5 tips to find your illustration style

5 tips to find your illustration style

6 minute read

Who are you?

Your illustrations should always show who you are as a designer. Yes, you could be designing for a client, and they may have a brand of their own, but if they’ve asked you to illustrate for them, then they must have seen something they like about you and your work!

It can take years to find your own style, some may not have not discovered it yet. In this blog we’re going to look at some ways to help you find your own style as an illustrator, and how you can then make your work vector perfect, or rather imperfect, but we’ll talk about that later.

Influencers

We’re not talking about influencers who are advertising other people's products, we’re talking about designers who you admire. The illustrators you follow don’t even have to make things you like, but they may have an edge, or convey a mood you can appreciate as a fellow designer. Influencing and imitation are not the same!

Why not follow the Astute Graphics Instagram account? It has a huge range of graphics and each one has a quick tip on using the Astute Graphics tools.

Drawing challenges

Have you taken part in a drawing challenge you’ve seen online? There’s a wide range of drawing challenges that appear across social media. These can be really useful as a starting block to get you in the mood to draw. Having a brief can take away that fear of staring at an empty page, and remove that creative block. It doesn’t have to be shared online for you to take part, but it can help you to build a style of your own.


Here are a few drawing challenges to inspire you:

36 Days of Type

36 Days of Type is a project that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their particular interpretation of the letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet. Usually taking place between February and April each year, you only have to share the instagram hashtags to be included. 

MerMay

MerMay is a month-long celebration of creativity, community and above all… MERMAIDS. Taking place in May (obviously) each year, follow the link for information on how the prompts work, how to take part and what big prizes are on offer.

Inktober

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavour with thousands of artists taking on the challenge throughout October each year. Learn how you can participate.

Different Styles Challenge

Another way to release that creative block, the different style challenge was started by a 17-year-old Instagrammer called beautifulness87. The idea is simple: draw the same character multiple times in the styles of as many popular cartoons as possible.

Draw This in Your Style #DTIYS
Explore the #DTIYS hashtag to see hundreds of illustration possibilities. The Draw this in your own style challenges are far and wide on Instagram and it doesn’t take long for you to find one and give it a go. Illustrators usually ask you to include their original artwork as the second image in your post (if you choose to post online) and this helps the word to spread.

You could even choose to start your own.

Imperfection

Why are we talking about imperfections? Because no one is perfect! If you spend a huge amount of time staring at your artwork you can lose sight of it entirely. Having fresh eyes is all important when designing anything. Sometimes you just need to walk away and come back to it a bit later! And also, imperfections add to our own style, which is the aim of the game.

If you want to achieve a hand drawn look to your artwork, or find a finer way to distort/roughen your vectors, then check out the Perturb Live Effect, part of the Randomino Plugin.

Expose yourself

Expose your emotions in your work. It’s all very well illustrating a vase of flowers, for example, but what story is it telling? What are you conveying to the viewer? Are there any artists or designers that evoke an emotional response in you? If so, do you understand why?

99 Designs has an interesting article that poses the question, What is emotional design?

Here are 5 illustration ideas for experimenting with emotion:

  • A memory (something personal to you)

  • A character (give it character and personality) 

  • Make ‘em laugh (have a go at something funny)

  • Make them cry (be a storyteller)

  • A sound (how would you illustrate a sound?)

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