When you begin to draw you are influenced by the work of other artists, either because you like them or because they are popular. And so we all begin, and little by little we are acquiring our style.
But there are times that you’ve obsessed so much an artist, that you start copying everything that he or she does.
As I mentioned before, copying is good for learning, and although this case is not so away, this question focuses more on copying the style of your favorite cartoonist.
Let’s say you work every day not only to copy to learn but copy to learn the style of another artist. Trying to emulate their artwork to the degree that they look very similar. Although being identical is almost impossible because when you copy the style of another artist, you copy the weaknesses or resolutions that are not so simple to copy. What your favorite artist is doing naturally, for you is very complicated to understand. It’s like pretending to be someone else you are not. So this makes the results look strange and betray your intention of getting a style, let’s say that you get a bastard style.
You can have influences from other artists, of course. Some will be perceptible and others almost imperceptible, because at the end, everyone has an influence.
But there is a thin line between having an influence and being a pseudo-clone. And I say pseudo-clone because being a clone is almost impossible.
- Having influences is that reminds us of someone but is not the same.
- And being a clone is the one that tries very hard to do the same, but in the end, we all know who the king is: Elvis Presley 🙂
Copying someone else’s style is stealing, this’s a fact.
To copy the style of another artist is to skip the process of exploration, to lose of all the fun and not to learn to reinterpret the reality.
By doing this, you are taking a shortcut in your learning process. You’re stealing hours and hours that your favorite artist invested in getting the style she or he has. And you may become her or his worst enemy. For it is likely that your persistence by drawing like him or her will make you a professional and can not see your face in the guild. How would you feel to have stolen the style of your favorite artist and shake hands? Would it be like taking the bride away and inviting him to the wedding? Or maybe dressing, talking and acting just like your school or work buddy? Well, these analogies are somewhat similar to copying the style of your favorite artist. Do you feel good about it?
By trying to emulate the style of your favorite artist, you are missing out on exploring other ways of reinterpreting reality. Other ways that can lead you to have a style of your own.
Some artists do not bother at all who copy them because their fame backs them up and because they are so popular that they ignore the pseudo-clones.
Their career is so well built and so well defined that being a pseudo-clone only lets them see that there is the authentic artist and the others are copies. That is the power of fame. Everyone knows who the original authors are and the others will only compare you to a clone attempt.
And all this not only refers to the question of drawing as someone else but even to copy the concepts that another artist has, that is, his authorial voice. Copying an artist is not only about technique but about concepts.
People admired my latest illustrations with the concept of black liquid in my social networks. Although out there, very few people, but very few, have mentioned that reminds them of Venom, Spiderman’s villain. And that is a red bulb that keeps me alert, and that will serve to get away from that concept so well known in the comic. Bu the execution that I am giving to this concept is different. My motivation is not born of this famous character, but of the mysterious aesthetics, my interest to experience the techniques of liquid substances and my fascination with black and white. At the same time, I am trying to tell a story with these illustrations, addressing the genre of suspense with a strange and creepy touch. And this experiment has led me to write an argument that I plan to develop as one of my next stories. As you can see, sometimes some stories are born of the experiments and explorations that one as a creator performs.
But I’ll tell you something crucial: While copying your favorite artist do it with the purpose of exploring to get your style and not just to try to emulate it, then continue copying and studying, because it is one of the ways to get your voice and style. You have to purify your mind and draw your influences so that you develop your style and concepts.
Try to digest and filter the technique and ideas of that artist that you like so much to reinterpret them and make them yours. As long as you recreate something that is subject to your honest and sincere expression, that one that comes from deep within you. Do not just copy things visually, but try to connect with your artistic expression.
Do not just copy what you see, but listen to what you have to say from the inside because that is how you will learn the true meaning of art.
If you do this, I assure you that you will not be an attempt to clone, nor the second best but the first by your technique and authorial voice.
But do not feel guilty about doing it, we all somehow start copying. That is the way of learning of the human being. But the important thing here is to purify our influences until achieving a unique style. And you can reach it through the years and lots of work.
But in the next topic entitled “Get your style in 4 steps” I will help you to achieve this goal of having your style. Stay tuned!
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