Today, I’m sharing a few thoughts on how to develop your style in terms of artistry and memory keeping.
Develop Your Style
Experience comes through showing up and walking the talk.
I have been an ‘official’ memory keeper since 2002 when Ella, my first child arrived in this world, but the introduction to this ‘sport’ was sparked early in childhood.
- I remember my Mum drawing outlines just so I could fill them with pieces of cut fabric and paper well before the age of 5.
- I gathered photos and brochures on our travels just so I could cut them up and stick them in books with words.
- I created my first scrapbook before the age of 10 as part of a school trip.
Note. I began making art at my parents coffee table scribbling with crayons before I could even walk.
Maybe I was born to make art but I have firm beliefs that everyone can do this too.
The secret lies in showing up to your art on a regular basis and establishing a practice that works for you.
Finding your Style is just a by product of the process and reveals itself in time.
Step 1. Mimicry
Year 2004 | Daddy’s Boots
We learn new skills from imitating or copying others.
- Young children learn from their older siblings.
- Teens are very much influenced by their peers.
- Adults have goals and aspire to be like leaders in those skill sets.
It’s a smart, human and a proven way to learn and grow in any discipline.
- Find a layout or person’s style you like and then you emulate it.
Note. This is exactly how I started my journey in digital artistry and memory keeping – I discovered the art of celebrating photos with artistry and words, saw a blended digital page and here I am still learning almost 18 years later.
Year 2004 | Layouts using my first collections of DigitalART (The Miracle CD Collection)
Step 2. Practice
Layouts | Years 2006, 2008, 2010
Show up regularly to make the magic happen.
- Some people maybe more gifted in areas than others but talent can only take you so far.
- It’s unusual to try something for the first time and the result meet expectations.
- To get really GOOD at something takes commitment and discipline.
- You have to show up with frequency to see improvement.
- It’s not the amount of time but how OFTEN.
- Consistency and REPETITION are key.
And it’s all a matter of priority.
- Everyone has the SAME amount of TIME and so this argument is therefore irrelevant.
- When you say you don’t have time, you mean it’s not a PRIORITY right now.
- This can change as our lives evolve or you decide to make a change.
- Find SPACE, mentally and physically, to fit a creative practice into your life.
- Give up one thing in order to make room for another.
Layouts | Years 2012, 2014 and 2016 |
Aim for each and every day.
- Frequency builds HABIT which then becomes a integrated part of your life.
- This process happens over time and requires patience.
- Try a Layout a Day project for a period of at least 21 days to establish a habit.
Note. Photoshop, photo artistry and memory keeping have been an almost DAILY practice in the past 17 1/2 years.
- I began with creating layouts, then progressed to creating photo projects such as aA Project and FotoInspired
- This has cumulatively provided me with experience to share what I have learned.
Tip. See aA Project 15 Year Evolution
FotoInspired | Years 2011, 2012 and 2013
Step 3. Observe
Year 2007 | Addicted to Type
Notice how you FEEL.
- Be present in the process of emulation and and practice.
- Take note of which techniques, approaches and finished layouts you LOVE.
- What was it about the process or the finished piece that you really like?
- Consider also what you do NOT like.
- Paying attention to these small details will give important information and lead you an a journey of your own personal STYLE personal.
Do what you love.
- Cliche but true.
- Like attracts like.
- Enjoying the process will lead to layouts you also ENJOY.
- The journey is just as important, and often as big an influence, to the mood at the destination.
- How often has a terrible journey tainted one of your holidays/vacations?
Note. Blending, Brushes and Blending Modes have always been the key component to driving what I do around here and keeping me interested in this sport.
Layouts | Years 2017, 2018 and 2019
Step 4. Evolution
Year 2005 | Possibilities
Transformation is a natural progression.
In other words, if you pay attention and practice steps 1-3, you will automatically get to step 4.
- MIMIC so you can learn.
- PRACTICE so you can hone your skills
- OBSERVE so you can establish what works (and doesn’t work) for you.
- EVOLVE based on what inspires and excites YOU the most.
- STYLE just magically happens in the process.
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
But flaws appear when you try adopt this approach long term.
- You will never be able to fully create another person’s style.
- Like a finger print, artistic or creative styles is personal to you.
- Frustration often follows which takes away from the joy.
- You might just give up on something really GOOD.
This is the most important part of the process and where many memory keepers and artists fail.
Note. I have tried LOTS of different approaches over the years in terms of my layouts, photo projects, products and classes.
- Digital, tactile, graphic, minimalist, traditional, modern, mixed media, and art journaling approaches have ALL been part of the journey.
- I have identified what I LOVE most about each one, as well as what works, and blended ONLY these parts into my artistry.
- This has provided the inspiration and opportunity to experiment more deeply with those areas of interest
- And with practice and patience the ‘artsy’ STYLE that I share with you today has come into play.
DigitalART | Years 2004, 2008 and 2019
Step #5 Non-Conformity (Optional)
Year 20017 | Shop
Learn the rules so you can break them.
- The beauty of art is that there are few boundaries.
- This can lead to an endless journey of exploration and discovery.
- You control the process but can ALWAYS be surprised by the outcome.
Step outside your comfort zone.
- Be curious instead of fearful.
- Have faith and perseverance.
- Do the work.
Year 2019 | My Most Recent Layout
Note. I purposefully look for ways to be different and authentic in my artistry and memory keeping. I will often try projects and approaches and then modify them to make them suit me better.
This has certainly been the case with the upcoming aA Project:
- Started as a desire to document Ella’s first Christmas,
- Evolved into trying Ali Edwards December Daily
- Now it is so much MORE than a Holiday project.
This annual project has become a way to reflect and reminisce on the months, years and decades of my life.
- Enables me to create at least one photo book per year.
- Humors my sentimentality at the end of that year (with festive feels if I feel so inclined.)
- Celebrates what’s most MEANINGFUL to me at that moment in time.
- Makes me feel really GOOD about my life and the people I share it with.
Note. This year I will be doing a ‘Then and Now’ album, comparing life in 2009 with 2019, comparing what’s changed and what has remained the same.
Want to join me and start developing your own style?
aA Project 2019 begins SOON.
- You are invited to MIMIC the ideas and inspiration to be shared by myself, the aA Creative Team, as well as other students in the class.
- This template based workshop provides the ability to PRACTICE and focus on developing your artistry skills (because the basic layout design is provided) and build a layout creating habit in the month of December to take you into the new year and decade.
- You have the opportunity to OBSERVE what works and doesn’t under my guidance via our exclusive Facebook group or direct email support.
- Follow these 3 steps and your artistry will begin to EVOLVE.
- Go for the NON-CONFORMITY, break your own rules, step outside your comfort zone and come with me on this journey.
Join the discussion 4 Comments
Such an enlightening post Anna! Thank you for openly sharing the guidance to creative artistry, coming from a true professional. I appreciate every tidbit you’ve included.
Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback Beverly. Means much.
This is a wonderful post even 2 years after you first posted and I first read it. No matter how long you’ve been doing something it’s easy to get stuck or over-whelmed. You’ve shared lots of ways to get creative, grow in your artistry and stay positive about what you create. Thank you! This is a post I’ll keep nearby and re-read periodically when I’m stuck.
I love how our writing often stays relevant in spite of the passage of time.