Week Forty-Six

“Is this copying?”

It’s a question all developing artists have asked themselves at some point. When you pique interest in some form of creative art, it’s undoubtedly because, at some point, you felt inspired by the work of someone else. You see these outstanding creations, but you don’t yet know how to make such creations. So you set out to figure out how to do it. You practice and practice, and at some point, you reverse engineer the work you admire. Then a terrifying thought enters your brain…”Is this ok? Is it ethical? OMG, I’m such a fraud!”

I’m here to tell you, “Hey…it’s ok.*” Reverse engineering the work of the masters is the concept of education in a nutshell. Seeing something and finding your own way to reproduce it is a great way to learn. As you go through the process, something will click, and some little technique will get tucked away in your brain, ready to be called upon as you find your own creative way.

But there is a difference between this method of learning-by-reproduction and being influenced and inspired by other’s artwork. Learning how to use inspiration to generate your own ideas is a learned skill in of itself – an important one at that! Having influences is implicit in creative work, and your style is born from everything that you are exposed to — your experiences AND your influences. Your eventual “artistic style” that develops will be comprised of everything you’ve tried and practiced, mixed with a little brain magic, to create something all your own.

*Don’t get me wrong here: plagiarism is 100% not ok, and you should never reproduce another artist’s work and pass it off as your original work. Learn from it, leave it in your private sketchbook, and move on. I’d advise against sharing this type of work online (even if you’re only sharing your learning process) without permission from the artist.

What to Do

  • As you make art this week, check out the work of other artists to gather inspiration for your own work. Pick out little tidbits that you might be able to use in your own work by putting your own spin on them. I wrote up my own process on how I gather inspiration and filter it through my brain to make my own original work. Read it here or click the image below.

November Prompts

Environments

This week, spend some time looking at the ways other artists have approached similar subject matter. I created Pinterest boards for each of the three prompts. Each board is filled with reference photos as well as inspirational artwork. Remember to do additional image searches to look up types of plants and other things you might want to include in your drawing. Make stuff up too! And again, if you’re not sure where the line is between copying and inspiration, read this blog post I wrote about my process using influences in my artwork. The jungle piece below was inspired by several pieces of artwork made by other artists!

Week 46 | Nov 11-17

Aquatic Areas

Mon: in the ocean – sketch
Tue: in the ocean – final art
Wed: jungle river – sketch
Thu: jungle river – final art
Fri: seaside – sketch
Sat: seaside – final art
Sun: further develop your favorite piece from the week

You can access each week’s prompts at makingarteveryday.com

Week 46 progress Tracker

Track your Making Art Everyday progress! See at-a-glance all you’ve accomplished, and reflect on the work you’ve done at the end of the week. Visit bardotbrush.com/progress to download the monthly tracker and weekly reflection sheet. There are also instructions about how to use them.

Procreate Community: Learn // Draw // Share

We’ve got a Facebook Group full of amazingly supportive artists, from all skill levels.

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