Getting inspired by other artists’ work

May 15th, 2019 / Illustrations Basics

We have reached the end of our series with reference files – so it’s time for a bonus post about being inspired by the work of others artists. At the same time, this is a rather controversial topic. Probably every aspiring artist wondered: copy or not to copy. And the one who did not copy anything from anyone learning the drawing, let him first throw a stone. Some people are so afraid of a copyist patch that they are not even inspired by reference photos. What, as we explained in one of the previous posts, is after all nothing bad if you follow certain rules.

In the same way, certain general principles apply to inspiration from the work of others. First of all, it should not be stigmatized. I think each of us once redrew one to one and, if we do not rely solely on this, we do not publish these works as our own projects, it is not bad. It is even a good exercise, but even redrawing from others, let’s remember the basics. The most important thing is to start work even though it has been redrawn from the initial sketch. Then we actually learn the correct proportions and construct the drawing. The worst mistake that beginners make while redrawing is to work from detail to the general. They start with the eye, and then end up in the fact that the whole figure does not fit them on a piece of paper. Not to mention the fact that it has incorrect proportions.

“If we are inspired only by one artist, we become his diluted copy” – Bobby Chiu

Exercising you can have, for example, a separate sketchbook for works redrawn or inspired and – from time to time – we can make such a drawing “perform”. Especially if you’re self-taught, it can be a good way to see how a person can deal with drawing noses at a certain angle, etc.

Let’s also remember that even if we do not redraw, and only get inspired by someone else’s work, beware of one person’s inspiration. If we like one style of painting / drawing, and so within this style, we should watch the work of various artists. Even more refreshing will be to try out a different style from time to time. Even if we learn, it is worth having more than one teacher, reading more blogs, watching videos of various creators, etc. Once in one of Bobby Chiu’s videos (I recommend his series with tips) I heard such interesting statement with which I completely agree. It goes something like this: if you learn from one person, you become a watered down version of them. I do not think any artist wants it.

If we base ourselves too much on drawing inspired works, and when making exaggerated works, it is almost completely impossible at all, we can not develop our own style. So it is a threat that is worth being aware of. Ideally, as I mentioned in previous posts, based on all methods: inspiration, the use of references, drawing from nature and from the imagination. Then our development will be balanced and full. And if we add to it being a part of the artists’ community in which we can get constructive criticism and advice – it will be full of happiness at all. To read in the next posts regarding graphics, drawing and painting!