Narrowing Down Your Style of Work to Increase Sales

This week, we're diving into a topic that comes up in almost every conversation I have with new artists: narrowing down your style of work.

As someone who has struggled with this over the years, I get it. We’re creative people who love trying new techniques and materials. We don’t want to commit to making just one thing for the rest of our lives but we’ve been told over and over that it's what we need to do in order to be successful. Finding your niche can make all the difference in attracting the right audience and increasing your sales. 

Let's talk about why it matters. Your artistic style is like your unique fingerprint—it sets you apart from every other artist out there and it creates a recognizable brand identity. When you have a clear and cohesive style, it becomes easier for potential buyers to connect with your work and for you to stand out in a crowded market.

Think about the artists you know whose work you could pick out of a crowd. That’s what we’re going for. And before you tell me that you don’t want to paint just one thing for the rest of your life—that is not what I’m suggesting at all. You should paint whatever you want whenever you want. BUT, you don’t need to share everything with the world. You can keep those wild experiments and departures from your style to yourself. Not everything needs to be for public consumption.

With that said, here are some good strategies for developing your style:

1. Reflect on Your Inspirations

Start by reflecting on the artists and artworks that inspire you the most. What elements of their style resonate with you? Is it their use of color, their subject matter, or their technique? By identifying your artistic influences, you can begin to pinpoint the aspects of your own work that you want to emphasize and develop further.

I suggest first collecting a couple dozen images in an album on your computer or phone or in a board on Pinterest. They don’t have to be similar to each other, just images that light you up. Then go through each image one by one and write down what you love about it. Single words or short phrases are best. Anything like “bright colors” or “thick drippy paint.” By the time you go through every photo you selected you should have a long list of descriptors to take into the next phase. 

2. Experiment and explore

It’s time to head into the studio or to your kitchen table as the case may be. Take your list with you, but don’t look at your photo references anymore. I find that looking at other people’s art when I’m trying to make my own is too much of an influence. What you want to do instead is use your list to experiment and explore different styles and techniques.

Try working with new mediums, exploring different subject matters, and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone all inspired by the descriptors you wrote on your list. Try using bright colors with thick drippy paint and see what happens. Through this process of experimentation, you'll start to understand what really resonates with you and what you are called to make. You’ll know you’re on the right path in your experimentation because it will feel fun and exciting. 

3. Making good work

The thing a lot of people don’t understand is that a big part of what makes art good is the artist's enthusiasm for it.

If you wish your art was stronger, then the best thing you can do is put some more hours into finding what particular part of art-making makes you feel alive. Follow those feelings, they’re like clues. Following the thing you find to be most joyful will lead you to an authentic style that you will be happy to create in for a good long while.

4. Refine and define

As you continue to refine your style, focus on what makes your work unique and distinctive. Pay attention to recurring themes, colors, or techniques that appear across your body of work. These elements form the foundation of your artistic identity and can serve as key selling points when marketing your art to potential buyers.


Once you’ve really established your style, you’ll find it becomes much easier to sell your work for a couple of reasons.

First, there’s a real clarity about your intentions as an artist that makes it easy both for you to talk about your work and for others to understand what you are trying to do. Second, people know what to expect from you. They come to expect bright colors and drippy paint. They love bright colors and drippy paint and they know you’re the person to come to for it! What happens is after a while, you’ve built a fan base that gets to know you in addition to your art and they become interested in other things you might want to make. This is your opportunity to expand upon the one thing you’ve become known for. 

So in conclusion, developing one signature style of work is a pivotal step in maximizing your art sales potential. By reflecting on your inspirations, experimenting and exploring in the studio, and really paying attention to what is bringing you the most joy, you can create a cohesive and compelling body of work that resonates with buyers and sets you apart in the art world.

Remember, your artistic journey is unique to you. Embrace the process, stay true to your vision, and watch as it pays off in the long run. Until next time, keep making your art!

All the best,


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