What Is Style, Anyway?

It’s a unique world

Liza Donnelly
6 min readSep 13, 2023

How do you find your style? What is a style in drawing?

These are questions I get sometimes, and it’s not easy to answer. Style is an identifiable way of expression, that when you see it, you know whose drawing it is. There is also style of humor, and style of viewpoint in cartoon art. All of these work together to create something immediately recognizable.

Style is sometimes decided on, but more often it emerges from the artist over time. Sometimes starting at a young age. This is how it began for me. I started drawing cartoons at age 7 and my style as emerged from those early efforts, with little or no conscious choices.

Here is a page I drew early on, influenced by one of my parents’ parties.

You can see that I had learned by tracing the work of James Thurber. As a kid, I did not understand his captions, but I loved his people.

His style was easily recognizable. No one at the time (1930’s and 40’s) drew like Thurber. And his line worked with his captions.