Consistency Vs Artistic Freedom
Are you constantly told that consistency is more important over having artistic freedom?
I get you. Almost all the articles I read always emphasise on consistency being key to selling products or services. By consistency, I mean doing the same form, style or medium of art for the rest of your artist career. But who wants to keep doing the same thing over and over again without getting bored?
It hinders your growth.
To be a good artist you need to grow to improve what you offer to your audience. But how will you achieve that if you limit your art to one style and one medium only?
An inspired artist is a productive artist. This I believe to be very true. If you ask me to do the same style of drawing or sculpture over and over again, without a doubt I would lose complete interest.
My drive to something, be it art or crafting, is the challenge to do it in different ways. This is how I grow and improve myself. Maybe you’re the same too.
When I stumbled on a few online articles advising me to be consistent with my style in order to sell my art and have loyal followers, it made me think :
“What’s the point of making art in the first place if you can’t even be passionate about it and have the freedom to explore art in different styles?”
At one point, I even reconsidered focusing on one medium and one style only. You’ve probably heard the derogatory saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. It means by doing and learning so many things, you don’t have mastery to any of them.
But I contemplated and realised how much I disagree to that saying. Have you ever heard about Polymaths ? That will be a topic for the next post.
For now, let me tell you that in my experience, I only ever jump on to the next type of art if I have mastered it. That means I know the ins-and outs, techniques, and troubleshooting methods of that particular type of art. That’s the only time I move on to learn another form of art. I want to master it before moving on to the next. Mastering & dabbling are two different things.
Having said all that, I believe consistency is still very important.
Being an advocate to artistic freedom, I do not devalue the importance of being consistent. You may ask, “how can you be consistent if you are not sticking to one form of art/craft or style?”
The answer is to have one encompassing theme to your ART. You need to choose a theme that will make it your style without hindering your artistic freedom.
Here are 3 ways that you can do this:
1.) Choose a mood for your art and stick to it.
You need to set a tone for your work. For example, the most common moods an artist wants to use in his/her art are: dark or disturbing, fun and vibrant or emotions like optimism, sadness or happiness. It needs to invoke some sort of feeling to the person viewing your work.
2.) Choose a colour palette that will describe that mood.
The use of color is one of the most effective ways to create a mood for your work. For example, using a darker colour scheme with emphasis on black immediately invokes feelings of the unknown or the negative. But it can also mean authority and power.
However, you cannot associate those feelings to more vibrant colours like pink, lime green, orange or yellow. These colours evoke, happiness, energetic and playful feelings.
The idea is to stick to that color palette (with minimal use of other colours when required) in order to have a consistent style.
You also need to have a basic understanding of color psychology before deciding your color scheme.
3. Choose a category that will be the central subject of your work.
The subjects you can choose include landscape, people, animals, botanical, abstract, architecture and many more. Choosing one subject helps with consistency while not being limited to your artistic freedom.
For my art, I choose to do people, which is my greatest passion. Like I said earlier, I do different forms of art. I sketch, illustrate, paint and sculpt and I don’t want to decide to choose only one because I love doing them all. I also work with different types of materials.For example, I sketch with markers, coloured pencils and digitally; I paint with oil and acrylic; and I sculpt with polystyrene or clay.
I choose to be consistent with making people the central subject of my work. However, I don’t do them the same way each time. My characters are sometimes cartoon styled, portrait or chic style.
By building your portfolio using a certain mood, a specific colour scheme and one category only, you will have consistency in your work without being limited with your artistic freedom.
I believe that knowing how to be consistent while having artistic freedom is key to an artist’s success.