Monday, June 6, 2011

Learning from the Masters

I had so much fun trying to imitate the style of William Morris, that I decided to try it with a master tangler. Being a writer and teacher, I am vigilant about making sure all work is MINE. However, it has long been considered not only acceptable, but recommended in the art world to copy from the masters. I'm not talking about counterfeiting or taking someone else's work and calling it your own. The kind of copying I'm talking about is for practice only. 

At one point in time, it was standard practice during an artist's training. How else can someone who is dead teach you anything? That was the logic.

Why do this? For one thing, sitting down with a work of art and attempting to recreate it will help you get inside the artist's head. You'll find yourself noticing details that previously were overlooked. Emulation will help you get a feel for how the artist created the look and mood of the work being copied. You will gain a greater understanding of why they did what they did. Plus, it can be fun, especially if you don't assume that your work will be as good as the master and get discouraged when it is not.

I fell in love with Margaret's bookmarks over at Enthusiastic Artist and after staring at them on my screen saver for a few weeks, I decided to see what I could learn by copying them.  Here is the results.

So, next time you just love someone else's style, try copying it. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


  1. Wowee! I AM flattered! And delighted to be a cause of inspiration.
    I do like using highlights on the Crescent Moons, and almost always do that now.
    Nicely done! and thanks!

  2. Oh, that's actually a great idea. I've been studying my favorites in order to learn from them, but hadn't thought of actually fully copying in order to note the details I had otherwise overlooked. Great idea and thanks for sharing :D


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