It has been a year since I quit my teacher’s internship. Even more, it has been a year since I left the field of history at large. Now as I look back on last year, I realize I spent far too many years chasing a dream that was never really mine. I’m finally doing what I want, doing what I should have been doing years ago. That’s not to say it has been easy – it hasn’t. And the struggle certainly isn’t over.
Anyway. Here, I will just talk a little about one thing that kept me awake nights: my personal style – or my perceived lack of personal style.
Last year I spent pursuing a unique style of drawing. I dabbled a bit in acrylics, in digital paints, in pen-and-inks… But a lot of time was wasted not doing actual drawing. Then I read this quote somewhere, which struck a chord:
“If you practice and draw you can no more help developing a style than a baby duck can help swimming when it goes in the water.”
So I started practicing again.
Still, I never felt satisfied with my then-current style of art.
And then early this morning I had an epiphany. I was deconstructing my latest cartoon (see image below; by the way, at the time of writing, it’s still a work in progress) to break myself down as a cartoonist, to understand for myself who or what my influences are. The nose, colored in a darker shade of more or less the same color as the face – inspired by John Kricfalus (Ren & Stimpy); the gun – Martin Lodewijk (Agent 327), no doubt; the eyes – Jim Davis (Garfield), perhaps; the variable and irregular teeth – a childhood drawing by my brother. The rest is all me. So while this cartoon may not be the most original work of art ever but an inspired mishmash of styles or, if you will, a flat pastiche… it, nevertheless, is something entirely unique.
So yeah, I don’t need find a style of my own, I already have one.
Knowing this, I can now settle down and focus on just practicing. With this in mind, this year, I expect to make great strides in improving my command of cartooning moxie.