February 21, 2018 by

developing your unique drawing style

Finding your illustration style can be a long journey. Your style is constantly developing.
With the vast quantity of illustrations online it can be difficult to stand out and to be seen as a unique artist. Every illustrator professional or hobbyist has stumbled upon similar work or found their work looking unoriginal.

But do not fear. Here are some quick tips to stay unique and to find a style that really reflect you individuality.


1. Steal from everywhere

As the Famous American independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch says “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination, Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.”

Ever had a strange curiosity in something everyday, like water spilling or windows?
Find a subject or story that resonates with you. Embrace and remix everything you find interesting. Let’s say you have a fascination with sea creatures but also architecture. How could these subjects interact with each other. Maybe you draw an underwater city that is filled with brutalist architecture and strange sea monsters. Create worlds in your head. These could be fantastical or real. Maybe you illustrations are of a friends strange family, maybe someone you know has an interesting nose or other facial features you can exaggerate in your drawings. Your inspiration could simply be from shapes you find interesting. Maybe you heard a hilarious story from a friend and you draw the situations. Sources of inspiration are endless.

Start to research other artists work you like. Look at each illustration carefully what
Do you like about each image. Is it the colours the texture is it the linework or the subject. Behance, pintrest, instagram, google images, the library, illustration or art blogs such as booooooom or trendland

Even if your work is highly stylized it still helps to be familiar with anatomy. Attend a life drawing class or get an anatomy book (there usually easy to pick up in any book shop or second hand store) and start looking at muscles and skeletons. If you prefer to draw animals maybe your local natural history museum might be worth a visit. Galleries and museums are an invaluable resource.

If your based in dublin like I am here’s a few free galleries and museums

Gallery of photography

Irirsh museum of modern art

The national Gallery

The natural history museum

The national museum of ireland

The drawing

1. Place your character in a situation are they sipping a martini, swimming, are they interacting with other characters/ objects? what is your character dong? Where are their hands are the holding anything? How are they feeling? What are they communicating.

2. start with a skeleton draw a rough stick version of your character. If your drawing is very complex you might have to do multiple skeletons of vering detail. The skeleton helps you focus on the details when your drawing your character. For this example I did a quick doodle of a man. I wanted him to look kind of bored. I drew out a quick doodle of him as he was not complex. You can also make skeletons from simple shapes like lines and circles like the horse doodle below.

3. There are no rules. Experiment, try multiple mediums even in digital drawings there are loads of different texture brushed you can use to colour and draw your character . Try hand drawing and photographing it then drawing digitally on top of it. The more experimentation the better.


4. When you finish an illustration analyse it. What do I like what do I not like?
Analyse all your work and use your notes on previous pieces to improve. For this illustration on the second glance I did not like the characters shirt so i changed it from a tshirt to a shirt with a collar.