I get asked this a lot — how to draw with more personality or style. Truthfully, I don't really know if I can adequately answer this. What constitutes "more personality" or "better style" is a bit unclear to me. But here are some pointers that might help:
- There is no overnight solution to this problem, but understanding what you want to achieve in your own style, or what you admire in others' work, is a good goal to start out with.
- Style and personality emerge from experience and confidence. Just keep drawing. Over time, make an effort to identify what you like or think is working well. Aim to exude confidence in your work.
- Identify artists whose work you would define as having the kind of personality you're looking for. Study them, emulate them, be inspired by them.
- Learn how to draw well by carefully studying your subject.
- Then try drawing intuitively, from memory. Fill in the gaps in your memory with weirdness. Don't try to be realistic — try just doing something new and see what happens.
- A good drawing shows an underlying understanding of the subject or a creative interpretation of it. That is why it is important to draw from real life, because you never truly see things until you draw them. As you draw, you internalize the subject. Then it is easier to draw things like your subject from memory.
- Pay attention to how you feel when you're drawing in different ways. Do certain feelings relate to specific ways of drawing? Do you feel notably confident in certain situations? For me, there is a very specific confidence and joy I experience when drawing in a certain way. When I draw from this mode, I do my best work. This feeling is exuded in my work. Drawings are literally graphs of our souls — soulgraphs. In the same way a seismograph charts movements in the earth, a drawing charts movements in our souls.
- The first sketch is the most accurate and least overthought soulgraph. The brain hasn't had a chance to edit what comes through your mind to your hand. That is why the first sketch is usually the freshest and liveliest. The first sketch may not always be the most resolved, but you can learn a lot from it and do your best to apply it to a more refined and resolved drawing.
- Don't show hesitation in your drawing. You might pause or hesitate off the page, but don't show it in the final drawing — avoid drawing over lines, or doing light sketchy bits as you figure out a contour, for instance. It's okay to do this for a first draft, but then trace the drawing with more confident, singular strokes. This is the trick to making your work look improvised, even after careful planning.
- Share a lot and see what feedback you get.
These are just some preliminary thoughts on the topic of drawing and style. Perhaps I can elaborate on this at another time — or even build a class around it? Have you experienced any of this or come to a similar conclusion? Has any of this helped you find your style a little more? Please let me know.