The Secret To Defining Your Signature Style | Mixed-Media Art Ideas

We all have those pesky voices inside our head that give us excuse after excuse why we shouldn’t create art. One that creeps into my mind is that the piece I want to make has probably been done before. Someone, somewhere, has conceived of the same idea, so why should I bother? But then I remember that even if it has been done, it hasn’t been done my way. Besides, I’m not creating new things just to be the first and only–I create because I’m alive, and because I have ideas that won’t let me rest until I see them through. It’s a blessing and a curse.

One thing’s for sure–if you let the negative voices in your mind hold the reins, you’ll be stuck in a purgatory between creativity and fear. Silence the negativity with positive affirmations. As this becomes easier with time and practice, you’ll begin to create with your unique style. Once you recognize that style, you’ll feel empowered to continue to make more mixed-media art. Here’s what Danielle Donaldson, author of creativeGIRL: Mixed-Media Techniques for an Artful Life, has to say about finding your voice.

Mixed-media art ideas | Danielle Donaldson,
Use the promo code 12DEALS40 to save 40% on creativeGIRL and other books, magazines, and DVDs throughout the Interweave Store. Above: Artwork by Danielle Donaldson

Inspiration for Mixed-Media Artists by Danielle Donaldson

I try to balance my need to control the outcome in my art and my desire to be carefree and let things happen in surprising and magical ways. It’s a delicate process, but a process that has pushed me to come up with creative solutions that make my work mine. It’s that “signature look” that ties all of my pieces together.

To begin with, flicking and splashing paint in between color transitions was just something I did. Mostly because it was fun to do. And partly because I knew it was a great way to tie my color palette together. Those little dots and splashes of color were my way of letting go of control in the midst of careful planning. Over time, I found myself using the dots and splashes as random opportunities to doodle. These little penciled-in details have become my last step in my creative process, signaling that I’m happy with the piece and it’s mine.

These signature solutions evolve over time and sometimes they are there, and you don’t even know it. What do yours look like? And if you don’t feel like you have any, gather up a few of your pieces and study them. You may be closer to your signature look than you think!

• Is a specific color always included in your palette?
• When you paint girls, do they always have flowers in their hair?
• Do you use brown pencils and pens instead of black?
• Do you create symmetrical drawings even when everyone else doesn’t?
• Do you hand-letter a quote for all of your paintings?

If you don’t feel like you have a signature look yet, don’t despair! It just means that you’re still growing into your own creative style. Start paying attention to what parts of your process are innate and which are borrowed from those creative souls you love. Then ask yourself, how can I make this mine in a big or maybe little way? ~Danielle

If you’re still exploring the mixed-media art techniques that call to you, continue playing with various color combinations, mediums, and subjects. You’ll find that certain elements speak to you more than others; when that happens, note it and pull from that inspiration the next time you work on your mixed-media art.

Do you already have a signature style? Share what makes your art unique on the blog!

Silence the negativity,

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