Your handwriting is as unique and distinct as you are. Regardless of how we were taught to write, we each develop our own style. Immediately recognizable to those who know us.
And like our handwriting, each artist has their own individual style of “writing.” Whether using a pencil, pen, pastel, or brush, our marks take on a personalized look. And while we may learn how to vary that look and incorporate different techniques over time, we each retain our own special “handwriting” that makes our work unique and recognizable.
I am known for a light touch. It may be from my personality of being drawn to details, or my preference for layering pastels to achieve a variety of colors within a particular area, or even my background as an Occupational Therapist, advising against long duration forceful gripping and pinching to avoid conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. Or maybe it’s just my “handwriting.”
I can incorporate other types of marks into my paintings. I selectively place thick opaque applications of pastel to accentuate an area. I may use dramatic, sweeping brushstroke-type marks, or marks with the qualities of drawing. Over the years, I have learned to bring to a painting those qualities that make it more engaging and compelling. But, like handwriting, the “look” is still mine. Comforting, familiar, recognizable, and uniquely mine.
I often hear from students “I wish I had a light touch like yours.” While I encourage students to expand their repertoire of mark-making styles to use as tools, I also encourage them to embrace their own personal mark-making style. It is what makes them unique. It is who they are.
We can always learn new skills. But we should always try to remain true to who we are.