Who much do I want to read more? 8/10
This books is well-written. It makes sense. Even if you're not an artist, it can apply in any work you do.
I have an interest for deawing and visual information, that's how I got into this book, but I can feel the topic is deeply rooted in every human being, in his search of being himself, exploring his capabilities, and pushing his limits off.
INTRODUCTION: CONFORMITY IS FOR THE BIRDS
When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to fit in.
For the first part of my life, conformity was everything to me. I just wanted to be like everyone else.
Through art I began to appreciate the value in being different and in putting one’s own ideas—however weird they might be—into the world.
From there, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. Each day that passed, I began more and more to value nonconformity, not only in others, but also in myself.
Your differences are your strength. They are part of what embody your artistic “voice”: all of the characteristics that make your artwork distinct from the artwork of other artists, like how you use colors or symbols, how you apply lines and patterns, your subject matter choices, and what your work communicates.
Like most people, deep down inside, I have always felt a tension between fitting in and standing out.
Do I want to focus on or ignore what is currently trendy? Is it even possible to be completely original? Who do I want to be as an artist? What do I want to communicate through my work?
When we are in the process of finding our artistic voice, we are almost constantly straddling the planes of belonging and independence, of being part of a movement and having our own unique form of expression, of emulating artists we admire and breaking away from them.
Finding your voice is one of the most important experiences you will ever have. And the process cannot be rushed. Likewise, it isn’t just something that magically “happens.” Instead, it’s both an exercise in discipline and a process of discovery that allows for—and requires—a lot of experimentation and failure. Most of the time, finding your voice takes years of practice and repetition, frustration, agony, humiliation, and self-doubt.
Finding your voice sounds like arriving at something fixed and final. It implies that once you have found your artistic voice, it will remain unchanged for eternity. In reality, even once you’ve found it, your artistic voice is always evolving, sometimes subtly and sometimes in more obvious and intentional ways.
No idea is completely original, and being influenced by the work of other creative people and movements is part of the process of finding your voice.
The process of finding your voice is like uncovering your own superpower. Your artistic voice is what sets you apart and, ultimately, what makes your work interesting, distinctive, worthy of discourse, and desired by others. No matter your medium or genre, having your own voice is the holy grail. I aim to help you understand what it means to have an artistic voice and why having one matters.
CHAPTER ONE: WHAT IS AN ARTISTIC VOICE?
SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH
It reflects your unique perspective, life experience, identity, and values, and it is a reflection of what matters to you. Ultimately, it’s what makes your work yours, what sets your work apart, and what makes it different from everyone else’s.
We make work that mirrors our own deeply held ideas about the world.
simple things like:
Tulips are pretty.
The sunset is the most beautiful moment in the day.
A simple grid is the most visually satisfying image.
or complex like:
I am oppressed.
The universe is chaos.
There is light in struggle.
Most of the time the ways in which your truth emerges from your work are somewhere in the middle, between simple and complicated. What you create and how you communicate your truth reflects your personal history, your identity, your ideas, your hopes, your pains, and your obsessions. Making art is an enormously personal experience, no matter your style or subject matter.
Ultimately, as you work to find your voice, all the elements of your voice (style, skill, subject matter, medium, and consistency) become inextricably enmeshed. Your work simply becomes yours. In fact, how the elements of your artistic voice play together is what gives your voice a personality.
Your artistic style is the look and feel of your work. It includes things like how neat and precise your work is or how loose and messy it is. It includes whether you make work that is representational or abstract.
“elements of style”:
- Line. Are they delicate and thin or thick and rough? Are they prominent or obscured?
- Shape. What shapes do you use consistently in your work? Are the shapes in your work geometric or curved? Are the edges soft or hard? Are your shapes flat and one-dimensional or do they have depth and dimension? Are they clean or purposefully messy?
- Layering. Do you give depth and dimension? Or is your work intentionally flat and graphic?
- Color. Is it warm or cool? What mood do your color choices give your work? Are you a color minimalist or a color maximalist?
- Texture. Does your work have texture?
- Composition. canvas, paper, or three-dimensional structure? visual balance?
- Rhythm and movement. Do you use repetition or alternation of strokes, marks, and imagery, or the gradation of color? Do you create tension by creating opposing directions or with the use of both warm and cool colors? Or, alternatively, is your work purposefully still?
- Pattern and repeating imagery.
you may, like many artists, have more than one style.
Some artists make both representational and abstract work.
What is important is that you use the elements of style consistently within each of your artistic styles.
With greater skill, you’ll create richer and more visually complex work, and you’ll have a much easier time communicating your ideas or emotions through visual imagery.
until the late nineteenth century, what it meant to be a skilled artist was your ability to render something realistically, typically from life.
Thanks to great minds like Georgia O’Keeffe, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Sol LeWitt, Romare Bearden, and Vincent van Gogh, by the mid-twentieth century the tradition of a singular definition for artistic “skill” was broken.
They forged the way for new styles that broadened our definition of what it means to be a skilled artist.
“skill” means “the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well.”
Doing something “well” means that you have the technical abilities to execute your ideas in whatever media you use. It also means that you can execute with consistency, not just once, but over and over, because you’ve practiced… a lot.
10 steps to building skill:
- Keep showing up
- Practice more
- Strech yourself
- Note your improvement
- Practice more
the way to develop skill is to do the same thing over and over until you are able to do it with some amount of ease.
In other words, the way to develop skill is through practice. If you practice something enough, you’ll become better at it.
when you have a good handle on skills, you can also focus energy on developing the other components of your voice.