Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper!
I remember when I was new to art, at first I just wanted to push paint around on the paper. In time I started to wonder how to develop my own creative style. I listed some art for sale on Etsy and the experience really opened my eyes! I saw all these artists creating really cohesive bodies of work, so much so that one look at any piece in their collection and you could tell what they were about. I worried that I didn't have my own style. At the time I was learning from books, buying art books like they were going out of style. My art just felt flat, like I wasn't really stepping into my own creative power.
Mara Glatzel has a term that I sums up the way to your own style with perfection! She is a life coach for women and I took some classes from her around the time that my younger sister passed away. Mara loves to say "keep your eyes on your own paper", like when you were younger taking tests in school. I think Mara means that you shouldn't compare your life to anybody else's and that you should make decisions that honor your own heart.
But that phrase is so vastly important to crafting your own creative style! KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER! At a certain point, once you learn some techniques, it is very important to stop looking at books and take the road less traveled by. It can be so tempting to mimic other artists, because let's face it, a lot of artists who are published authors are very good at what they do! I can't tell you how many times I have put books by Jane Davenport into my cart online, only to remove them before pressing the Buy It Now button. Jane Davenport teaches how to do portrait work, and I can't tell you how easy it would be for me to just try to just steal her techniques to create work that resonates with other people.
I'm choosing the road less traveled by, and I would love to encourage you to do the same thing! In art and in life, keeping your eyes on your own paper and making art and decisions that are true to you is really the only way to hone and craft your own style. A dear friend told me once that you don't really need to worry if your art looks like a cohesive set, just make whatever you want to make! And I want to add to that, to make it in the way that only you can.
So "Keep your eyes on your own paper" and see what you can do! I bet that your art will level up in leaps and bounds once you honor your true voice and let your own vision shine through!