Copying practice

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Deji
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Copying practice

#1 Post by Deji » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:25 pm

I don't know if you guys do this, but i thought that maybe this could help others or just be something fun to try.

Every now and then, sometimes when I'm blocked or when i want to try something different, I grab an image from an artist i like and try to draw and/or color the way they do it... or at least get something as similar as I can ^^;
I think it's a very good practice, and sometimes you end up discovering new or interesting ways of doing things and mixing them up on your own style.

Here's something I did some time ago for fun/practice:
comparison.jpg
The original image on the right is by the artist Dmyo: http://dmyo.com/

Just now, I was trying to copy hair coloring:
comparison2.jpg
Though the final result didn't look like the original at all ^^;;
The original image on the right is by the artist Kokonoka... which I'm not going to link, because his page is very NSFW >>;

The idea is not to eyedrop and use the same colors, but to look at the image and try to do something similar just by looking at it.

Do you guys ever do this? If you do, would you mind sharing it? :)
If you don't, I think it's a fun thing to try every now and then (:
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Re: Copying practice

#2 Post by Chorvaqueen » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:41 pm

I'm not really fond of copying stuff unless it's downright fan art.

Come to think of it, this is how I think about that kind of stuff:
Now I'm using MyPaint so every effect is done from scratch (read:no layer modes and I don't think the devs will bother to add)

1.) *Sees image.*
2.) Deconstructs images in an imaginary layer by layer in head.
3.) Once I get my hands on a PC, I apply what I've imagined it to be.
4.) If it fails, go back to step 2 (plus points if I'm the bathroom or stuck in traffic).
5.) Try again.

I'm more of hands-off since I don't have much time at home.

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Re: Copying practice

#3 Post by Voight-Kampff » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:52 pm

I have tried the copying technique from time-to-time.

I've found that one's techniques tend to...solidify over time. It's refreshing to set out to make an exact replica of something I find interesting to see how I would need to adapt/change my own techniques to match the original.

I'm an inker/toner for the most part. I'll have to see if I can dig up some samples..

This was a test to see how I'd have to adapt in order to reproduce this particular inking and toning style. It's close, but not quite there.
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v_copy.gif
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v_original.gif
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Last edited by Voight-Kampff on Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Copying practice

#4 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:05 pm

Chorvaqueen wrote:I'm not really fond of copying stuff unless it's downright fan art.

Come to think of it, this is how I think about that kind of stuff:
Now I'm using MyPaint so every effect is done from scratch (read:no layer modes and I don't think the devs will bother to add)

1.) *Sees image.*
2.) Deconstructs images in an imaginary layer by layer in head.
3.) Once I get my hands on a PC, I apply what I've imagined it to be.
4.) If it fails, go back to step 2 (plus points if I'm the bathroom or stuck in traffic).
5.) Try again.

I'm more of hands-off since I don't have much time at home.
No layers?! For the love of all that is holy, WHY? That's the main reason I do art on the computer. (That and materials. I don't have to spend $10 on ever tiny tube of paint, or $100 for a sable hair brush, etc.) By the way, a quick moment of Googling reveals that MyPaint CAN and DOES do layers.Next to the bottom of the page.

And Deji, I actually do this quite a bit - not with a specific image, but with artist styles. It's actually a big deal in illustration, where you are supposed to be able to replicate any desired style on demand. And it is fun to draw Disney style, then Manga style, then Realistic, and everything in between. I especially like trying this with coloring styles. In art school we had assignments in painting where we had to replicate the style of a certain artist as closely as possible, like Caravaggio or Raphael.

I actually started drawing when I was a kid this way - I would take my favorite picture books and try to copy the images exactly without tracing. My mother noticed that was what I did for fun all the time and enrolled me with a private art tutor. I was five, and rest is history.

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Re: Copying practice

#5 Post by Chorvaqueen » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:35 am

LateWhiteRabbit wrote: No layers?! For the love of all that is holy, WHY? That's the main reason I do art on the computer.

Layer modes: Multiply, Overlay, Divide, Add...etc you know those stuff that make our lives easier.

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Re: Copying practice

#6 Post by Desu_Cake » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:45 am

I used to do direct copies quite often, but lately I've been just copying style. It's really helped me define my own style.
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Copy (She isn't Clare...really)
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Re: Copying practice

#7 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:56 am

Chorvaqueen wrote:
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: No layers?! For the love of all that is holy, WHY? That's the main reason I do art on the computer.

Layer modes: Multiply, Overlay, Divide, Add...etc you know those stuff that make our lives easier.
Oh. Missed the 'modes' part.

I don't use those much anyway in Photoshop. The most I usually do is adjust the opacity of a layer or Hue Adjust a layer. "Screen Mode" in Photoshop is great for line art though.

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Re: Copying practice

#8 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:03 am

I haven't copied a picture directly for many, many years. However I am always stealing techniques and styles and throwing them into the bubbling cauldron that is my own style, whatever that is. My mum used to always nag me if I copied stuff, unless it was something like Vermeer or something -.-' I do find studying other people's stuff to be very useful and every now and then it causes me to dramatically shift my style.

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Re: Copying practice

#9 Post by Voight-Kampff » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:22 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:I do find studying other people's stuff to be very useful and every now and then it causes me to dramatically shift my style.
In my case, I find that reproducing an exact duplicate is more valuable than merely studying a sample. Sure, I can make mental notes of where the artist thickened up the line work, where it thins out, what angle was used for lighting, etc. But until I force myself to physically reproduce that information, it just doesn't coalesce properly in my brain.

It'd be akin to studying Kung Fu. Sure, one can watch a master at work, one can read up on techniques, heck, one can even have the knowledge downloaded directly into ones brain (well, okay, not so much that last one...), but until one actually puts it into practice, does all that studying actually make one a good Kung Fu fighter?

Oh, and yay, Desu_Cake! More Claymore!

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Re: Copying practice

#10 Post by Desu_Cake » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:56 am

Voight-Kampff wrote: In my case, I find that reproducing an exact duplicate is more valuable than merely studying a sample. Sure, I can make mental notes of where the artist thickened up the line work, where it thins out, what angle was used for lighting, etc. But until I force myself to physically reproduce that information, it just doesn't coalesce properly in my brain.

It'd be akin to studying Kung Fu. Sure, one can watch a master at work, one can read up on techniques, heck, one can even have the knowledge downloaded directly into ones brain (well, okay, not so much that last one...), but until one actually puts it into practice, does all that studying actually make one a good Kung Fu fighter?

Oh, and yay, Desu_Cake! More Claymore!
This.
I also find that drawing a different picture in the style helps even more, since it means that you (usually) need to look up more than one picture, and have to actually understand it instead of blindly copying.

Yay!

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Re: Copying practice

#11 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:03 am

Voight-Kampff wrote:
Auro-Cyanide wrote:I do find studying other people's stuff to be very useful and every now and then it causes me to dramatically shift my style.
In my case, I find that reproducing an exact duplicate is more valuable than merely studying a sample. Sure, I can make mental notes of where the artist thickened up the line work, where it thins out, what angle was used for lighting, etc. But until I force myself to physically reproduce that information, it just doesn't coalesce properly in my brain.

It'd be akin to studying Kung Fu. Sure, one can watch a master at work, one can read up on techniques, heck, one can even have the knowledge downloaded directly into ones brain (well, okay, not so much that last one...), but until one actually puts it into practice, does all that studying actually make one a good Kung Fu fighter?

Oh, and yay, Desu_Cake! More Claymore!
By studying I meant not only reproducing work or techniques, but actually understand how and why someone would do it. I don't know if it is my design background talking or not, but purpose is very important to me and it drives my decisions when it comes to art. Copying isn't going to teach you much if that is all you doing, you need to also understand what it is your doing.

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Re: Copying practice

#12 Post by Voight-Kampff » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:15 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:Copying isn't going to teach you much if that is all you doing, you need to also understand what it is your doing.
I don't think we're disagreeing.

For me, the act of reproducing a given piece of art is what triggers that understanding—moreso than looking at a piece and mentally analyzing what the artist did.

In the sample I posted above, it took me three or four times longer to create than if I were to do a straight copy, because I was attempting to internalize why the artist was using certain lines, certain tones, etc.

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Re: Copying practice

#13 Post by Deji » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:29 am

I've always thought that consciously reproducing something is a valuable learning experience.
What I mean is to study what are they doing and why, like Auro said. When I'm studying/practicing coloring by observing or analyzing an image I ask myself several questions: Why did they chose this color? Why is the contrast on this area higher than the contrast on this other area? What effect does it create? What's the relation between light and shadow values on any given area? Etc.
Reproducing an image completely can help you with studying and understanding all this, and I think that's why people does it (at least that's why I do it), but the real value, imo, is when you can apply that knowledge to something you do yourself.

When I was studying illustration, I was asked as an assignment sometimes to copy things, thinking about the steps I took and why, and some other times I was asked to pick an artist, study their style and draw something in that style. I picked up interesting things during those processes (:
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Re: Copying practice

#14 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:34 am

Voight-Kampff wrote:I don't think we are disagreeing
Oh, I know. I was just making it clear what I meant by studying, as in actual practice, not just sitting there staring at something XD

I think this is one of the last pieces I copied directly, about 5 years ago now. It was in this piece that I started to understand just how many colours are in human skin tone :D
http://auro-cyanide.deviantart.com/gall ... 0#/d1q8zf1

Internally I am a bit conflicted with copying. I do see the value in it for learning, but on the other hand is has been drummed into me pretty hard that it is bad to copy other people and it is much better to take bits and pieces and create something yourself :s It is one of the reasons I barely copy stuff anymore, that I barely have time for my own stuff.

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Re: Copying practice

#15 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:43 pm

Auro-Cyanide wrote: Internally I am a bit conflicted with copying. I do see the value in it for learning, but on the other hand is has been drummed into me pretty hard that it is bad to copy other people and it is much better to take bits and pieces and create something yourself :s It is one of the reasons I barely copy stuff anymore, that I barely have time for my own stuff.
"Good artists borrow, great artists steal".

Copying is a good habit and a good learning tool. We copy from life and reference all the time, right? Copying from other artists to learn their methods and techniques is no different from carpenters, architects, or engineers copying from one another. Why re-invent the wheel?

Voight-Kampff's kung-fu example was great. Anyone that has studied martial arts knows that you copy a set of moves exactly as possible over and over again until they are engrained in your muscle memory. (I still sometimes DREAM of going through the moves I was taught in the Marine Corps - every little step.) The same principle applies in art, and has been the preferred method of artistic education and training for many hundreds of years. Raphael (one of the "masters") traveled to different cities in Italy to sit and copy works of art. It was often something aspiring artists did, before we had things like photographs and the internet - they would go on a long road trip of sorts to visit famous works of art, then sit and meticulously copy them in sketch or paint once there.

So you shouldn't feel conflicted about copying. As long as you aren't claiming the reproductions as your own original works there is nothing dishonest about it. And isn't Caravaggio's style of lighting amazing? Let's steal it for our next original painting. It'll look great! :wink:

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