Fun fact: The word ‘inspire’ comes from Latin (‘inspīrāre) and means to breathe upon or into.
Disclaimer: To be completely honest I’m not keen on the idea of copycatting per se. I just thought the word sounded fun (yay cats!) and a little provocative. It’s click-baity, I know.
What I’m really getting at is this: You need to stop being afraid of being unoriginal. And you need to stop fearing creative influence from others. It’s a moot point for two reasons. A, by definition you are one hundred percent original. Unless you’re literally copying something word by word, stroke by stroke, your outcome will always be an imitation – not a straight up copy. And B, it’s completely impossible not to be influenced and include ideas you’ve been exposed to in your own work. You’re reading this because you have Internet which means you’re being exposed to a million things every day. You’re probably even seeking out inspiration (Instagram and Pinterest, anyone?).
Don’t fight your own ideas born from others’. Instead, embrace them, play with them and develop them. Make them yours.
Here are my three BIG reasons why you should try copycatting (and not feel bad about it).
Copycatting is a shortcut to finding your own style
When venturing into a new craft or learning a new medium it can be seriously hard to figure out where to start. You’re not gonna be creating masterpieces from the get-go (let’s be real) but you’re more likely to create something you enjoy by using tried-and-true methods or styles – perfected by others and practiced by you.
Easy creative wins means more fun and less quitting.
Kids learn by copying. And if it’s good enough for them…
Copying parent’s behaviour is how small children, babies even, learn how to do anything. They observe and copy, and we encourage it because that’s what works.
And copying behavior not just how they learn skills important to their survival (like eating, moving around and communicating), it’s also how they learn singing, dancing, drawing and all the other creative, expressional skills.
Imitation is carved into our DNA. So don’t fight the urge to do what others are doing that’s clearly working.
Collecting inspiration is only really valuable if you use it
We are exposed to so much goodness every single day and we collect it. We follow and like and we want to see beautiful things.
But why collect it if that’s all we ever do with it? Seems like a wasted opportunity. Instead try channeling all that great taste and curated beauty into a project of your own. You can totally do it. Think of it as a remix – like this amazing one of Destiny’s Child ‘Say My Name’.
Above: An ink and watercolor painting I created based on the beautiful work of Frannerd. I copied the composition, pose and the soft coloring. Great practice!
All that said, you don’t want to stop at copycatting. But it’s a great way to start – especially if you struggle with starting (oh hello 90% of all people).
So what’s your next move?
Here’s a few things you can do.
- Go to Pinterest and find something you’ve pinned in the past. Why did you pin it specifically? Awesome, copy part of that.
- Go to Instagram. Go to your Profile, go to Settings and tap Posts You’ve Liked. Find something there that really speaks to you. Copy part of that.
- No third option. Do one of the above – right now. Just a creative quickie. :)
Thanks so stopping by. Now go make!