Creating a distinctive illustrative style

I love finding new illustrators whose style I admire and I'm always impressed by how so many illustrators create such distinct styles, to the point now where there are certain artists work I will see in a magazine or advertising campaign and just know that it is them.

Although I am not an illustrator as such, my design work often includes illustrative elements, but I have always struggled with creating a distinct style. Although saying that, friends at university always reassured me that I did have a distinct style – I guess it was just harder for me to see. I think sometimes it's really good to limit yourself to inspire creativity when producing new work. Sometimes I try to limit my colour palette or the tools that I use.  Recently I've been trying to limit myself (well not exclusively but mostly) – to black ink.

I read an article once about how creative types find it hard to just do one thing, they want to try everything. I think that is definitely the case for me. I struggle to pick just one thing and get really, really good at it, because I'm inspired by so much, and want to try so many things and learn new stuff.

Sometimes I love this, but sometimes I get frustrated and feel like that famous quote “Jack of all trades, master of none” applies to me.

Anyway I don’t really have any answers, I think I'm still going to want to keep learning and trying lots of new things, but I think for my personal work and my etsy shop I am going to try and limit myself a bit more, choose a few things to work on and get particularly good at. At the moment I feel like the things I want to focus on are my black ink illustrations (whether typographic or patterns etc) and lino printing. I only just started lino printing recently but really loved it and feel like it could be a printing medium that could work really well for me. I might dabble in screenprinting too and see where things go from there.

Now that I've written that though I've remembered that I've been really wanting to experiment more with collage too. See I just can’t help myself!

I feel that since I've opened my etsy shop I've stepped things up a bit in terms of creating personal work rather than just work for clients (which I do love to do too) – and it's meaning I'm making much more time to experiment, produce more and make mistakes, and I 'm really enjoying it. As ever I'm hoping to keep sharing more of my creative journey on this blog. 

I would love to hear other peoples thoughts on whether they find it easy to focus on just one discipline or work in one particular style, or whether they're always wanting to try new things, and experiment with different styles and tools.