Overshare Part 2: How did you develop your style?

Q&A series about illustration, freelance life and my personal experiences.

Q: When and how did you develop your own style?

A: I received a lot of questions asking how to carve out a niche style, which tells me there are a LOT of people out there who were just like me a few years ago- not sure which direction to take, and feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the amazing talent out there!

I developed my style at the end of my 4 year Visual Communication degree. I had experimented with just about everything: collage, painting, photography... but it wasn't until I tried animation that something clicked. As part of the animation elective, we used Adobe Illustrator to create graphics. Creating really bold, fun vector graphics came really naturally to me and I finally felt that I had found a medium that was authentic to my voice. This may seem contradictory as digital art isn't really seen as 'authentic,' but creating things digitally felt far more authentic to me than drawing traditionally. I was able to create work that reflected how I consumed the world, referencing cartoons, 60s palettes and girl culture. It could be fun and cheeky and irreverent.  Here are some very early work from around this time:

From there, I just continued experimenting. I've always been very concept and ideas driven, so it was also about how I could express an abstract concept in a simple way. I began creating conceptual patterns such as Mani, which garnered a lot of attention online.

'Mani'- one of my first pattern pieces.

'Mani'- one of my first pattern pieces.

I began to feel some momentum and energy, and realised I had developed a style and voice that stood out when people actually wanted to pay me for my illustrations. I'll go into the beginnings of my career as a freelancer in another Q&A :)

That's just my experience, but everyone is different! I think it's important to remember that every misstep is part of the *~journey~*. It took me 23 years of painting, drawing, and making to find something that felt like it clicked instantly!

Here's some general advice to keep you going:

  • Be confident in your work and your voice.
  • Try and ignore trends, tune out of Instagram for a while if you have to.
  • Don't compare yourself to others.
  • Give yourself time and space to find your style!

I hope that helps some of you out there! If you have any questions, please get in touch and I'll answer it in a future blog post!