are ready to dive into creative style. So if you’ve found your style brilliant already, well-done and good for you. But if you haven’t, then you are not alone. The question of your creative or artistic style probably raises a sense of apprehension in many a creative person. It’s all about your creative journey and delving deeper into what you want from creativity. But it’s apparently really important. It’s how you stand out from the crowd and how you become a unique and original artist (but there are no really original ideas anymore are they, so I read somewhere?).
For me have to admit I am probably nowhere near finding my creative style or artistic style, I am pretty eclectic/diverse in my passions and what I like. That’s probably why I like mixed media art journaling and hybrid-written journaling. And this should in someway inform my style, along with my mindful, wellbeing approach. Only it doesn’t, so I need to delve into the question of creative style further.
What, how, where and when
But I believe that questioning your what, why and how are always good in creative practice (along with where and when). They are questions within themselves! So if you ever find yourself struggling about a subject or what to write/paint you may want to start with using these questions.
Styles change in popularity (like fashion), always evolving, changing (and sometimes even going back and forth in time). I feel that maybe some other better question for me to consider (at least for the moment) are;
Where am I on my journal page?
Whats my story?
And have I learned from other artists?
Which artists inspire me most?
What do I like about these artists?
How have I put all these ideas together on the page?
What techniques have I used?
What does the idea of ‘putting more of me on the page’ mean to me? If anything?
What I like or dislike? Either generally in life or on the page.
What are my favourite colours or least favourite colours?
What is/are my favourite methods/techniques/tools?
What are my least favourite methods?
What do I usually feel like drawing, painting, creating?
What am I drawn to create?
What comes intuitively or feels intuitive to me when I create?
And the most important question is maybe WHY?
Why do I like drawing dogs is probably easy coz I have a dog. But why I like painting in a certain way is much harder. Maybe this is because I have learnt a certain way of painting. I use to love blue but now I like yellows and pinks and light greens. I love messy painting (just slapping paint down like a three year old), I like collage (images or scrap paper). Which just creates more questions:
Why do I like painting in a certain way?
Why do I want to embrace my inner child and play?
Why have my colour preferences changed?
Why do I pick certain images or types of scrap paper?
Why does a certain thing represent, symbol or verbalise something which may resonate/feel a particular way for me or you?
And the list of questions goes on. So when you ask about what my creative style is, you are letting out a can of worms. Probably for both me and you! So remember that you may have your own questions or follow-up questions to help you along your journey. You may not be able to answer some of these questions, but that’s part of the journey and think of it as part of the intrigue rather than a problem. Maybe if we had all the answers then there would be no need for the journey.
MIndful creation – the alternative
Another way you may consider creative style is to think about the journey and where it has led you and where it seems to be leading at the present moment
So then it’s about following the journey that is presented to us, following the questions both mindfully and intuitively. Mindfully means that you are present when you are creating, you are feeling how it makes you feel, you are aware of the brush in your hand and you paint intuitively what feels good to you. This may mean that you don’t focus on the outcome of what you are doing. For example, may go with your first thought, trust your creative instinct about what marks to make or what to draw. Or if you don’t feel confident that just ‘wing-it’ do anything on the page, draw a shape or look at a picture and draw it.
You are focused in the moment and are non-judgemental of the outcome.
That’s right I said no-judgement, be non-judgemental, do not judge. Yes I appreciate that is difficult to do, but let’s consider this further. Your art isn’t good or bad – it just is art. But oh it’s so much more than that, it’s your experience (both visually and physically – because art involves movement) in the world at that moment. So, just accept it and let it be. Let it be what it is at that moment. Easier said than done, yes I know! It certainly takes practice and commitment to develop this habit. As I’ve wrote before it’s also a great life skill to learn. Nevertheless if you are struggling it may be helpful to start with just giving yourself a gold star for just creating the art in the first place. You’re already a winner in my book! Many people don’t get to this point of actually creating. And if that’s you, if you haven’t created in a while take my advice. Pick up a pen or a pencil and doodle for five minutes right this minute to break that pattern! Make a start today, just doodle. Don’t wait until tomorrow, embrace this creative moment now.
To me that’s what creative living is following the journey whatever method you choose to use.
My tips about moving forward in your journey
So to answer this question I offer some tips that I am currently using myself ;
- Journal, Journal, journal these questions, your own questions.
- Collect inspiration from everywhere (yes you can look at pinterest and gather images, but try to use what you gather creatively in some way).
- Use colours, the colours you like and possibly colours you don’t like (use a colour wheel, mix different colours)..
- Consider what you think certain things represent or symbolise to you (for example does a flower mean something blooming for you?).
- See what type of things come natural to you and exploring the things with self-compassion that don’t come naturally.
- Consider what courses or tutorials you want to take rather than seeing what just comes up (see the blogpost Goals Galore 2 for a project plan to help you).
- Focus on how you are representing your internal world (what you perceive, think and/or feel) and your external world (using your senses such as what you see and hear) on the page.
- Consider the tools and techniques that help you represent yourself with ease and enjoyment.
- Learn some rules of art, just so you can break them!
- Experiment, experiment, experiment with different styles, ideas and techniques.
- Let the fun and play in, by following your creative joy and passions.
Finally, keep a sketchbook of all your ideas, favourite techniques and/or an art journal of all your experiments.
All the while asking yourself Why? And How? What? Where? And When? If you need to. And following mindfully. I don’t know all the answers, and if I did, they would be my answers. But are your answers are the most important thing or is it maybe your questions and intentions, as they form your creative style and your creative journey? And the journey is one step at a time and ever evolving, moving, changing. But there are certainly enough questions in this post to keep us both going for a while, should we choose to look at our creative style in this way!
So I hope that in some way me sharing this is helpful to you, to show that the metaphorically scary beast of creative style is, well, not so scary. And after all it’s the creative journey we take to find it or ourselves that really matters.
Thanks for reading