Why You Should Copy Other Artists

Okay it’s been a while! Well only 10 days actually, but that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without writing a post! In the last 10 days I have been totally engrossed with learning a new skill: drawing mandalas. It is addicting. So I’m gonna let you all in on the secret piece of advice that helped me acquire this skill in merely three days.

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The second and third mandalas I ever drew. (1.5 hours each)

While these designs may look quite complex, they are actually really simple to draw, and the way I taught myself can be applied to any type of art really. The first thing I did was copy another artist’s work. GASP! Right? I don’t know why there is such a stigma attached to this. There is nothing wrong with copying someone else’s work, as long as you are not trying to pass it off as your own. In fact, it is impossible to learn something without copying somebody else.

Think about anything, music for example. When you learn to play guitar you don’t try to start writing your own songs before you even learn how to play a song that already exists. You learn how to play songs other artists have made and then, if you get good enough, you try to come up with your own songs. The same applies to art. TryingΒ to draw a mandala without ever having learned how to by copying existing mandalas is like trying to write a song on the guitar when you don’t even know how to play a song.

In the picture above, the mandala on the left is a design by @flickpalmateer. I modified it a little bit because why not? But basically by copying her design, and a couple of images off google, I was able to eventually come up with my own designs. The one on the right was the first one I designed myself, and the one below was one that followed. Both of these are 100% original, but I wouldn’t have been able to produce these original pieces without first copying others.

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Now I feel like drawing mandalas is my calling. It’s like I’ve acquired a new lens through which I can view the world. I see potential patterns in everything. I’ve been thinking of ways to put my designs on pottery, and much more. So stay tuned to see where this takes me! I may be opening my own etsy shop in the future!

As a parting note I’d like to encourage you to go out there and copy things you see! There is no better way to learn. For writing, you could try writing a short story in another writer’s style. Whatever it is I am sure it will help you build the foundation you need to create your own original work. I’d love to see what you come up with! Feel free to even copy my designs!

I look forward to seeing what you come up with, best of luck!