Is What You Are Doing Good Enough? How an Artist Finds Their Style

Is What You Are Doing Good Enough? How an Artist Finds Their Style

joniephoto-Drew Brophy sacred-6157

Do you ever wonder if what you’re doing is good enough?

A young Artist asked for my advice on how to find her style.
She wanted to know how I developed my own painting style.

My answer to her is one that we can apply to just about anything we do in life.

This is what I told her:

When I was young and trying to make a living as a surf artist and a surfboard painter, I painted a lot.  Every day I produced new work.

I painted what I wanted to paint, even when other people didn’t like it.

I didn’t try to please anyone with my paintings. Many people didn’t get what I was doing.  I thought they were nuts that they didn’t get it.  (And they thought I was nuts.)

In the beginning, I tried to get people excited about the paintings I was doing, but most didn’t respond.

There was an entire world of people who didn’t respect or understand what I was doing.  It wasn’t good enough for galleries or even surf shops at one point.  I was turned down by almost every single surfboard maker in the early years, because they didn’t understand my art.

I was constantly rejected but I didn’t stop doing it.

I felt insecure, but I didn’t let it stop me.  I put my head down and just kept going.  Creating what I was driven to create.

Then one day some people started to like what I was doing.
Eventually, more and more people liked it.

My style became popular, and now decades after all the rejection, people copy it all over the world.

My advice: Do what you want.  Paint, draw, create a lot. Every day.

Paint for yourself and see what develops.

Don’t do what other people do and don’t do what other people tell you to do, not unless you really want to.  Be stubborn.

Don’t do things just because they have always been done that way.  Do things your own way.

Do what draws you in and what keeps your interest the most. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions.

No matter what you do, someone is going to love it, and someone is going to hate it.  Find the people who love it.

Experiment with a lot of things.  Be patient. Let it develop. It may take months or years to find your style and it will constantly evolve and progress.

Just keep creating art.

I hope this helps all those people out there who aren’t sure if what they are doing is good enough.  It is.  Just keep doing it.  

Life is Good – Drew

P.S.  Are you struggling with with going against the grain?  Or doing things your own way?  Please leave a comment on this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Drew Brophy
Artist, illustrator, surfer
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  • Dominique Kongsli
    Posted at 22:29h, 24 January

    Thanks for posting this! If you think about all of the artists out there trying to fit into a fixed number of established galleries, there is a reason why we receive so many rejections. I truly believe that it is a numbers game, and it all hinges on finding your tribe who are excited about what you do and NEVER giving up! The breakthrough is just around the Bend. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us. Sincerely, Dominique

  • Debbie B Lewis
    Posted at 04:26h, 13 July

    Thank you for always sharing trade secrets and giving advice . Love this article on finding your style . I have worked commercially for 14 years drawing shirt art for nation wide company . Always drawing what customers wanted . Over the past two years I have focus more on my art , my style and it is wonderful ! Thanks for all the good advice . Love your art , have been following you for many years

  • Dkta
    Posted at 17:26h, 27 April

    I’m a music producer/ artist who has come from the East Coast all the way to LA to make a career for myself. I never had many sources of inspiration in my life, but I can honestly say you’re one of them. My admiration for you began when I was 12 and I wanted to become a surfer. My parents took me to a surf expo at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach and that’s when I laid eyes on the most magnificent piece of art to grace my eyes – a custom Fish Tailed Shortboard painted by you. It blew me away and changed what I thought art could be forever. My Dad bought the board for me on the spot after seeing how quickly I took to the board. As I got a little older I began making my own money and I decided to purchase a Sector 9 longboard skateboard so I can cruise around my home town in style. I walked into Salty Dog Surfshop and knew immediately which board I wanted. It was another creation of yours with a long barreling wave and a little island in the corner with people on it. I spent $300 of all my hard earned money on that board. As I grew up and attended school to become a graphic designer (got my BA in the craft) I consistently referenced your work to find sources of inspiration. Even submitting a hand sketched version of one of your pieces in my Graduation Portfolio.
    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration.

  • Marty Qatani
    Posted at 18:46h, 24 March

    This is some of the best advice I’ve ever read. The hard part is having the courage to follow it through. The fear of not “making it” can be crippling, combined with a lack of confidence, can lead any artist, young or old, to copy what’s popular, and create what they think they should, instead of what they feel.

    In my case, it took alot of “failure” and lack of success, to finally have the courage to find and believe in and create, what “feeds” my artistic soul. It’s stories like yours Drew, and your never ending encouragement for artists everywhere that enable artists like me to move forward with faith in our pursuits. – Thanks so much.


  • Michael Weinberger
    Posted at 10:09h, 23 March

    I am currently going through the tough part, but as a writer. My first novel was rejected by everyone, although they all wrote me notes saying they loved the story but made their decision because it was “just not right” for them. Eventually, I self-published and the novel won an Next Generation Independent Publisher Award for Fiction. I wrote the sequel and got more rejections from the agent/publishing world. I self-published that novel and it won Best Paranormal Book of 2013 from I have since written the third (about to self-publish again) and I have written/illustrated a children’s picture book that is collecting rejection letters as well. It is really hard, heartbreaking and sets you up for tremendous self doubt, but everyone… EVERYONE …that I have ever respected in art, acting, writing or anything else creative all say to stay true and never give up, so that’s what I am going to do. Hopefully someday people will find me and fall in love with what I do too.

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