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This is purely an observation from my point of view but whenever i see a study or painting based on a masterpiece or a screen plate. The results are almost in every case very good.So this tells me that our ability to copy is quite good and its not really required to be a high level artist.Junior level to mid level ones can pull this off easily too. Everything you need to know is already in the image we are trying to copy so it becomes a recipe for us.

the important thing though is to not "copy" it but to understand it and deconstruct a work method from it.And if you understand that then the work based from your own mind will be alot better.

When i see this kind of work , for me its not the level of detail and accurcy that one puts in the copied artwork that impresses me, but the images based on that learned knowledge afterwards. And to tell you the truth not many people understand this knowledge or are aware of how important it is to understand it.But the interesting phenomenon is that still during a copy almost a majority who attempts it do well. The values match, the contrast match. So that should tell you that you HAVE the ability to do it, you just need to understand the work behind it.

Many people jump straight inte detail , full scale and about making something sensational rather then thinking about it, i cant stress this enough but understanding why you are creating somethign and how is absolutely the most important things.

if you find mastercopies or simple studies do paste links in here and you can see that all of these are really quite well executed.

here area few pointers to consider when working with studies, copies

* step back from the painting a couple feet and view it as a thumbnail, which are the key values

* how does the artist work out his composition, what is the visual path

* where is most focus put on

*figure out the lighting and relations in the environment

* how does he pose his models, and why

*dont study small detail things, these are technical details not overall understanding
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:iconjosheiten:
JoshEiten Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
Nicely put :3
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:iconmaestro77:
Maestro77 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Wise words, very true. Should be repeated more often. So many wasted time doing copies without understanding
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:iconjukeboix:
Jukeboix Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
so true
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:iconsparatik:
SPARATIK Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Digital Artist
I've definitely learned from my studies. How light works. Especially the sublt transitions skin makes when its in light or shadow. I guess I can humbly say my anatomy is ok at the moment, without ref... so my main goal with studies are to learn how to render details, learn light values and composition. For studies, I usuallu break down the subject into the basic form to get under it and learn the why questions. From there I might do a fast value test... then I study the color and lay out the color pallet and study that and ask why it works. From there I study the details. Which ismost fascinating to me. The randomness in the face is amazing. If I felt like I wasn't ready to apply all this knowledge to my own forms, I wouldn't be doing them. But even then, I constantly do line work practice with noref to build up my aanatomy
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:iconsteenhuisen:
Steenhuisen Featured By Owner May 4, 2013
Lovely piece of advice! You can't use a word if you only know how to spell it, you also need to know what it means. The sad thing is I catch myself forgetting that sometimes and just copy. I really have to start stressing this a lot more.
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:iconstefanieodendahl:
StefanieOdendahl Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
thank you for pointing this out. it's not as if one hears it the first time - but as you said - copying is relatively easy - and it is as easy to forget about the understanding part... :D i'm about to do a workshop soon, wich starts with master studies - so i'm prepared... :D
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:iconsim725:
sim725 Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
"...view it as a thumbnail, which are the key values" This is very important to me, very key for me recently
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:icontatitati:
tatitati Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
yes..........really simplify a picture and the workflow is an art
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:iconjrettberg:
JRettberg Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks Levente
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:iconanmaril:
Anmaril Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I agree, I have copied two pieces with the permission of the owners, but not the whole image, but the composition and idea, to -as you say- learn new things and get a better understanding what is painting about, in the end, there are the same rules for all of us, we just follow them differently. It was also important for me that I can paint them equally, there are both here on dA, and I include the things I've learned from them in other images.
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:icongabriela-birchal:
Gabriela-Birchal Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional
I've been doing some studies like this recently and I find that they helped me greatly. I don't do much master copies though, I guess I'm still afraid of doing so and not being able to match the greatness of the original execution.

But as I study from photos from life and movie stills I feel more free and less restrained for a strange reason. I might be because I don't force myself to achieve that extreme realism.

On the other hand, do you have any advice about this, like, how do I know that I'm really learning from it and not just copying an image?
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Filmographer
to test out your skill is easy, just paint something without a reference that will tell you how you think of lighting, shapes, colors and so on. I also think you should do mastercopies but definitely be comfortable with the idea that it might fail(i have written another journal about failing, check that one out to get an idea of what i mean)
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:icongabriela-birchal:
Gabriela-Birchal Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional
I get it. Thanks for the advice, I will work on getting confortable about doing master copies =)
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:icongekitsu:
gekitsu Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
if you dont mind me barging in here: imho, the job of a master copy is not to "win" or "fail." or doing the master justice, or anything. a master copy is a tool for you to achieve deeper understanding. and its near impossible to step away from a study without more understanding than you had before, GIVEN that you thought about what you were doing.

i know i once went through every mignola illustration i could find, and made a tiny scribble of how he arranged the compositional dark and light shapes. those things sure as hell didnt do mignolas draughtmanship any kind of justice. hell, they didnt even do mine justice. but i understood something because i was doing a thinking activity, not a purely mechanical hands activity. another time, i went on copying iain mccaig drawings. i didnt necessarily look to get every last bit of proportion right (what use would i get out of squaring up his drawing and my page and connecting the dots?), but i was interested to replicate the amount and shape of his marks. for one, by copying his marks at places i knew how i would have approached them (say, an arm, a leg, a head silhouette…), and see things come together to much more striking shapes, i understood something about not only doing the 3d->2d part of drawing justice, but also to make sure the 2d shapes are visually interesting, and seeing how many liberties one can take from being raytracing-faithful to the 3d shape without compromising its believability. and by seeing how goddamned little i was forced to put on paper, and be left with a fully functional drawing, i got insight into how much you can trust the marks that tell the important stuff.

its always in the thinking and understanding and noticing of things that the value of master studies lies (and studying from artists instead of photos or life gives you the opportunity to pick their mind, see their decisions, see the design and plan they imposed upon the subject matter), not necessarily in producing a worthy copy (whatever that is). it can be, its just depending on what you are trying to understand better.
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:icongabriela-birchal:
Gabriela-Birchal Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Professional
Thanks a lot for buttin in =).

After reading what you said, it made a lot of sense to me and I went ahead tried doing a actual master copy. here: [link]

Thanks again for pushing me into this. This kind of study is actually very educating, more than I imagined.
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:icongekitsu:
gekitsu Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow, good job! :)
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Professional Filmographer
excellent , beautiful to see artists helping each other out. I also suggest studying moviescreengrabs to master lighting in an environment. Because what frazetta actually does with his models in his workshop is not far off from what a cinematographer does when he is lighting his scene. Plus the movie set environment allows for more exploration of colors and combinations
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:icongekitsu:
gekitsu Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thats what this whole community thing is all about, isnt it? pulling a lot of people with similar interests together and using each others insights to stretch our horizons. not only big things like one very advanced artist showing beginners the way, but also small things like comparing how we saw things from our personal context. one persons banal and obvious insight might be profound, exciting and new for another.
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:iconleventep:
leventep Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Also as you do the copy, ask yourself why, try to find relationships and reasons. Let the copy take more time and you understand it rather then painting with a blank mind.In life drawing esp with a good artist they do a lot of subconcious planning before they actually draw. This will lead to fewer strokes but better accuracy and ultimately a nicer drawing, check out this artist:
[link]

simplicity, accuracy, artistic direction and no execution of anal detailing.
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:iconfishfoo:
Fishfoo Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very true!
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:iconodingraphics:
odingraphics Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I agree completely
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:iconmonikoko:
monikoko Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
It's a little like with Rembrandt paintings. You can copy what you see, but to make a perfect copy you need to understand he did paint in layers, often over two or three different paintings or sketches underneath the final piece. On an x-ray this shows up clearly and without knowledge and understanding a mere copy would be recognized immediately.
Also, a copy will give you nothing but an one-time outcome. An understanding gives ability to recreate multiple times, apply to other work, teach others HOW.
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