Thoughts on Style

Good morning! I decided to pull a little content off my journal at my deviant art page to add here. It’s relevant to the process of this book so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to include it here.


From my deviant art journal

So, while going through the process of writing and illustrating a kids book I’ve found myself wrestling with the issue of “style”. I have discovered a few things. A. I’m not 100% sure what my style is B. It can be incredibly difficult to draw characters consistently when you don’t have a clear direction stylistically.

I’ve found a comfortable approach in the past week and a bit. You can see this in my most recent post.

I am happy with the direction of this piece and am pleased with the aspect that it marries analog and digital media. I’m sure as I progress the colouring and final rendering will be given more attention and tweaking.

It’s odd because when I look at the direction for the work I feel happy but restless, like I need to push myself more. This feeling is amplified when I look at the work of other artists. I think it’s an artist’s lot in life to always covet the skill and seemingly effortless ability of other artists around them; past and present.

I heard a great interview that touches on this recently on Sidebar Nation Podcast
The interview was with Greg Manchess, a great painter and storyteller who has been in the industry for 30+ years. Because of his experience and great success I take his words with much sincerity and weight.

He described encouraging his students to be authentic rather than original, stating that if you keep looking to be original and do that which has never been done you will be doing that until you’re old and gray. He encourages artists/illustrators/story tellers to be authentic and real about what you love. What’s in you is far more authentic and realistic than if you tried to be something else to prove something to the world.

His words hit home with me and were rather therapeutic as I’ve been struggling to get the feel for my work and always feeling like I don’t match up with the artists I love. Perhaps I just need to trust my instincts and work hard at what comes natural to me. It’s like I’ve had a release, a thumbs up to work at what mediums and tendencies come natural to me instead of trying to mold myself to fit a style. Granted, in my day to day I need to match styles as much as I can and actually enjoy pushing myself to do so. (A lot of learning happens when deconstructing other styles or trying to create something in a style that a client requires) In my personal work. This book for example. I will endeavor to be true to myself and work hard to develop based on my tendencies.

Here’s to knowledge shared and encouragement gained.

Thanks for listening.




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