The word “style” is constantly thrown around in the design and illustration communities, but what does it really mean? A unique look or feel can help you market yourself to clients who will seek out that particular magic only you can provide, but clinging to stylistic techniques or tropes can easily become gimmicky or boring, both for you and your audience. Style isn’t about pursuing what’s popular—about putting a bird on it—but should reflect your individuality and interests. Easier said than done. In a world already full of amazing imagery, how do you develop a unique style? How do you reflect what you like without ripping off your idols? How do you find a balance between developing a personal voice and connecting with a larger audience? How can you maintain a distinctive look and yet continue to evolve as an artist?
This talk was given at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 2013 in Cleveland, OH. For more info check out wmcfest.com
Jacqui Oakley was born and currently lives in Canada, but spent her formative years watching BBC reruns and animé in Bahrain, England, Zambia, and Libya. Her illustration work has included editorial, advertising, and book projects for clients like The New York Times, Rolling Stone, L.A. Weekly, National Geographic, The Financial Times (UK), Amazon, AOL and more. Her paintings have been exhibited in Toronto, L.A., San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Diego and Shanghai and she’s lucky to have won awards from Applied Arts Magazine, Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and American Illustration. In her spare time, Jacqui teaches in the illustration program at OCAD University (Ontario College of Art and Design) in Toronto, Canada, but wishes she could be working her way through The Twilight Zone instead.