In today’s art podcast we are going to talk about finding your art niche. Where do you fit in? Well, first of all, we should clarify that you don’t need a niche if you are purely painting for fun, although most people are drawn to certain subjects. But if you want to sell your work, it might be easier if you are known for a certain subject or style. That said, if you don’t have one yet, there’s no rush. Try not to overthink it because it will come naturally over time.
This podcast is sponsored by Evolve. Evolve can teach anyone how to paint in a realism style to a professional level in a year. They offer online lessons, support and also provide the materials you need. To find out more sign up for a free masterclass at https://kickinthecreatives.com/evolvewebinar
I you’re struggling to decide who you are as an artist, and how to describe yourself, perhaps for your website, just for now, ask yourself the following questions:
- If you could only paint one subject for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- If you could only paint in one style for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- If you could only work with one medium for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If your answers were, landscapes, abstract and mixed media, then for now, market yourself as a landscape mixed media artist, because it’s always good to be able to describe who you are right now, even if that is likely to change in the future.
The likelihood is if you have chosen those answers, you’ll be doing mainly that anyway, but allow yourself plenty of time to experiment with other subjects and mediums so that you can evolve as your answers change.
Think of art like a big triangle. So the base of the triangle is every single subject and style you could possibly create in. Then as you narrow down your subject, medium and style you get nearer the point of the triangle. Of course this doesn’t happen over night it takes time.
Try drawing and painting lots of different things
Try drawing and painting lots of different things to discover what you like. You might be surprised to find you enjoy drawing things you didn’t thing you would.
Take part in different challenges and see what subjects or mediums you are most drawn to. Don’t just try them once and give up. If you don’t like a medium the first time you try it, try it again a few weeks later. You might find you change your mind. Also try using it in different ways. Think of different ways you might apply it.
Create a mood board
You could also try creating a mood board to help you narrow down your subject matter. You can do this with art mediums and styles too. I found this really useful when I did my Find Your Art Style Challenge. it helps to give you an overall feel for what you might want your art to be like
Study past favourite art
Look at your past favourite pieces and see if there is a common thread. You may notice you have often used a particular brushstroke, maybe pointillism, in certain areas of your work. Maybe that’s a sign that you could try making more of that element to pull your future work together into something more cohesive.
You don’t always have to stick to a particular subject to have a style. If you look at Van Gogh, he paints everything from still life, to self-portraits to interiors to landscapes… The main element that shows the paintings are his, is his brushstrokes. And, he also uses a similar colour palette in his paintings. Often it’s those simple things that make a painting recognisably yours.
How do you feel about reference material?
Try using your own, royalty-free images or working without and seeing what happens. You could even try using Ai to generate reference images to inspire you. We’ll talk more about this in a future episode.
Which Artists’ work do you love?
If you really have no idea what your style is, ask yourself what work (aside from yours) that you most enjoy looking at and why. Maybe it’s certain subjects, or maybe it’s certain styles of mark-making. Maybe it’s something completely different, but whatever it is, try introducing similar elements (without copying) into areas of your own work and then build on that.
Once you find something you like, concentrate on that for a while, maybe for a few weeks and see how you feel about it at the end.
I think finding a subject you love to draw or paint is a lot easier than finding a style. Once you have found a subject you love there are still thousands of different ways you can interpret it from completely abstract to hyper realistic.
Tara, you’ve always known you love to draw faces, but it was finding your style that you struggled with. And you made a conscious effort to find it didn’t you. And now your style is unmistakable.
One of the ways I found out how I liked to paint was to paint the same thing every day in different ways. (I did one face for 50 days). The great thing about this project is it’s very focussed. Your reference is already chosen so all you have to do is experiment with how you represent it. You might find, like me that you take a few off these ideas merge them and develop them more.
Experiment with techniques and materials
Look for new techniques and materials to experiment with. You never know how this could add something to your work. I have been trying a few new materials lately and I am always excited about the possibilities of what it might bring to my work.
Experiment with different mediums to determine which ones you prefer. Are you someone who likes to work slowly and detailed or do you like to complete something in one sitting?
Which medium suits your approach?
Every type of medium lends itself to certain styles, so try to figure out which medium suits your approach best.
Experiment with different color palettes
Experiment with different color palettes and combinations. If you are stuck for inspiration there are some websites that share colour palettes or you could try taking some photographs and then use colours from within those.
Support us on Kofi
This week’s creative question
Q. What do you think sets your work apart, from other art in the same genre?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.