30 Days Challenge, Illustration

Want Something Original? Make A Copy Of A Copy.

A few days back, I noticed a watercolor painting on Avani Rai’s Instagram feed and was instantly motivated to recreate it. So I asked her if it’s okay if I recreate it and tag her as the original artist. And, she agreed.

Note: Always give credit to the original artist, and if possible, ask for permission because not every artist is open to the idea of their art being recreated. And don’t ever sell the art that you recreated.

So I spent some time observing her work and started recreating the piece without directly looking at it. I recreated as much as I had retained in my memory. And the finished piece looked like this:

I kept the piece aside for two more days and tried recreating it, and decided to eliminate a few elements and add a few of my own, all the time not referring either to the original piece or the first recreated copy. I used a single color, I changed the contours. And the second piece ended up looking like this:

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article: Originality Is Nothing But Undetected Plagiarism. There I wrote that whatever photograph I click is directly or indirectly inspired by the photographs I have seen in the past. The same is true for my illustrations and paintings. The same is true for everyone.

Here a few takeaways that I have learnt in this process:

  • Blindly copy in the early days of your artistic career.
  • Be open to blindly copying even when you have established yourself as a professional. Just give credits to the original artist, and don’t monetize it.
  • Make several copies of the original work – the more the better.
  • Don’t refer to the original piece while recreating it. Create from whatever is retained in your memory.
  • Start with taking away a few elements from the original piece.
  • Save these elements (either in your memory or your journal) for later use. This forms your creative barn.
  • Replace the elements you took away with some older stocks from your creative barn.
  • Experiment with color.
  • Repeat the steps till you come up with something that you can confidently call your own.

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

Austin Kleon

DAY 22/30

See the 30-Days-Challenge here.