Creating What is Popular Vs What is Unique

I have had this battle going on in my head when it comes to thinking up ideas and creating new artwork. It’s about creating what I want and what is liked.

Palmleavesillustrationhannahlewis

It comes from noticing trends and popular content on blogs and social media. In general I think there is nothing wrong with liking what is popular and current. It becomes popular for a reason, after all.

The battle with myself is that I want to be my own artist, I want to create work that is truly my own. So when I get an idea that uses millennial pink, or palm leaves I think ugh am I just never going to have an original thought ever again? Or am I just trying to be liked? Am I making stuff to just try and be part of the mainstream? Does worrying about this stuff make me one of those ‘I can’t like what is popular just because it’s popular’ people?

Rationally, I think the fact that I worry about that stuff means the answer is no.  Even if you feel inspired or intrigued by something that is very popular doesn’t mean you can’t pursue the inclination to create something that seems similar. I think just getting the idea out on paper will mean its out of your head, and you will develop these initial ideas in ways that are unique to you.  That’s what I’ve been doing lately. 

moonplantillustrationhannahlewis

I’ve given up the thought that these ideas aren’t unique or new, just to create them. I let go of the thoughts that were saying they needed to be a print, or a notebook or a greeting card. They just needed to be made so I can see what happens.

palmleavesillustrationhannahlewis

In school we would have to copy the artwork of well renowned artists. In hindsight I realize it was to learn the techniques and skills used by artists before us so that we can then unlearn them, mash them together and experiment with our own mix of ideas. You can take something that is already there, pick it apart and find out what you like about it. Then use that to grow yourself.

cornleavesbotanicalillustrationhannahlewis

I think the main thing to keep in mind is your intention. Genuinely liking something is good, if it’s popular or otherwise. It means you are constantly developing as an artist. I have to keep reminding myself that actually I don’t feellike I need to pander, or feel like none of my thoughts are original any more. This is about revealing in what you enjoy, what cool things are out there at the moment and what that means to you.