Stephen Travers Art

Things I’ve Learnt About Drawing #5

Stephen Travers

What Creates My Own Artistic Style?


I’ve come to understand each artwork as a solution of many individual problems.  In each of these problems I’ve had to make a creative decision about how to render a 3D object into a 2D one.


With, say, pencil sketching, I have only one basic tool – line.  With that one tool, I have to solve the problems of how to convey form, colour, shadow, light, distance, atmospheric conditions, impossible complexity, movement, etc.  All with the same, one tool – a line.


When I draw a tree – how do I represent that some of the tree is in shadow; that some of the tree I see looking through the canopy and is actually on the other side of the tree; the different colours of  new leaf growth; that the sun is low in the sky; the patterns on the bark; a foggy morning; wind in the branches; and, most importantly, how do I represent the millions of leaves I can’t even see, let alone draw.


Each of these issues I think of as a problem.  How I solve each one and arrange them together in a finished drawing will determine my style – what makes my artwork identifiable as mine.


Over time, I may change some, or all of how I solve these problems. My style will change accordingly (or not).  But it is in the creative process of finding, and changing solutions that I learn and grow and improve.  So I must be constructively self-critical: which solutions work well for my desired result, and which ones less so. Are there some particular aspects of my artwork that need more practice than others – or even a different solution entirely? Can I see an issue I never appreciated before?  It’s all creative fuel for the next artwork.


But there is one common practice I think is generally very unhelpful in our artistic development.  Next Blog.