Art School Boot Camp: Developing Your Style | Christine Nishiyama | Skillshare

Art School Boot Camp: Developing Your Style

Christine Nishiyama, Artist at Might Could Studios

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5 Lessons (10m)
    • 1. Developing Your Style

      2:19
    • 2. An Artist's Style Progression

      2:02
    • 3. The Step That Makes it All Happen

      1:53
    • 4. Making an Influence Map

      2:08
    • 5. My Influence Map

      1:44
53 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this installment of Art School Boot Camp, we’re going to switch things up and talk about the mental side of making art. Art is more than just studying anatomy, learning to mix paint, and mastering grammar. There’s a special mental side to making art that deals with voice, style, originality, and authenticity. Your artistic voice or style is what makes your work feel like you. It’s what makes a Picasso feel like a Picasso, and a Hitchcock feel like a Hitchcock.

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There are plenty of tutorials online and in books describing step by step how to draw the human body or paint a sunset of film a fight scene. But there’s no tutorial on finding your voice as an artist. The reason is that no one really knows the exact steps they took to hone their style, and even if they did, it wouldn’t be much help to anyone but themselves, because your artistic style is totally specific to you. In fact, it is you.

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Just as you develop your Self and become more like “you” as you grow up, your artistic voice is doing the same thing. With every experience you have, your Self changes and grows, and with every piece of art you make, your style changes and grows. So, although I can’t lay out a step by step guide for you to find your artistic style, I do believe there’s a general progression through an artist’s life, including my own, and I’m going to lay out that progression here this class!

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Transcripts

1. Developing Your Style: Hi, I'm Christine Fleming. Illustrator at Might Could Studios. In this installment of Art School Boot Camp, we're going to switch things up and talk about the mental side of making art. Given the time and resources, I believe anyone can learn to draw, or paint, or write. But making art is more than just studying anatomy, learning to mix paint, and mastering grammar. There's a special mental side to making art that deals with voice, style, originality, and authenticity. But the good news is that in my opinion, you can learn to master all those things too. Your artistic voice or style is what makes your work feel like you. It's what makes a Picasso feel like a Picasso and a Hitchcock feel like a Hitchcock. There are plenty of tutorials online and in books describing step-by-step, how to draw the human body, paint a sunset, or film a fight scene, but there's no tutorial on finding your voice as an artist. The reason is that no one really knows the exact steps they took to hone their own style. Even if they did, it wouldn't be much help to anyone but themselves because your artistic style is totally specific to you. In fact, it is you. Just as you develop yourself and become more like you as you grow up, your artistic voice is doing the same thing. With every experience you have, yourself changes and grows, and with every piece of art you make, your style changes and grows. Although I can't lay out a step-by-step guide for you to find your artistic style, I do believe there's a general progression through an artist's life, including my own, and I'm going to lay that progression out here in this class. For our class project, we're going to develop an influence map as a tool to help discover who we are as artists. The things you absorb from movies and TV to conversations and experiences now, and especially when you're a child, are a big part of who you are as a person and therefore who you are as an artist. We all have moments where we feel artistically lost and an influence map can help you reflect on your earliest roots and influences, giving you clues on where to go next. By the end of this class, you'll be all pumped up to start making art that feels like you. So let's get started. 2. An Artist's Style Progression: As I said before, I don't think anyone can lay out step by step how to find your artistic styles. But I think there is a general progression through an artist's life. I am going to roughly go through those developments here. If you haven't or aren't following this path, that's completely fine. This is just how I've gone about my path. Feel free to forge your own. Development number 1, honing the interests. In this stage, you're making a lot of art as a child, whether it's drawing or painting or writing. You're basically trying to find the art form that you enjoy making most. For me, this ended up being drawing. Development number 2, honing the craft. This is where you copy other artist, trying to learn how the artwork is made. For me this involved copying and drawing a lot of Sailor Moon and Pokeman when I was young. Development number 3, honing your taste. This is when you see a piece of art that speaks to you more deeply than anything else has before. This happened for me in college when I first saw the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley. Development number 4, honing your voice. This is where you follow your obsessions and curiosity. For me this involved finding out that I like mainly scientific topics. Development number 5, honing your interest. This is when you notice and pay attention to which elements keep popping up in your artwork. This is the process of finding out what makes a piece of art look like you. For me this included color palettes, overall drawing style, textures, boys and subject, and specific techniques like pencil textures. This is a continuing development that can and should keep evolving throughout your life. Those are what I think are the basic developments. But how do we move through that progression, pushing through each development to the next? 3. The Step That Makes it All Happen: There's one crucial step that happens throughout this progression, and without it, nothing will happen and your style will never be found. What is that secret step to finding your artistic style? It's making art. Each development is pushed along to the next by making more and more art and noticing the artistic habits you begin to develop. These habits are the things that just begin happening in your artwork, almost in an automatic subconscious way. The topics that keep popping up, the pencil texture you keep automatically drawing, those are the things that make up your style. But you can't just choose them, you have to find them, and you find them by making lots and lots of art. Your style is the result of a honed interest, all the things you've absorbed over your lifetime, and appreciation of the art, a refined craft, a sense of curiosity, the ability to notice and follow the leads your work shows you, and finally, the repetition of creating art over and over. All the failed pieces, all the work you created when you had no idea what you are doing and were totally unhappy with the results, all of that is an essential part of the process. That's exactly what will lead you to finding your artistic voice. It's just a matter of persevering through the rough floundering periods when we're trying to figure out who we are and what we're all about, just like getting through middle school so you can finally be an adult. One of my favorite quotes is from a commencement speech given by Neil Gaiman, it goes like this, "Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art." 4. Making an Influence Map: Making an influence map. So you're all pumped to find your voice as an artist. Even if you already know your style pretty well, I believe an artist's style should always be reflecting on itself, and growing and evolving. Unless you plan in remaining the same exact person you are today for the rest of your life. Like I said in the first video, I believe the things you absorb, like movies, books, music, conversations, and experiences, are a big part of who you are as a person, and therefore who you are as an artist, and one of the most influential times of your life is when you're young. So it makes sense that the things you absorb then, have a huge impact on you artistically now. You were also most likely learning to write and draw when you're young, and watching all those TV shows, and movies, and reading all those books, were bound to seep in. Looking back on those influences can often give you insight into your artistic style, and how it's developing. So for our project assignment, we're going to make an influence map. You are what you eat. So let's look at the things we ate when we were young. Here are the steps to make an influence map. Step 1, download the influence map template from the class project page. Step 2, make a list of all your favorite movies, TV shows, and books when you're young. You can add another category, like video games or get rid of any categories you don't care about. You could even ask your parents if they remember what some of your favorite things were when you're young. Step 3, narrow down your list to nine things. Step 4, use Google to find images from those things and take screenshots. Step 5, arrange the screen chats in the template cropping as necessary. You can do this in a photo editing software like Photoshop, or you can choose to print out the images and do it old-school with paper and scissors. Step 6, fill in the labels with the appropriate names to credit the creators, and that's it. In the next video, I'll show you my influence map, and talk about how we can use them to help find our styles. 5. My Influence Map: Here's my influence map to show you an example. My favorite movies when I was young, were My Neighbor Totoro and The Lion King. My favorite TV shows were Sailor Moon and Busy Town. My favorite books were Max the Dog and the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. My favorite miscellaneous thing was Pokeman, specifically Jiggly Prof. I made my influence map a while ago during a time when I was floundering and didn't know what my style was at all. It really helped me pinpoint new realms to explore based on my childhood interests that I had forgotten about as an adult, like the non-fiction books from Time-Life. It also showed me visual styles that I've always been drawn to, as well as subject matters and even specific artistic techniques. After you've made your influence map, study it to see if it gives you any insights into your own work. The map can also give you clues of paths to follow in the future when you feel uncertain about what direction to go in, even once you start to feel more comfortable with the artistic style, you'll definitely still have moments where you feel lost. Your influence map can be a great way to bring you back home to your earliest interests and influences. I hope you enjoyed this class and learn something valuable to help you along your path of developing your artistic style. Being a part of a community like skill share, and overcoming your fear of sharing by posting your work and the project gallery and talking with fellow students is an awesome way to learn and grow with the help and feedback of others. You guys have helped me enormously in my journey as an artist. So I hope I've been able to help you a little bit too. Thanks so much for taking this class and I hope to see you in the next art school boot camp.