Over the past few years I've heard professionals say over an over that its a good exercise to emulate artists you like so that you pick up a few of their tricks. I went to a workshop with Kekai Kotaki and he literally said "It's okay to rip everyone off in the beginning until you find your own style".

For some reason this makes no sense to me. I am not sure what it means exactly to "emulate" others. Is it just analyzing their work? I don't know if this is a stupid thread, but does anyone have a few thoughts on this to share?