MRM Illustration by visual artist Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Creative Strategist, Visual Artist, and Illustrator Mayra Ruiz-McPherson brings 25 years of seasoned, hybrid design experience to creative projects.

In between freelance, art licensing, and publishing projects, Mayra’s working toward completing her MFA in Illustration with the Academy of Art University.

Mayra also holds a second masters in Media Psychology and is founder of her own practice, ruiz mcpherson | media.

MRM Illustration

Illustrator and visual artist Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

3 Ways I’ve (Further) Developed A Unique Sense of Drawing Style

Have you ever tried to define your drawing style? If you’re like me — someone who’s still growing and learning and trying to develop their own sense of drawing style — then you’ve probably been asking this question about your own drawing style as well.

While I'm still trying to figure out my own drawing style, the one thing I do know is finding that answer takes both time and (lots of) practice.

So here’s what I’ve learned about my own drawing style (and process) over the past several years.

  • I seem to like the hand-crafted look, imperfections and all. This means I embrace drawing (or painting) mishaps when they happen.
  • I accept I may not get my drawing(s) right at first and that reworking and refining them are a natural part of the drawing process.
  • Whatever my drawing style is or isn’t, I just have to draw (or paint or design) from my heart from start to finish and enjoy the process.

Let’s break each of these learnings down a bit more for added context.

Imperfections add a handcrafted, human touch to my work.

Mistakes are going to happen, not just in drawing but with all aspects of art and design across either digital or traditional mediums.

Sometimes, mistakes and blunders are huge and need a major correction or total do-over.

Other times, however, mistakes are much more slight like, for example, if my hand kind of wobbles a bit when drawing a line. If the wobble doesn’t detrimentally impact the art or design, I’m far more apt to keep the wobble as it makes the art or drawing more human- versus computer-rendered.

Revisions during the drawing process are GOOD!

When I first began drawing, I’d quickly become frustrated when my initial drawing wouldn’t come out perfectly.

The thought (or threat) of starting my drawing over would --- for me --- bring about a stressful sense of uncomfortable, debilitating pressure that would sabotage my creative mojo time and again.

With repeated practice, training, and much mentorship, I now welcome multiple revisions during the process and understand these iterations and refinements are a natural and necessary part of the drawing process.

Plus, letting go of trying to draw perfectly from the start was also incredibly liberating; it allowed me the stress-free room to make mistakes and fix them along the way.

Drawing from the heart is a total must.

So this last point is not a small one; at least not to me.

No matter what the project requirements or grad school assignments demand, I always try to draw from the heart.

Instructor and client specifications are important, but pouring my heart into the art, drawing, or painting process is just as important. If I focus too much on the art specifications and requirements, I start to lose the heart aspect of my work and the drawing task at hand becomes overly mechanical and terribly rote.

Three years now into my drawing journey, I’ve learned to combine drawing, art, and design specifications with my heart’s passion. And when you master this ability, you’ll find it’s what sets your work apart from everyone else’s.

Today, I still don’t exactly know what my drawing style is.

You know how people will see an Andy Warhol or a Van Gogh and instantly know the artist because of their work, right?

Well, that’s what I’m trying to figure out for myself:

What exactly is my drawing style? Is the style recognizable? Does it fall into any specific category?

While I’m still chipping away at these answers (and I’m so curious to see and learn what those aha moments will ultimately be or become), I’m trying not to obsess over them and just draw, draw, and keep on drawing.

I figure the answers will someday manifest and reveal themselves, in due course.

Do any of the experiences shared here sound like your own?

I’d love to learn how YOU yourself are working towards further developing your sense of drawing style as well. Or if you already know what your sense of drawing style is, how did you discover it and how long did it take you to “get there?”

Please share any stories, progress, and discoveries along your drawing journey with me in the comments.

Until then, thank you for reading and I look forward to learning from you as well.

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

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