Discovering your painting style… as a beginner not knowing how to find your art style can make you feel out of place or lost. Although there is no right way or specific method I can give you that will guarantee you to find your watercolor painting style; I can still provide some tips.
Before we begin this post let me just start out by saying that finding your painting style is very personal and is achieved differently by different people. In this post I go through six tips that will help you to find your unique painting style.
As scary as it may be always try painting new things, use different colors and try out new techniques. Even if you’re not sure of the outcome try painting them anyway. It can help to have an art journal in which you can sketch out your ideas roughly, this way you can also see the process you’re going through to develop your work. It will also help you overcome the fear of white paper as you’ll feel more confident.
Remember, challenging yourself is how you discover new techniques and learn new skills thus growing your skill level.
Paint what interests/inspires you
If you see a beautiful scenery that you feel like painting then go for it. However, if you’re not sure what you enjoy painting dont panic. This just means you have to explore different possibilities. Basically try painting different types of things (buildings, mountains, or flowers..etc). Eventually you’ll begin to naturally gravitate towards your prefered subject of interest and you can go on from there.
Sometimes you may see a scene you like, but you’re not sure how to go about it. It can really help to grab your art journal and challenge yourself to sketch that scene. You can always simplify the scene, leave things out or move them to achieve a beautiful piece.
When you paint something new, take the time to observe the subject and make a few rough sketches in pencil or watercolor. Try to paint it over and over again. This will help develop your skills by improving your ability to put your observations onto a piece of paper. Not to mention you’ll learn what to look for when observing your subject, after all painting is a way of putting down what you see.
If you don’t see any progress with your practicing, it could be because you’re practicing the techniques you’ve already learned. This can be a sign to try learning then practicing a new technique.
Add your own touch
Remember that when you are painting, you can be free with what you paint in and leave out from your reference image. Keep in mind that when using reference images, they are there to guide you and not tell you how to paint your picture.
This is another reason to get yourself an art journal, you can sketch out different versions of your subject to help you make the final decision.
Adding your own touch is basically including yourself inside your painting thus creating your painting style. I say this because the way you arrange the composition of your painting can be different to someone approaching the same subject.
Study your subjects
Practice your painting skills by making a study for your subject. For example if you want to learn how to paint trees, grab your sketchbook and instead of painting a whole landscape start painting small sketches of trees with different shapes, colors…etc
Use a reference image. When painting from a reference image you learn to pick up on patterns and general rules that help guide you when painting from memory or changing the reference image itself.
Eventually painting that particular subject will come more naturally to you because you’ve done it so many times.
Follow multiple teachers
Watercolor is a spontanious medium, there’s so many ways or “styles” that artists express with in their paintings. So learn from watercolor tutorials or artists whose art work you enjoy looking at. But don’t just stick to one artist forever, try and learn from other artists too. You’ll find that you’re painting style will become a combination of techniques from different teachers.
Don’t limit yourself
Finding your painting style doesn’t always stay the same. You could paint a certain way for a few months than get bored and decide to switch up your style. And that’s okay. Sometimes you may learn a few new things and this alters your style. The best way you can discover your painting style, is by not thinking too much about it. The more you learn, explore and practice the more your painting skills will develop and so will your style.
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If you’re interested in practicing your watercolor skills be sure to check out my tutorial on how to paint a green field (image below) by clicking here.