Have I found my art style yet?

One of the hardest things about illustrating again is attempting to figure out my “style”. I try not to think too much about it because I believe in many ways it can be counter-productive, but I would be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t want to be able to look at my work and see traces of consistency.

Of course, the funny thing is, oftentimes when I post my illustrations on the blog or on Instagram, my friends will respond and say “Your drawings are so you!” or “I can always recognize when one of your illustrations pops up in my feed.” How do they recognize my style when I don’t? To me, the illustrations I posted in my last art update, were sort of all over the place. Some had dark outlines, some had lines in their hair, some had (bad) coloring, etc. I mean, variation is great and I like each of those pieces for one reason or another, but to me it was still very obvious that I was just trying to get used to creating again.

I’m happy to say though that with this next batch of illustrations, I see a consistency and I really like the results. And it’s not even because most of my illustrations are based on the same photo shoot, though I’m sure that helps. I just see a connection here between each image where even though they contain different personalities and looks, they all represent a similar style.

That being said, this batch of illustrations is from January and I can assure you that changes are still taking place, especially as I experiment with adding colors to my work. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. I like still being able to see my growth each month as I reflect on earlier pieces and it’s encouraging to know that my style is making itself known.

Illustration based on Feb 17 Vogue: Dior Ad || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, Dior advertisement

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Dangling Modifier" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Dangling Modifier” as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Small Wonder" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Small Wonder” (p. 168) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "At Attention" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “At Attention” (p. 165) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Far and Wide" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Far and Wide” (p. 163) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration Based on January 2017 Vogue: "Moment of the Month" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, January 2017 ed, “Moment of the Month” (p. 98) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on February 2017 Vogue: "Business as Usual" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, February 2017 ed, “Business as Usual” (p. 164) as photographed by Willy Vanderperre

Illustration based on November 2016 Vogue: "Gray Lady" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, November 2016 ed, “Gray Lady” (p. 205) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on November 2016 Vogue: "Flower of the Flock" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, November 2016 ed, “Flower of the Flock” (p. 207) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on December 2016 Vogue: "Eye to the Ear" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, December 2016 ed, “Eye to the Ear” (p. 241) as photographed by Josh Oline

Let me know what you think! Have any thoughts on the illustrations above? Any comments on my style or your question to find your own? I know a lot of creatives who read my posts are writers so would love to hear from your perspective as well: do you ever think/worry about your style when writing or are you too caught up in creating to notice? I’m curious!

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I’m creating again, reasons be damned.

I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I last sat down and allowed myself to create freely. Something about creating without a purpose has always felt wasteful and not allowed in my mind. I could flex my creative muscles if it were for a blog post or to go with a letter I was mailing to a friend, but to create for just the sake of creating? Well, that mostly hasn’t been the case for me since high school. (And believe me kids, that was a long, long time ago.)

The only exception has always been during my depressive episodes in which I turn towards creating to escape the thoughts of my racing brain. I find it’s one of the few things in life that absorbs me fully and brings me a sense of peace (which actually seems a bit counter-intuitive as a perfectionist who can always find something to hate in everything I do).

With my last fall into that dark world, I finally realized that my creating doesn’t have to be limited to bad times. If it helps me when I’m feeling down, surely it can make me feel even better when I’m feeling up. And so, over the last few months, I have created regularly again, without a reason, and it feels great.

Below you will find the doodles of November and December in which I started allowing myself to create again for fun. I’d say my main purpose those first few months, apart from accepting my wish to create, was to start searching for a style. Using photographs of models from Vogue magazines to reference for my drawings (credited as available below), I focused more on determining what I liked/didn’t like when illustrating women than creating something original.

So, if you’re interested, please join me in checking out my first attempts at creating again, reasons be damned.

Illustration based on Nov 2016 Vogue: "Flower of the Flock" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, November 2016 ed, “Flower of the Flock” (p. 207)

Illustration based on Sep 2016 Vogue: "Storming of the Beach" and "Chain of Command" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, September 2016 ed, “Storming the Beach” (p. 754) and “Chain of Command” (p. 755) as photographed by Mikael Jansson

Illustration based on May 2016 Vogue: "Arm (and Ear) Candy" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, May 2016 ed, “Arm (and Ear) Candy” (p. 242) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on May 2016 Vogue: "Two of a Kind" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, May 2016 ed, “Two of a Kind” (p. 247) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration based on Oct 2016 Vogue: American Eagle Outfitters ad || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, October 2016 ed, American Eagle Outfitters ad (p. 182)

Illustration based on June 2016 Vogue || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, June 2016 ed, as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Illustration of a girl + a ball || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: not recorded (whoops!)

Illustration based on Mar 2016 Vogue: "Come As You Are" and "Ticket to Ride" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, March 2016 ed, “Come As You Are” (p. 544) and “Ticket to Ride” (p. 545) as photographed by Craig McDean

Illustration based on Glamour: "Heart of Gold" and "Details, Details" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Glamour, “Details, Details” (p. 233) and “Heart of Gold” (p. 235) as photographed by Billy Kidd

Illustration based on June 2017 Vogue: "The Tide is High" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, June 2017 ed, “The Tide is High” (p. 122) as photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth

Illustration based on June 2016 Vogue: "Tied Together" || Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Reference: Vogue, June 2016 ed, “Tied Together” (p. 134) as photographed by Patrick DeMarchelier

Let me know what you think! Have any thoughts or advice on the illustrations above? Any comments on my “style”? And what do you think about creating without a purpose? Do you ever struggle to allow yourself to create just for fun? If so, I challenge you to tell me what creative activity you’re going to allow yourself to enjoy this week, and do it! Hopefully you’ll find it as rewarding as I do.

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