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Changing Your Style

Discussion in 'Illustration Forum:' started by Jimlad, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Most illustrators will have either a recognisable style or at least a few consistent preferences in their work. Over time this will gradually evolve and improve. Even when doing work outside of our comfort zone we still draw our own stuff in a signature style without even meaning to.

    But has yours ever changed? Now I don't mean a gradual change, I mean a massive shift - possibly as a result of taking in a lot of outside influences or hitting the tutorials really, really hard. Maybe you wanted to improve or saw a colleague doing great work and wanted to get to that level yourself? Or maybe you felt a change in direction was called for?

    My work was cartoony and flat(ish) but I wanted to improve it and tackle something I'd often admired - digital painting, no lines left in the artwork. Inspired by concept and games artists, I've spent about half a year learning and experimenting, seeking out amazing art to analyse and be inspired by, pouring over hours of tutorials and process videos, to the point where I can now digitally paint in some comfort with a little pace. I never would've imagined being able to a year or two ago.

    All this has left a mark on my "style", I now do things differently in my everyday work and as a result I'm much less likely to lean on my flat art style and (given the time) pay more attention to light and form, even at the sketch stage.

    Anyone else changed their style in some way?
  2. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, I bow to you in your endeavors!

    I wish I had the time to do what you've been doing. I've tried my hand at digital painting but it just comes out looking like
    a slightly different version of what I would normally have painted. Which is good in a way, but I would need to be doing it
    every week to get quicker and slicker at it. I still fall back on the old traditional line and wash style for my book illustrations
    because that's what I'm quickest at, and after all, that's still what people still generally want to see in children's books.

    The commercial side of my work hasn't really changed much either. I still generally do the line work by hand and colour in
    Photoshop. It would simply take me far too long to replicate it in Illustrator, but I'm sure if I worked in Ai every day instead
    of Ps, my style would start to change.
  3. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I find working in one style too limiting (for me) and I tend to get bored easy.

    I guess if I were to really simplify my own stuff I'd say one style is clean vectors and the other, a more grungy, retro, cartoon style.
    Even those have their sub-categories and I guess it changes as I go along.

    It'd be WAY easier to market myself if I were to stick to one but I can't imagine just doing one style.
  4. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    @Wardy I'm not an illustrator but it's interesting what you say about Illustrator and Photoshop. I consider myself to be equally skilled in both software, but I find you have more control of your drawing in Photoshop, it's more natural if you like, as it doesn't try to 'predict' or smooth out your lines, like it does in illustrator. I think for basic shapes and drawings I use Illustrator, but for a more complex hand drawn piece, then definitely Photoshop. I always colour in Photoshop regardless, so either way I use it somewhere along the line anyway.
    Wardy likes this.
  5. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses guys, very interesting to see what you think. I mostly use Illustrator for logos, layouts, and occasionally single-page documents. I can use it for illustration but it seems to suck all the fun out of it for me. When I do use it for character work, it's usually a client who a) wants vector work for the sake of it and b) wants it fast cos they have no idea how much longer vector work can take. So on those occasions, I've been known to make friends with the many subtleties of... Trace Image. Which to be fair, when it's basic cartoony style with solid shading, works fine on Low Fidelity.
  6. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Why not work in vector in PS instead? Assuming you prefer to illustrate in PS over AI?
  7. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    I prefer illustrating in Photoshop, and use vectors there when appropriate. But when I'm doing a job that needs to be vectored from the ground up, like a logo or something, I find the vector tools in Illustrator better to use. Each program has things its best at.
  8. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Oh ok fair enough, thought we were talking strictly about illustrations. Yes, AI is absolute the software to use for logo design.
  9. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    If I had to do an illustration that needed to be a vector file I'd also use Illustrator. It's just built for it. I've done characters for packaging and illustrative logos in Illustrator, though it's not my favourite way to work, but it fits the client's desired outcome better for those types of jobs in my opinion. I personally prefer the results I can get in Photoshop though, works better for my usual type of work.

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