Style is a hard thing to pin down. When we refer to a visual style, what exactly is it anyway? When asked about his style in an interview found on the Daredevil (2003) special features DVD, John Romita Junior said “the only style I have is a deadline style”. In his PhD thesis, Pat Grant states that “To cartoon is to make marks that are locked within a nest of cages. Some of these cages are created by the author. Some are created by the conventions and idioms of the visual language. Some are created by the practical restraints of the workflow. Either way, the friction between the cartooning body and the walls of these cages is an essential component of style.” (2014, 172) Poetic and accurate in the way Grant delineates style as something that is shaped by its constraints, rather than existing as an actively chosen outcome. That is not to say that one cannot choose to ape a style, or draw in a particular style, and speaks only to style as it flows out freeform.
My own style of drawing and visual design changes constantly and I wouldn’t know where to start if I had to pigeonhole it. Two weeks ago I was drawing in a painterly way. These pages are back to a focus on line, but with a loose, sparse quality that I’m liking. Whether that’s due to increased confidence, or the pressure of time, or a loosening of expectations of quality, I don’t know. Sometimes the best part of drawing is just getting into the zone and being surprised at what comes out. Watching the way your hand and brain work together, and how it changes over time. I’ll never get over it.