What is your unique style? Describe in three words what best defines your work? If a complete stranger inquired as to the qualities that make your creations ‘stand out from the crowd’, what would you say? What is the ‘essence’ of your business?
It was questions like these that really troubled me in the early days of establishing my creative biz. I simply didn’t have a clue! I knew what I loved to make and draw or paint. But whether these actually possessed particular ‘qualities’ and characteristics that made them easily identifiable as having been created by me…. well, frankly I had no idea whatsoever. I just created and never thought much beyond that.
Yet I couldn’t help but be intrigued. How could I find out, I wondered? What did I need to do?
Predictably I turned to wading through endless blogs and creative sites, flicking through books and magazines, in the vain hope of finding the information that I needed. The consequence was that I got terribly confused and discouraged rather than inspired!!!
I’ve always been in awe of those artists who, from the on-set, exude their own unique creative identity so naturally and effortlessly. But for me it seems to have been a more lengthy process. Like many creatives, I absorb sensory stimuli like a sponge: sounds, colours, tastes, textures. I am also greatly influenced by other people and current trends. This may sound wonderful but it can also be very confusing… too much information leads to overload!
So for those of you who are also intrigued by what their style is and how to define it, here I am passing on some valuable advice:
“Don’t waste time looking for your style. The truth is you already have it! You may just need to create more in order to see it.”
~ Promise Tangeman
So basically create, create, create! This is the ONLY way to discover it. If painting is your ‘thing’… just do it! If it’s sketching, sketch in abundance. If it is sculpting or felting or writing or sewing, whatever it is, just keep on doing it. Lots and lots and lots of it.
Sounds simple? It is. But, irritatingly, it’s not something that can be achieved necessarily overnight (!!) or at the touch of a button… it takes time and effort and work!
That’s it really.
Get’s a bit tricky sometimes when other folk try to tell you what you should do or endeavour to persuade you to do something more in keeping with their own ‘style’. But then this is a totally different issue and more concerned with discerning what opinions to thoughtfully consider and those to reject.
In addition, I have also found it helpful to surround myself with collections of items that particularly inspire me. I have vases of dried flowers and seed-heads in my home, baskets of silk fabric, fibres and hand-made paper, rustic earthenware and burnished metal in abundance. I used to collate images into scrapbooks and files but now the glorious facility of Pinterest keeps everything in order! But, even here, I have learnt to become quite ruthless and disciplined: I now only save things that really speak to my soul, give me goose-bumps and leave me crying out “Yes!” Periodically I review these choices to determine those that still resonate strongly, for is amazing how our preferences modify and change as our creative lives evolve and develop. From these amassed collections, I glean useful information which I can then utilise in my creative work: shape, form, colour. Just a quick glance at my Pinterest page is a clear demonstration of this: so many tawny, mellow, nature-inspired images!
I promise you, dear friend, that given time you WILL begin to identify a defining ‘something’ within your own creations, a unique ‘edge’ that is common to all that you create: shapes, colours and materials that are featured regularly and in their own beautiful, harmonious way. This will be your ‘style’… your very own… no one elses!
“Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.”
~ Oscar Wilde.
How would you define your creative style? How did you discover it?