How to Find Your Drawing Style: 8 Ways to Develop Your Art Skills

How to find your drawing style? 8 ways to develop your skills. Jaguar sketch and pencils

To stand out from the crowd you, the artist, must develop your own unique signature style. Your art is your brand and in that sense, it should be instantly recognizable. That process starts with the basics. This post will show you how to find your drawing style.

Find Your Drawing Style By Considering The Following:

  • Choose Your Subject
  • Choose Your Drawing Medium
  • Copy The Artists You Admire
  • Practice Drawing, Little and Often
  • Know Your Personality Type
  • The Size of Your Drawing
  • Take Time to Experiment
  • Do You Want to Sell Your Art?

So how do you whittle down your craft to find your unique working method and claim it as your own? Let’s find out.

(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)

Find Your Drawing Style

There are so many contributing factors involved in finding your own drawing style that a few pointers in the right direction will help you to cut corners, get focused, and save you endless time floundering around.

Like it or not, your style is your USP (unique selling point), it’s your path to recognition. It’s your brand, logo, and signature all rolled into one. In an ideal world, anyone coming across your work will instantly know it’s yours the moment they see it. 

1. Choose Your Favorite Subject Matter

Most popular artists have pigeonholed themselves into an easily identifiable niche. That could be because their art involves a passion for a particular hobby, activity, or interest.

They might, for instance, be known for their love of landscapes or portraiture. Some might be recognized for their color sense, theme, or genre, or indeed, their social commentary, politics, or satire. The list is endless.

What all the well-known artists have in common is their consistency. They repeat their subjects and working methods, over and over again. 

That’s far easier to achieve if you have an interest in the world beyond art. Try to identify what it is in a subject that makes you want to capture the moment, or feeling, in your artwork.

If you need help choosing a subject read this: What Kind of Art Sells Best? All The Secrets Revealed

Combining your interests will sustain you for the long term, so this is not an irrelevant question. If your subject is based on profit alone and not combined with your other interests in life, you’ll soon burn out.

Settle on a subject or a theme and stick to it. Be known as the person who draws, or paints, that subject brilliantly well. The public wants to give you a label and they’ll collect and appreciate the way you work if it’s easily understood and has a coherent narrative that binds the work together.

Your drawing style might be exceptional but it’s important to remember that the public usually buys the subject first. Very few people buy art as such. They buy pictures and mostly representational art that involves a noticeable craft. They look for connections and stories that resonate with them or their loved ones in a personal way.

What subject floats your boat? Choose one and get started.

2. Choose Your Drawing Medium

Your medium will dictate your drawing style as nothing else will. There’s no point in trying to emulate a style of art using a technique that’s only achievable by using a different medium entirely.

If you are at the very beginning of your journey and are yet to discover the medium that suits you best, there’s no other option but to experiment. Each medium has its own peculiarities and some you will take to naturally and some you won’t.

You can learn the basics on Skillshare (affiliate). Brent Eviston has super popular classes.

In this context, you must find the drawing media that suits you most. That’s not confined to standard drawing pencils.

Drawing media includes:

  • Graphite
  • Charcoal
  • Conte
  • Pastel Pencils
  • Soft chalk pastels
  • Colored pencil
  • Markers
  • Pen and ink

Then there’s silverpoint, etching, and drawing with brushes, which includes ink and watercolor. There are many ways of drawing

You must find your specialty and concentrate your efforts on excelling in that medium. Unless you are very adept and talented it would be best to master one art form before moving on to another.

One way of choosing your drawing medium is to emulate an artist you admire.

If you need some kit, try Arteza (affiliate) for your art supplies.

3. Copy The Artists You Admire

We all grow up in the thrall of one artist or another. That changes as we age but influences can last a lifetime.

What artist inspires you? Why do you admire him/her so much? What is it about their style that makes you yearn to do something similar?

Read this post if you’re stuck: How Do Artists Get Their Ideas? 5 Tips For Inspiration

I’m not suggesting that you rip them off them, but we all borrow ideas in order to make our own versions of what we see.  Everyone does it. It’s called inspiration and part of the joy of creating something.

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

PICASSO

It’s fun to get excited and push ourselves to the limit and discover what we can do ourselves. If that involves an idea sparked off by the work of another artist, then so be it. That artist almost certainly did the same thing before you, and so it goes on.

Here’s the thing, you will not be able to fully replicate another artist’s work, even if you wanted to. We all have our own style of drawing, everyone is different, it’s like handwriting.

By trying to draw like someone else, we discover our own art style. I’ve discovered Stephen Bauman recently and his style is so good, it’s inspiring. He’s got a couple of courses on Proko (affiliate)

4. Practice Drawing, Little and Often

I find the best way to stay engaged is to work hard in short bursts. There really is no point in slogging away for hours on end unless you are fully engaged.

For the most part, it’s better to take a piecemeal approach and step back regularly. Putting in long hours might feel productive but it can backfire badly. You can easily lose your way and not see the wood for the trees.

Walking away from your drawing allows you to revisit it with fresh eyes. Sometimes, all you need is a cup of tea and a break, other times you’ll need a day or two, and on rare occasions a few weeks.

When you return, the time and effort you made means less and you lose your fear. You’re less precious and you judge your work more objectively. You suddenly see the faults and it’s far easier to fix them.

It always amazes me how starting afresh, transforms your abilities. Where all was lost in a deflating dead-end becomes just a minor error in need of a quick correction.

Your capabilities and drawing style will develop with fewer problems when you control your work routine.

5. Know Your Personality Type

Your character will have a direct bearing on your style of art. If you are restless and impatient to get things done, why would you attempt photo-realism? Conversely, if you are a perfectionist and borderline OCD, why try to be fast and loose? 

You have little choice but to go with the flow and adapt to the gifts nature gave you.

Make the best of it. If you have an eye for detail and painstaking patience that will, inevitably, dictate your style. If, on the other hand, you see detail as a pointless waste of good painting time, that view will push you in another direction.

We, each of us, have aptitudes and sensibilities that lend us towards one style of artwork or another. Embrace your capabilities and don’t try to be something you’re not, and that leads us to the next point.

Your personality will determine the size of your art. Where is your comfort zone?

6. The Size of Your Drawing

What size art do you make? Do you draw big or small?

Are you a person who throws caution to the wind to see what happens or a control freak who draws with pinpoint precision?

This is very much related: What Size Art Sells Best? Frames and Apertures – FREE Chart

The tools you use will be governed by the size of your work. The application, when using those tools, will determine your style. A miniaturist using a magnifying glass will use tools and techniques that differ wildly from the guy plotting a mural.

That being said, you might find your own drawing style by breaking with convention and discovering a way to use your media differently. For instance, I used to paint 6″ x 4″ landscapes with soft pastels. That’s unusual.

If you look online you’ll also find photo-realistic graphite artists drawing on a giant scale. Breaking the rules can be done.

7. Take Time to Experiment

There is a very real danger of finding an art style that works and resonates with the public and getting stuck in that mode. This happens especially when you sell your art for a living. Time is money and you don’t want to waste your precious time.

It works for a while but there’s a point when you become stale. That’s why you must spare some time just to experiment with new ideas. How else can you maintain your interest if nothing ever evolves?

One of the joys of making art is discovering something new and pushing the boundaries of what you thought possible. The excitement, and highs, can last for days when you make a breakthrough.

It’s so important to dream even if it’s just doodling on a notepad. It’s only by freeing up your mind and experimenting with new techniques, compositions, and media, that you can really progress.

This post is related: What is the Meaning of Media in Art Terms? With Examples

8. Do You Want to Sell Your Art?

Last but not least, do you intend to sell your drawings? If your intention is to earn a living, finding your art style is crucial.

You may well find a few tricks, accidents, or gimmicks, that help you get sales along the way. It’s important to capitalize on those successes and repeat them. The process will become your signature art style. 

When I drew portraits with soft pastels, I discovered that my customers preferred my sketchier work, so my direction was clear. My work had to be fast and loose and that presented a problem, it was not natural to me.

I drew slowly and accurately and only in the final stages of the work did I liven it up. I’d ‘lose’ some hard edges with a few flicks and smudges, and ‘rough’ in the background. It was a contrived spontaneity!

That became my style of portraiture.

Don’t think the greats did anything differently if they hit on a cash cow they milked it. Why not? I know John Singer-Sargeant did something similar.

Check this out for tips like this: How to Make Your Drawings Interesting: 14 Ways to Improve a Drawing

Take a look at this Harvest Mouse. I wish this was one of mine. It is minimalist, full of character, and simple. You don’t have to go overboard. Sarah is to be found on Domestika (affiliate)

How to Find Your Drawing Style – Final Thoughts

I don’t think you have to spend years of artistic angst and self-torture to find your own art style. It’s inside you, ready and waiting to be discovered. You can unlock it by finding the medium you like best, mastering it. Your drawing style will emerge quickly as you get better and more confident.

That’s it in a nutshell. 


Jaguar pencil drawing by wildlife artist Kevin Hayler
‘Eye Contact’ by Kevin Hayler

If you like the way I draw and want to try things for yourself, this is my basic kit: (Amazon affiliate links)


When you have settled on a drawing style you’ll want to sell your art. If you want to know how I’ll show you. Take a look!

Selling art made simple digital guide for starting a small art business

If You Want to Sell Your Art

Check this out!

Psst…it’s only $12.99!


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How to find your drawing style. 8 ways to develop your skills