"Studying" Your Favourite Artists? (Copying their work)
I did a search to see if I could find something similar, but nothing came up. Maybe I used the wrong keywords, but still, I found nothing.
I have a few "art of" books and one of my faves is "The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook" by Alan Lee. Now, is it considered good practice to copy out such work in terms of gaining an understanding? Like, I really admire Alan Lee's pencil technique, and of course the images I see of his from that medium.
Or is this simply something one could do in an "artistic downer/frustration" to get the juices flowing again for some real study?
Both - a certain amount of "master copy" is valuable when you want to learn or understand something specific about their process. Usually though people approach it haphazardly and learn ver little - the value comes from copying as close as you can the particular work you are studying.
In general though it is far more valuable to approach things the same way they approach them - in other words, don't copy their works, copy their approach. Read about how they got there - read about who influenced them, etc.
What would Caravaggio do?
Yeah, you can certainly learn a lot by doing this. But you have to realise that you are kinda 'decoding' the paint marks into another means of describing them i.e. pencil marks.
This means that you have to have a pretty sophisticated awareness of what is happening when you do this in order to get the best out of it.
My general advice is to copy the work in roughly the same medium as it was done. This way you iron out all the complications. You will be amazed at what you will learn just doing a straightforward copy in this way. It feels as if you are treading inside the footprints of the artist. And sometimes, as if they have turned around, noticed you, and with a smile taken you by the hand for a short while.....
The cool thing about copying old masters in public domain is you can resell the work at a gallery, living artists you cannot do so ethically. You cannot put living artist or recently deceased artist copies in your portfolio even.
The proper way to label old master copies is for example:
"Tomb of so-and-so De Medici"
Naomi Ningishzidda after Michelangelo
It makes artists and professional actors angry or at least sort of annoyed when you copy without permission. Don't do it. If you're over 18 you know better.
Last edited by Izi; February 4th, 2011 at 10:39 PM.
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sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda abrahadabra
"Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."