Historically, artists perfected their skills by copying the works of old masters. In fact, this still goes on today in many American and European museums.
When it comes to art, we are taught that copying is wrong. We are told to be ourselves and to make our art a unique expression of our individuality, at least as long as we have a pencil in our hands. Self-expression is the ultimate goal, we learn, even when we are small.
Have you ever copied a painting by one of the Old Masters, or at least old, long-dead artists? I have copied several Degas pastel paintings. I didn’t use pastels but used a drybrush oil technique. Not only was it fun, it was educational. When you try to copy something, you can’t help learn about what you’re replicating. I understand more about Degas and his use of light and sense of color and proportion—than I had ever learned by simply staring at his paintings.
When I was little kid, I didn’t learn much from all those teachers urging me to express myself—frankly, I don’t think I, or most people for that matter, have much too express, certainly not when they’re six.I learned to draw and paint on my own bycoping ads with pictures of cats and dogs in my mother’s magazines. Along the way, I got an education in shading, depth, perspective, and all the other basics of drawing.
Of course, there are situations in which copying is most wrong. You don’t copy something and pass it off as your own. You shouldn’t copy something and then pretend it’s the original. That’s forgery.So it’s ok to copy as long as you follow the legal rules.
Learn, Laugh and become Inspired.