How to Find Your Own Artistic Voice

How to Find Your Own Artistic Voice

One of the biggest points I try to emphasize is artistic “voice”. Call it style, call it feeling, but call it yours. We as individuals have our own personal flair.

We hold something that no other living thing in this world has, we can think freely, we can imagine, we can do anything we want. I am saddened when I look at art and see that its already been done in history or when I see art and think I recognize the artist only to read the tag and see that a ‘copy-cat’ artist made it. Alright,  I won’t call it copying, but it’s close to it. I see this phenomenon in school too; young artists who always try a copy their teachers.

I love the television show, American Idol, so I use it freely to express my points about your ‘artistic voice’. Take guys like Mr. Adam Lambert. If you saw his run at being the Idol last year, you would have heard comments about his originality. Adam was masterful at taking an older song and make it current. Let’s look at his originality. Many of you might not like him, but put that aside for now. He is original and has a voice that can picked out from a 100 people.

Now look at your own art. Can someone who knows nothing about art pick yours out of 100 pieces? The winners of American Idol have the ability to take any song and make it sound like it’s their own. Make your art yours.

Now think about some of the greatest artists of all time. Van Gogh, with his unique brushwork might have painted the most famous painting ever, Starry Night”. Every time another artist out there uses that type of brushstroke, people think of Mr. Van Gogh. The same thing can be said of Jackson Pollock and so on.

Okay, so how can we use our own artistic ‘voice’ to help make us famous?

I have worked really hard most of my life to be a little different than most people. Back when I was developing my own ‘artistic voice’  I paid close attention whenever someone remarked on my artwork and said it looked like another artist’s work. After, I would research that artist and change whatever it was that made my art look like their work. I did this until I started getting comments like “wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before”.

How to Find Your Own Artistic Voice

How to Find Your Own Artistic Voice

Little by little with hours and hours of labor you can also develop something all your own and change the way everyone looks at your art. Be one of the greats – don’t be like one of the greats!

by guest artist/author: NemoThe focus of Nemo’s art is not the subject, but the method by which he constructs it. Nemo was trained as an architectural draftsman with a desire to put his manual drawing skills to work.  Nemo uses various line weights combined with multiple styles of circles, spirals and swirls to compose the subject. The entire image is drawn freehand with the most primitive of tools, a #2 pencil with an accent of colored pencil on vellum drafting paper. With this, Nemo has truly found his own ‘artistic voice’.

Thanks for the inspiration, Nemo! ~Lori

If you want to learn more about drawing, please check out these wonderful books on drawing from Northlight Books!

Drawing Realistic Textures In Pencil Drawing And Painting People Keys To Drawing Perspective Without Pain

Let’s meet on Twitter and Facebook! ~Lori 🙂

You might like these interesting articles:

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How to Overcome 3 Common Barriers to Success as an Artist

7 Creative Ways to Approach an Art Gallery for Representation

The Healthy Artist: Tips to Help You Stay that Way

On My Easel: Still Life Painting Demo #1

14 Art Business Tips from the Pros on Twitter

Create a Niche Market for Your Art is a Sea of Artists

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  1. Janet Sundt January 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm


    Thank you for your tips. I am going solo on my own show. No money to I will have a home show.

    Lovely work. Thanks again.


    • Lori McNee January 27, 2010 at 9:03 am

      Good luck with your upcoming show, Janet. I would love you to share your tips on how to have a studio/home show if you are interested…let me know!
      Thanks, ~Lori

  2. Florence Mills April 27, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I could say that Adam Lambert has got to be the winner on American Idol. He has excellent stage performance and nice voice too. `

    • Lori McNee April 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Yes he does…but he came in second place! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Ewan Matthews July 10, 2010 at 12:29 am

    i thought that adam lambert should have won the american idol singing contest.””-

  4. Georgie McNeese (ArtByG) January 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Great article. I struggle with finding my artistic voice. I’m afraid that I am in a bit of a copycat phase, but I feel that is a phase that many artists have to go through to find their own voice. You’ve given me food for thought. Thank you.

    • Lori McNee January 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      Hello Georgie-

      Artists through the ages have copied each other for learning and inspiration. It is a great exercise which helps your figure out your own style. It is part of the learning process. Just like with anything thing, practice and miles of canvas will help you find your own voice.

      Happy painting-

  5. Maura Satchell aka Moesse May 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Very insightful article, thanks so much! Having only started two years ago, I am still exploring and “playing” as it were. I’ve heard that I need to find a style and stick with it but didn’t want to be fenced in, ya know? Still, NEMO makes great (great!) arguments for why that is necessary. Thanks again.

    • Lori McNee May 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Maura-

      Good for you…I wish art could always feel like ‘playing’! I try to keep that childlike attitude when I paint. Yes, a consistent body of work is important to your artistic development. Edit it down to the bare essentials and aks yourself, what am I trying to say. That will help.
      Good luck and I am glad you enjoyed this post.

      Lori 🙂

  6. David Menendez June 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Lori we have been facebook friends for sometime now. But having over 500 friends it’s so hard and virtually impossible to keep up with everyone. I do enjoy viewing and I do comment and click like often on your page and wall we share. And I have always loved and admired your work. Today I recieved your newsletter in my personal email for the first time. WOW! Reading your adventures about the wild horses opened my eyes to somethings I wasn’t even aware of. Thank’s for bringing the sad plight of the American wild horses to my attention. And reading farther into your newsletter I discovered so many helpful tips! Thank you for sharing such vital information on our land, nature and many constructive tips on art and painting. Looking forward to your next newsletter and see on facebook! Sincerely, David Menendez – 🙂

    • Lori McNee June 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      Hello David…I looked for you on Facebook just now and couldn’t find you. 🙁 Next time, say hi on my wall so I can put your face with this comment. Thanks for taking time to read the Wild Horse post. I am glad it taught you something new and important to think about. Also, I am glad my art tips are useful to you! I really appreciate the feedback.

      Cheers and happy painting-

  7. Nancy Pace (@NancysWildWire) July 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Great post! I was never one to “color in the lines” I think we can appreciate others without copying. It is most annoying to see work you shared listed as another artists original.

  8. mina September 7, 2012 at 5:05 am

    SoOoOo intresting to see someone like myself, being inspired by watching that show.i mean that was the time i found the importance of being original or simply there should be no copycat in my painting cause i thought the opposite before.since i remember,i’ve been painting figures,all by my mind not having a model or… i used to do this when i saw the surrounding peaple,sounds like i was inspired by them and each of figures had a backgroung and life story in my mind. my sister who paints landscape and still life says what i’m doing is monotonous but my master and i don’t think the same.he says i’m so talented and regrets why i study math.i’ve kept on drawing the same till now that i’m 18.i never put my mind into it cause i’m lazy for painting by oil and … or everytime there’s a lesson to study.i’m afraid to say i’m gonna be worse cause i’m worried about it’s market,that’s what keeps me from doing what i’ve always wished to do. regardless of that,everytime i think about my future i realise i can’t go on doing or studying compulsery anymore but still money… i’m from iran and making money by fine art in that way you said is not easy hear. i’ve choosed to fancy decorating.i’m so confused and rather feel guilty because of the importance money have to me.

    • Lori McNee November 19, 2012 at 11:58 am

      There is no harm in wanting to make money from your art. You should not be embarrassed or guilty for those feelings. Success is a state of mind too!


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