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Start copying what you love to find your own style

Who's this for ? Anyone interested in drawing and painting, whether it be a hobby or a career.

The beatles started as a cover band 😱

This is a concept from the book Steal Like an Artist - 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

This is something I've kind of done intuitively with most things I'm trying to learn.

It's often times someones work or something they did that inspired me to try and tackle the skill in the first place.

Which sends me on a mission to try and figure out how they did the thing. And in that process, with enough practise, time and gathering a bunch of other inspirations I begin to unintentionally create my own style.

I start off usually copying verbatim the style or technique (whether this be music, art, coding, whatever) but then as I start to find my feet, I'll begin trying to understand the 'why' behind what they're doing.

Understanding the why is probably the most interesting (and freeing) thing to do when learning a new or developing and existing skill in my opinion.

Once I start to understand the why, it's game on! I can start creating/doing with understanding not just parroting my idols.

Here are a few key takeaways from the book on this topic of 'Style'...

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.” —Yohji Yamamoto

Paul McCartney has said, “I emulated Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis. We all did.”

McCartney recalls, they only started writing their own songs “as a way to avoid other bands being able to play our set.” As Salvador Dalí said, “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

The songwriter Nick Lowe says, “You start out by rewriting your hero’s catalog.”

The writer Wilson Mizner said if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research

the cartoonist Gary Panter say, “If you have one person you’re influenced by, everyone will say you’re the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you’re so original!”

  • Nobody is born with a style or voice, we learn by pretending to be our heroes

  • We learn by copying

  • Practice, not plagiarism

  • Plagiarism = passing of someone elses work as your own

  • Copying = reverse engineering

  • We copy the alphabet for writing & reading /scales for music & painters reproduce masters

  • The beatles started as a cover band

  • First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.

  • Who to copy

    • Your heroes, people you love, the ones that give you that spark of something that lights a fire inside you
  • Don't just steal from one of your heroes, steal from all of them

  • What to copy

    - ==Don't just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style==
    - ==You don't want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes==
    - The reason to copy anything is to get a glimpse into the creators minds
    - You want to internalize their way of looking at the world
    - If you just copy the surface level aesthetic, you'll only every be a knock off.


From Steal Like an Artist - 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Learn my process for stylized digital art

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This is a 7+ hour real-time walk-through filled with actionable, in-context explanations of my thoughts and techniques.