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3 ways I defined my illustration style

Since 2015 I have worked in so many different color schemes, materials and techniques. It took me a long time to find my way, but I believe 3 things had the most impact in my artwork style.

Starting from the top left, follow clockwise to see an evolution of my style in the last 8 years

While experimenting with materials and colours was important for learning (and it still is), I believe changing too much at once made it harder for me to see what I was searching for in terms of style.

If you look at the picture above, starting from the top left and following clockwise, you will see an evolution of my work in the last 8 years.

Today I can see clearly a a depart from realism towards the style I create now, but there were lots of opposite moments. There was:

  • Black and white vs neon explosion;
  • Realism vs cartoon;
  • Line work vs solid shapes
  • Pencil on paper, acrylic on canvas, ceramics, murals, digital art

With so much changing at once it was hard for me to take decisions. If you are trying to “find your style”, sometimes it’s a good idea to “freeze” a few variables. I think this is a good step after you experiment enough.

Color

In 2020 I defined a color palette for my work and I’ve been keeping it since then. No colors outside this palette are allowed. I developed this palette based on some fashion collections I liked and also based on my own work. I might do some very subtle changes in a few years but never again going from extremes that don’t belong here.

Technique

Also in 2020 I decided to make all my drawings digital. I work just in vector and my lines are usually well defined. I had tried digital art before, using Autodesk Sketchbook and also Procreate for iPad, this last one is quite popular with Illustrators. But I was never satisfied with my results, I always found my lines blurry or the resolution lacking. I never really learned well. Somehow I find Adobe Illustrator very easy and intuitive, it’s almost a therapy to draw on it, and I’m always happy about how crispy and clean my designs look.

Material

Fabrics became my main material in 2021. I apply my art to other surfaces, but first I make sure they look good in the fluffy stuff. Printing on fabrics made me learn about certain design choices. Small details usually disappear between the texture of the fibers. The same happens with embroidery, I always think about how my design are going to look when translated to threads. Printing samples and testing embroidery is a must for all my projects.

Finding a style can be challenging but there is no reason to suffer like I did. If you know someone struggling with their art style, share this post with them. And as usual, let me know what you think in the comments!

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