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Episode 16: Developing Your Signature Style

See the show notes for this Episode here.

This transcript has been automatically generated.

A signature style is that thing about your work that is uniquely you, that's recognizable to people who know your work, even when your name is not attached to it. And so no matter what it is that you create, you're going to wanna have something that is uniquely you, that designates This work is mine.

I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things creativity, design, business, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town, tucked right inside the Smokey Mountains, running a multi seven figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. When I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer.

Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up. I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want and is wildly profitable.

Welcome to the Professional Creative Podcast. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Professional Creative Podcast. If you are listening to this podcast in real time, merry Christmas, happy holidays. This is the last episode for this year. We will be back in full swing on Tuesday, January 3rd, and part of my episode today includes something that you might want to utilize as a gift this season.

So stay tuned. I'm so excited to talk about this topic today. We're gonna be discussing signature style, and this is gonna be applicable to you no matter what industry you are in, no matter if you are an artist or a ceramicist or a musician, because we all have to walk away with a signature style to our art form. There is one thing that will be somewhat unique to you if you are a artist or designer in some way,but I wanna go ahead and tell you about it because I'm so excited to offer this to you. The freebie download for today's episode is one year of daily art prompts. That's right. We have 365 different art prompts for you to consider for next year. What I love about this is that they are divided into weeks. So there's 52 weeks and for every week there's a different theme.

We have themes like neighborhood and flowers and pets and house plants, and so many different things. They're just one word to get you going, to help you stop staring at that blank page and just begin creating art because the habit of approaching your daily art practice is so important, and we're gonna talk about this more in a minute, but it's a huge part of developing your signature style if you are an artist.

So today we're gonna talk about signature style. We're gonna talk about what that is and why it's important, and five ways that you can further develop it. I like to think of a signature style as your unique impression on the world and discovering it takes a little bit of time. A signature style is that thing about your work that is uniquely you, that's recognizable to people who know your work,
even when your name is not attached to it. And so no matter what it is that you create, you're going to wanna have something that is uniquely you, that designates this work is mine. And so as an artist, we try to, you know, have a consistency in the way that we approach creating art. And that in turn oftentimes creates a signature style.

What I do know is that honing it requires a lot of work and it's not something that comes overnight. And so I'll be the first to admit that when I started designing, having a signature style absolutely terrified me. I had no idea what it was. I felt all this pressure to have one. I felt like I should have one already and I didn't.

But you know what else I didn't have was a consistent art practice either. And so I really set out to find my signature style, even though, to be honest, the pressure and my being terrified of it was so heavy that it could have just stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I really pushed through and I decided to just kind of put my head down and create work from my soul, meaning I tried not to look around too much and I really just generated work that I wanted to see. And so this took about a year and I made about 100 repeating patterns before I was able to look back and really see any kind of consistency to my work at all. So before I move on to how I wanna suggest you develop yours, I wanna talk about why it's important.

You know, it's easy to make work that looks like other people's work, and I actually think that we do this by accident even more times than we realize it because we're so used to looking at other people's work. You know, we have Pinterest and Instagram and all, all these resources for inspiration that are directly derived from other people's work. And I think that this is part of what makes developing a signature style difficult because your style has to be natural to you, it has to come from within, and there's really just no way around that other than doing the work, just creating a lot of artwork and or creating a lot of whatever it is that you create. And through that process, you'll come out the other side with something that is uniquely you. Oftentimes you won't even know what it's gonna be at the beginning.

It's important though because that's really what creates more of a brand presence. It's what creates more desire around your unique product. It also creates more desire for you if you are working with a company or a licensing agent or something like that, because a signature style is not only your unique perspective, but it also means that your work becomes a little bit predictable.

And that can be really enticing when someone is looking to work with you long term because they know what they can expect, they know what you're capable of, they know that you're gonna be able to produce the same quality work over and over again. And while you're designing different things or creating different things, there is this essence of a signature style that's true to you, and it helps them know that you are a safe option to go with that you are a bit predictable. Okay, so let's talk about five ways to develop and help Your Signature Style. This episode is sponsored by me and my Start Simple and Surface Design Guide. Truthfully, I will never forget the moment that I learned what Surface pattern design is and that it's an incredible career opportunity.

I mean Doodle for a living. Yes, please. Surface Pattern Design is the work of creating artwork in the form of a repeating pattern for products that require it like fabric, wallpaper, gift wrap tape, and any product that you can think of. After working professionally for over 13 years and teaching thousands of others how to create their career, I've made the Ultimate Guide to Surface Pattern Design and I'm giving it to you for free.

This guide is 44 pages long and it will take you from start to finish on how to jumpstart your career and surface design and get started. You'll learn how to set proper goals, build a solid foundation, find inspiration, work in collections, pitch your work, and create a career while doing something that you love. So don't delay. Go on over to bonnie christine.com/guide

to download your free copy of Start Simple and Surface Pattern Design today. Again, that's bonnie christine.com/guide, B o n N I E C H R I S T I N e.com/guide. And I will see you there.

Number one isn't a surprise, but it is easier said than done, and this is simply to create a lot of whatever it is you create. If you are an artist, you have to create a lot of art before you end up with a style. If you create anything, you have to just hone your skills and figure out along the way. Oftentimes this is different tools and supplies that you use or different techniques that you discover, and oftentimes it's how you layer different techniques that help your signature style as well.

This is where today's freebie comes in. I would love to have you hop on over to the show notes for this episode and download your year of annual art prompts. This is gonna be 52 weeks and 365 different art prompts. You could set out to draw each of them in under 60 seconds or under five minutes, or maybe you take an hour and make a full repeating pattern every single day.

But creating this habit of creating artwork every single day is going to be so incredibly helpful for you. I also think that if you are gifting something to an artist or a designer this Christmas, this would be the perfect addition to that gift. So absolutely, go over to the show notes, download it, it's beautiful. You can print it out and give it with a sketchbook and some pencils or pens or some new art supplies of some kind.

But I think it's a beautiful stocking stuffer. I think it's a beautiful gift for the creative in your life. And so go print as many as you want and enjoy the process. Okay, so number two is to create what you actually want to see come alive in the world. This is a big one because oftentimes we are creating things based on trends or based on what we think will sell or based on consumer behavior, and this can really make developing a signature style more difficult. And so I would love to invite you to just put your blinders on and create what you actually want to see come alive in the world. If you create purely from your heart, your artwork will be a direct reflection of your soul, and this is gonna help you develop and find your signature.

Style number three is don't wait for inspiration to strike. I know that my inspiration doesn't necessarily strike when I need it to, so instead of of waiting for it, I've really identified what does inspire me. I have a whole list of things that I know inspires me. Going on a hike, going on a nature walk, going to a museum, spending time in the library, going to a botanical garden, taking pictures of all of these things with my camera. All of these things really inspire me whether I'm feeling inspired or not. And so I intentionally chase after my inspiration. When I know that I need to be inspired for a project, I will get after it. I will go do the things that I know will lead to ideas and new inspiration.

I'll take my camera and my sketchbook with me. And so for whatever it is that you do, identify what inspires you and remember that you can always generate this inspiration by chasing after it. Number four is to get into the practice of creating artwork before looking at anybody else's artwork. It is so common that we sit down inspired to create something, but before we start, we dip into Instagram or Pinterest or look at, you know, other things that other people have created. And I promise you this is going to leave you less inspired than you were when you started. You will see a similar idea that's already been done, or you'll have a great idea and you'll see someone else who has done something so similar that now you're not certain if you should do it.

You'll maybe find yourself feeling like, what do you have to add to the world? There's so many people doing beautiful things already. All of these ridiculous feelings come from looking at other people's artwork. And so it's not the time to do that right before you create. Go ahead and create strictly from your own inspiration and don't consume any kind of inspiration right beforehand.

And number five is just to grow a deep love for yourself and exactly where you are right now. I think as we develop our signature style, it's really easy to wanna rush this stage and just arrive already. And there's really no rushing to be had. It is a slow process, and it's important to be gentle with it and embrace it and love it for what it is.

There is a reason for you and where you are right now with certainty. And so I truly believe that there are no closing windows of opportunity, that the perfect opportunity will be waiting for you when you have arrived, and so you're not further ahead than you should be, and you're not further behind than you should be. You are exactly where you need to be and you must grow a love for appreciating that and everything you've accomplished that has gotten you to this point.

Something that helps me is just really understanding that there will always be people both behind me and ahead of me. No matter how far along I get in life, this will always be true. And so developing a satisfaction to where I am right now has always been important ever since the very beginning. Developing a satisfaction and a love for where we are is gonna help you be able to focus and remove distractions on what you're working on and further develop your style.

That is a wrap. As a recap, ways to develop your signature style. Number one, create a lot. Number two, create what you actually want to see come alive in the world. Number three, don't wait for inspiration to strike, rather chase it. Number four, create before you consume any other inspiration. Number five, grow a deep love for yourself and where you are right now.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Professional Creative Podcast. We're taking a break next week for Christmas and New Year's, and so I will see you at the top of the new year. Happy ending to 2022. I wish you all the best and we will see you soon.

I'm Bonnie Christine.


Thanks for joining me in this journey. I can't wait to help you to craft a career you love!

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