Style

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I have a lot of personal inner anguish about style. It goes something like this: as a graphic designer by trade, I have always thought it was best not to have a style. My job is to solve other peoples’ visual problems, which means it’s an asset to be a bit of a chameleon. But that leaves my brain wired to pretty much mimic anything. You ever see that SNL where Phil Hartman was the host, and his monologue was about not knowing what his own voice was? Yeah, it’s sorta like that.

Another complicating factor is that I just got a copy of An Illustrated Journey. It’s an amazing and inspiring book, but every few pages is a new style and another way I want to try doing things. So each page or spread I make in my sketchbook is another direction. Will I use the Uniball, the dip pen, or a brush for the ink on this one? Will I use watercolors, water-soluble crayons, colored pencils, all?

And here’s another thing—I’m really good at copying other people. That’s not trying to be a brag, but I can mimic very well. This spread above is in the style of Tommy Kane, who is a major influence on me. He gave a lesson in Sketchbook Skool recently about how it’s okay, good even, to steal someone else’s style. But the main idea is to make it part of your own style. Don’t be too convincing in looking like the person you’re heisting. But when I go for the thick outlines, the cross-hatching, the colored pencil finish, it ends up looking very Kane-ish. Too much so for my taste. But it also looks so good and I like making really good drawings.

So that’s the problem in a nutshell. No firm direction, and afraid to be too good at copying others. These are probably universal creativity problems, but they seem very unique to me right now.

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