How do artists discover their signature style?

Breslov art twin story

This picture is my personal favorite from all my illustrations.

I created it about 15 years ago at the age of 16. This picture, like the illustrations in the previous post, is based on a story from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The story is a mystical variant of the classic tale of two twins separated at birth. There are allusions to the deepest kabbalistic and mystical secrets, cloaked in a beautiful, surreal tale.

One detail in the story that made a deep visual  impression on me was the idea of the moon making a “joke” and causing the sun to laugh. The result of that odd interaction is that the sun weaves a “garment” for the moon. I did not know what any of this means, and I still don’t, but I loved the visual concept.

What I like about this picture is that it is the first picture that really actualizes my artistic style. The fluid, swirly lines of the tree and mountains, and the slightly zany characters, all set in a somewhat surreal setting, felt natural and spontaneous to create. Of course, the “flat screen” castle on the lower right is a somewhat modern appendage to a otherwise classic picture, but it’s all good.

That feeling of “flow”, when the picture feels spontaneous and natural, is an indicator that one is honing in on a personal style. More importantly, the feeling of having articulated and expressed what you were feeling inside is also a signpost that you are headed in the right direction. In many ways I feel  it’s like reenacting when you were a child learning to speak. First you grunt and make general sounds. Slowly, with time, the sounds develop into single words which become full sentences, and eventually they evolve into full blown speech with a personal rhythm, inflection and vocabulary.

The mediums I used for this picture were those available to me at the time in my high school dormitory: crayons, magic markers, and a pen. Surprisingly the crayons added a nice texture that can be seen in these close ups:

One note: the gentleman balancing on the tree is not a depiction of Rabbi Nachman, of blessed memory, but rather the protagonist in the story.

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