Finding my art style – part 1

It might sound strange, an artist who’s been getting paid to create artwork for 5 years who doesn’t know his own style.

Most of the artwork I do is commissioned work, where my clients ask me to paint an existing image on an object of their choice. There are a lot of trick and techniques to paint the image as close as possible to the original, leaving very little room for originality or creativity.

To satisfy my creative urges I spend time in between airbrush projects working on oil paintings.

But then I look at the artists I admire and they all have a thing in common: They have a very recognizable style.

Now why would I want my own style? Well, for two main reasons: I want to also be recognizable. I hate to say it, but so many airbrush artists’ work looks the same. I want to move past that. It would be great if people would look at a piece of my work at someone’s house and say: “Hey, is that a Bas Hollander?”. But I would also like to get to a point where, instead of asking me to paint an image they found online, my clients would ask me to paint something in my own style for them. The result would hopefully be that my work becomes more attractive to collectors too.

So, that made me think about my artwork, what is my style? I tend to paint realistic paintings, but that does not set me apart. Lots of people do that. In fact, there are plenty of artists much better at that than I. Also, when I do that, I still tend to copy a photo, even if it’s a photo I took.

So, that’s when I started thinking that my style is probably closest to what I draw when I doodle. When I draw something, not copied, but completely from memory. Interestingly that is never realistic. For me that has always been much more cartoonish than realistic. My influences growing up, were mostly Dutch, Belgian and French comic book artists; Eric Schreurs, Hein de Kort, Franquin, Uderzo, Robert van der Kroft. So naturally I copied their work and when bored at school would be drawing in their style.

But I figure that’s not a bad thing. Whimsical art is popular.

During the next few weeks I’ll be taking you along, while I explore what could become my own art style.

The image below illustrates the type of work that comes out of my pencil when I just draw something for fun. I see that as an excellent starting point for this journey…

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