www.nandyzsoulshine.com, rules

How to Decide – Follow Rules or Flout Them Artistically

Well really, how do you decide? Can following or flouting rules be premeditated or does it just happen organically? I believe, the beauty of any artwork being subjective, there is really no right or wrong way to do it. What might look superbly outstanding to one, may evoke no emotion at all in the other! But for those just beginning their art journey, this really is a point to consider. In the past, I was never sure as to whether or not I would be sticking wholeheartedly to the guidelines I read in some book about using a certain art medium. However, gradually a system did fall into place.

Because I am a self-taught artist, I didn’t have in-depth analysis of different styles and technicalities ingrained in my subconscious to be overridden. I picked and chose the things I liked to learn and so developed a style that might not be technically sound in the traditional sense, but which worked for me. Everyone has their own method of deciding which course to follow before they start painting. Here is the method that works for me and may be helpful in creating your own, if you still haven’t got one.

5 Things to Consider About Rules Before Committing to the Canvas

  1. Reason behind your artwork:

    Is this artwork requested by someone or is it a part of your collection? If it has been commissioned, then how malleable are the guidelines? Surely there is the freedom of your recognized style, but is there much space for experimentation? These are some of the questions that might show the wriggle space available for tweaking the rules about. However, if the end product is meant to be a part of your collection, there would be more space for exploring your creativity. The questions to ask yourself would be whether you are adhering to a specific theme and as such can’t be tangentially different. But, if you simply have an idea and want to explore it, the options become quite varied.

  2. Degree of rebellion:

    If you do want to play around with the rules, how much further away from them are you really willing to digress? What other alleys can you think of to explore? It is a good idea to be clear in your mind about these beforehand, as it might turn out to be quite tricky finding cohesiveness full-on into the painting. After all, disjointed is not what we are usually aiming at in our creations! There might be a couple of different styles visible in the work, but there has to be some sense of cordial interaction between them.

    Go Figure

    Sitting down to paint this, I was torn between creating a realistic work and going geometric. But, then decided to explore both simultaneously. I have tried to go full on figurative keeping the abstract theme intact with geometrical shapes getting the major share of space. From the reactions I have received of this artwork, it has  led me to believe that the idea worked. So, you never know 🙂 !

  1. Confidence matters:

    This is an important one. Because, no matter the options available and degree of leniency of the guidelines, your confidence about being able to communicate through your artwork with equal efficiency is very important. Why do you think flouting certain guidelines and tweaking others would work better for you? And, how do you plan to do those? If you can answer these convincingly, then the results would be apparent in your work. I have always been interested in creating mixed media pieces, but usually the reason was ‘ease of rendition’. And this showed in those artworks! The heart was missing. So, I have decided not to play with it until I am confident enough in this style to bend it according to my whim and fancy.

  2. Visualization is the key:

    As Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Every artist first has a vision of what they want to create and then plod through the technicalities and non-technicalities of the creative process to reach it. If you can visualize yourself achieving the end result and have a rough idea of how to reach it following your own set of rules, then by all means flout them left and right! Put your own spin on the rules and apply what works for you. www.nandyzsoulshine.com, rules

  3. Time is of essence:

    If you have the liberty of time, then why not? If you have time enough to redo everything if need be, then it is a good time to experiment. Some days, we just want to dive right in without too much forethought or planning. These occasions have a charm of their own, exploring different avenues as you go. The results can range from fabulous to hideous. But, the point is to give a free rein to your imagination and trying to find what works and what doesn’t.


But, are rules and guidelines really limiting to our imagination or does it simply offer discipline to our thoughts to form a cohesive meaning? Maybe, it’s too big a discussion for us to reach any reasonable conclusion satisfactory to all parties involved 🙂 . However, the bottom line is as Atticus said, “When it comes to art, it’s important not to hide the madness.”. Go crazy, explore, do whatever you need to in order to find your own style and what works best for you. After all, every new genre germinated when an artist decided to creatively explore and have fun with the rules!


Do you like to stick to the rules and create amazing artwork or do you like to go rogue and explore?

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3 thoughts on “How to Decide – Follow Rules or Flout Them Artistically

  1. Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a
    top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to
    get anything done.

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