Having a style is one of those things. To be great, you have to have one. And, it better be incredible. It feels like I’ve always sought after and struggled with finding mine.

At work, it was crucial I was able to emulate any style. So, after years of conforming to whatever inspiration came across my desk, it felt like I just became a tool.

Some pretty bow pumps

On top of that, I had all these ideas of what I thought “a real illustrator” should be. For example, “a real illustrator” would never scan and edit a rough sketch and then use a light box for the final. Or, “a real illustrator” doesn’t do digital touch-ups. That’s cheating. 😂

I felt like any shortcuts or tricks of the trade I used at work weren’t genuine. “Real artists” wouldn’t do those things.

Finally, I realized trying to satisfy these made-up expectations just held me back. And, I was nonsensically cheating myself of all the experience I’d acquired.

Free Your Mind

As my friend put it, “Stop trying so hard to do things the way you think they’re supposed to be and just do what you want!” (Yes, this is one of those incredible friends who is wise, talented, fun, and knows what to say to bolster your confidence back to 110%!)

Some pretty bow pumps for the new year

I think this song says it best. It’s about music. But, it can be applied to anything. (That includes making pretty fashion illustrations, right?)

Once you want to free your mind about a concept of harmony and of music being correct, you can do whatever you want.

So nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do.

I’m still not satisfied with my style. (I doubt I’ll ever be.) There’s a lot of refining to be done, but I feel I am finally on the right path!