Developing My Artistic Style

Good afternoon everyone. Today I continue my journey of self-discovery and I’m going to share my exploration of who I am as an artist. So, I’m going to say it loud. I am an Artist: a Creative. I write and I draw and I want to learn to paint.Now, I’ve loved art since I was young, but I was never very talented at drawing and I never grasped a lot of the fundamentals in school. I was convinced that I couldn’t draw, but that I worked better with three-dimensional pieces. The fact is that I can draw. It just took me a long time, patience, and study to develop the skill of drawing and learn to basics of art. Now, I’m creating art for myself and I am very much enjoying the experience. It feels great and I plan to continue revisiting the basics, exploring new media to find what works for me, and develop my own personal art style.

When I first got back into drawing I stuck to what I knew, graphite pencils. Graphite pencils are what the average person would refer to as art pencils and they are the most basic drawing tools. Graphite pencils come in hard and soft varieties which produce varying tones. H pencils are hard while B pencils are soft. A good starting set would be a:

  • 2H – useful for details
  • HB – used for outlining or very light shading
  • 2B – used for shading light tones
  • 4B – medium tones
  • 6B – dark  tones

My collection consists of the same pencils, although I plan to get an 8B pencil for very dark tones. Drawing accessories are also important if you are serious about your art. A good eraser is a must and you’ll want a soft eraser that won’t damage the paper. A kneaded eraser is also very useful for lightening areas of graphite and picking out highlights. Then you want a blending tool of some sort because using your fingers will result in the oil from your hands staining your work and making it harder to erase shading or lift out highlights. I personally use blending stumps and tortillions, but Q-tips or clean tissue works find as well. There are many other drawing accessories, but these are just some of the most basic ones you can start with. Also, don’t forget your quality sharpener. For an example of what you can create with graphite pencils see the portrait I drew below. It took me a few hours to complete.

My Brother, The Gamer - Graphite Pencils
My Brother, The Gamer – Miss M

As I began to work in black and white a bit more I wanted to try other media and charcoal was my choice. For Christmas last year I treated myself to a “Charcoal Drawing Art Set” by Royal & Langnickel. Although it came with more supplies than I was looking to start with I do not regret my decision. The 12 piece set allows me to explore the different forms of charcoal (charcoal pencils, compressed charcoal sticks, and natural charcoal sticks) which all generate different effects. Although I’m still learning how to adequately use charcoal I really like the soft and rich gray and black tones it can generate. So, I’ve been doodling with the different types.

Feature Sketch by Miss M
Feature Sketch by Miss M
Doodle by Miss M
Doodle by Miss M

Although I wanted to explore more drawing mediums where I focused on tonal ranges, I also wanted to develop my ability to create coloured pieces. Since I’m not that great at painting, particularly with details, I wanted to really get into using coloured pencils. They are a versatile medium that doesn’t require as much equipment or setup as paint. With coloured pencils I’m also working with something more familiar in that its like coloured graphite. While I haven’t done much pieces in coloured pencil I am currently working on a coloured pencil portrait and earlier this year I completed a rendition of a Red-Billed Toucan that I photographed while at the zoo. My aim was to represent the colours I saw and not what I thought I should see. I still need to develop my skills in terms of detail and contrast, but I’m pleased with what I achieved.

Red-Billed Toucan - Miss M
Red-Billed Toucan – Miss M

A lot of this post comes from personal experience as an artist and the reading about the different art forms and media I would have done over the years. While I can’t cite any particular sources for this post I can share some links to places where you can learn more for yourself. There are also many great art books out there, so visit your library if you want to read about it or just look up your areas of interest online and you’ll find a lot of websites and guides accessible to you.

Check out:

  • Lisa Clough from Lachri Fine Art on Youtube where she has speed painting videos, critique your art videos, artist vlogs, and tutorials. Lisa is an amazing artist and she is very dedicated to helping budding artists grow and develop their skills.
  • Stan Prokopenko on his Proko Youtube channel where he uploads videos on the basics of drawing, including tools and techniques, as well as tutorials on drawing people.
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