How to Migrate Your Artistic Style

I have taken a step back lately to examine the role I would like art and illustration to play here at Doodles and Jots.  Over time, and once I have more time, I would like it to play an even bigger and more integral role in my content and maybe even become more consistent, that is after I do lots of experimenting.  The great thing about a blog is that it can be a testing ground for a not-fully-baked-plan like this.

What has inspired this personal challenge?  Find out next week!

The possibilities are so exciting!    Part of this plan is to migrate my style to be EVEN looser to save time and also because it is what I like.  I have decided to stop thinking about it and take some action.  I decided it would be motivating and fun to turn my plan into a little independent study course for myself!  Join in if you like.  I think it could apply to more than just art and illustration styles like photography or maybe even writing.

Becoming the artist you want to be

Welcome to part 1 of my 3 part mini course!

Do you admire a particular artist and wish you could draw or paint more like that artist?

Road to Realism (freshman year at RISD)

I do!  There are a bunch of artists and illustrators I would like to be more like.  Growing up I was in love with Norman Rockwell, Robert Vickery, Beatrix PotterEloise Wilkins, and my mother.  These artists inspired me and drove me.  As I have gotten older my taste has loosened (interestingly so has my mother’s painting style).  Now in addition to still loving my mother’s art and of course still greatly respecting those artists I grew up on, I now also really admire the child-like, graphic, and/or gestural styles of Milton Avery, Elizabeth Peyton, Melissa Sweet, G. Brian KarasLouis Slobodkin, Douglas Florian, Mariana, and Byron Barton, just to name a few!  Of course I don’t want to copy any of these artists exactly.  And probably a little part of the reason I like what I like is that I see something a little familiar in their work.  I want my style to be mine and honest.  But lets face it, we all have our influences.  It is part of our nature to build on other’s achievements.  So I try and combine the bits and pieces I like from all these artists in a way that is cohesive and also allows me to be myself.  Right?  Oh, so much more easily said than done!

What gets in the way?  

For me it is usually confidence, fear, discomfort, and I am embarrassed to admit, laziness.

  1. Confidence – I don’t have the “magic” those artists have (This is what I think people are saying: She thinks she is an artist?)
  2. Fear – People will think I am stupid (This is what I think people are saying: Check out the pregnant lady’s hand.  Doesn’t she know how big a hand should be?).
  3. Discomfort – Doing something different is uncomfortable isn’t it (like wearing ankle socks when you are used to ones with cuffs)?!
  4. Laziness – Not working as hard on it as I would like to (probably due to the feeling of defeat coming from 1, 2, and 3).

Do some of these barriers exist for you?  Do you have others?  It would be great if they would go away but what if they don’t?  They will make it hard, I suppose.  Why do we expect it will or should be easy?  There are so many great quotes about things that are worth doing that are hard.  I find most goals are achievable one baby-step at a time.

Assignment 1: Surround yourself with your influences

  1. Make a list of your influences.  Do not make it exhaustive.  Select a handful of artist you like.
  2. Next gather a few of you favorite samples from these artists and arrange them on a foam-core board.
  3. To complete you inspirational poster, add post-it notes describing specifically what it is you like.

I am going to take my time and give myself 2 weeks to complete this assignment.  Although I don’t think it actually has to ever be complete.  I imagine I will display it in my work space and I will refine it overtime, adding/changing images/notes.

I hope this post inspires you and please join in in you like!

* * * 

This post is linked up with Made with Love over at Mommy Labs.  A link up devoted to “mommy time” projects at a site I absolutely love!



I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


  1. Oh, this post resonates with me on so many levels! I always want to have a more loose style as well. I love work that shows evidence of brushstroke or sketch lines, but the pressure of perfectionism I put on myself drives me to overwork and destroy those characteristics in my own work.

    I love this tip and I can think of some pieces by Klimt, O’keeffe, Toulouse-Lautrec, Wyeth (Andrew), Picasso (his older works) and others that inspire me. Once we move, I am planning an art space, and I want to put an inspiration board up.
    Krista recently posted..Tomato And Fresh Basil Soup With Parmesan ToastsMy Profile

  2. You’ve written that beautifully… I’m always inspired by people.. And Id like to blame lack of time.. for not getting around to do anything.. But maybe its plain laziness… :)

    Thanks for linking into Made with Love..
    Patricia Torres recently posted..Fine Art decor…My Profile

    • Thanks!

      No! We all need down time. I certainly don’t expect miracles for myself but a little move of the dial. Challenge myself : )

  3. Ann,
    I’ve always loved your perspective and ‘take’ on things and topics. This post made me think about my own writing process and the artsy things I try to do. I have a project brewing in my head for a month now. Need to think it through before I dive head long. Will keep you posted through the blog may be…
    In the meantime, I’ll be very curious to see how you proceed with your assignment… :-) So much food for though in this post.
    PS: Thank you for linking at ‘Made with Love’ and for the link-love. I’m stoked!
    Rashmie @ Mommy Labs recently posted..Tape Resist on Fabric and Other ‘Made-with-Love’ CreationsMy Profile

  4. This looks like an exciting journey. When Maggie Steifvater was making her living as an artist, she challenged herself to making a drawing/painting every day and posted on that and sold it. It was this discipline that forced her to get better and not actually have time to worry about 1, 2 or 3. This might also give you time to explore all the different influences you have.

    Seems like you are headed towards children’s picture book illustration perhaps? I think the blog is a great way to showcase your style and portfolio.

    I am excited to see where this new blog twist brings you! Carpe Diem!
    PragmaticMom recently posted..Kickboxing for a Middle Age Mom with a Gentleman FighterMy Profile

    • You have me thinking. I go back and forth on wanting to do that. I wasn’t thinking quite that big with this but why not?!

    • Thanks! My husband would say stop, stop, while motioning more, more!

      Really enjoy your blog too. Your photos are delectable! And all that you do is so inspiring!

  5. You know I love this post! It reminds me of that Austin Kleon book I was mentioning on my blog called Steal Like An Artist. If you didn’t get it yet, you absolutely must, Ann. It is SO right up your alley and in tune with so much you are saying here.

    It is really true how blogs can be great testing grounds, and after some time spent writing (or drawing!) one you gain confidence and figure more and more about what you want to do with it. The phrase “finding my voice”, no matter how cliche, has been coming to me over and over again, because it’s finally happening to me. Now if I feel like a post is too “bloggy” on my lifestyle-type blog, I pull back, or make it “messier” somehow. I know that I don’t want to be one of the zillion lifestyle bloggers taking the same photos, I want to be me. But it’s taken a full year of blogging to get there, and if I keep going with it I hope my goals take another big jump next year!

    I have told you this several times, but I adore your graphics and the clever ideas you portray with them, and I can’t wait to see more work in that vein (although I do enjoy your beautiful bird photography). 😉
    Tiffanie recently posted..round up: easing into easyMy Profile

    • Thanks Tiffanie. It is so fun experimenting with this stuff! I like what you are saying about finding your voice and blogging. I think that is one of the biggest and unexpected things that is happening to me with this blog. I have pulled back a few times too when something seems, I call it, off brand.

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