At the time I decided to make the move back into art, I felt lost. I didn’t know whether to use line or shape, pencil or paint, realism or impressionism so I chose to focus my efforts entirely on developing my style and I needed a plan. I quickly remembered a coaching module from my Sports Science degree (probably the only time it will ever be useful) and I asked myself ‘If I was an athlete trying to learn a new skill what would I do?’ – I’d break the skill down in to it’s essential components and learn in a ‘whole-part-whole’ method.
Could I apply this to developing my own style? Yes and it eventually led me to discover pointillism – which, at the time, I used to describe to my friends as ‘the dots’ because having no education in art, I’d never hear the term pointillism before.
This above image by Stanley Gribouille first got me interested in dots.
Once I had a direction, here is the method I used to refine my style:
Whole = Chose a single piece of artwork that I liked and identified with the style
Part = Broke the artwork down into the various components: line, shading, composition etc. and practiced each skill independently until I felt confident with them
Whole = Put all of the skills back together to re-create the image that I chose
You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes
What the teachers told you at school really is true, practice really does makes perfect. I think I spent about 3 months on this stage and I’m still not 100% confident in my style. However what I have realised is that once you have some kind of style that you like, you feel better about making things. And becoming a better artist is about not being afraid to make mistakes. If you make something at every opportunity, you’ll speed up your progression exponentially. Even if it’s just 15 mins of scribbling everyday.