Originality vs. imitation

Right now I am thinking a lot about how to find your own style in art.

(Heavily  inspiried by this:)

(From Julia via www.julestea.blogspot.uk)

And this: 

(From Tanyalee via www.thedrawingboardau.com

Practicing for sure is one of the things that brings you nearer to your own style. Creating, creating, creating and being okay with failing on the way.

But if you practice a ton, you also need to try new ideas. You can come up with new ideas a while, but everyone’s own imagination and ideas have a limit and we need to reach out for further inspiration. This inspiration can be found in things around us, in things we experience, in things we. In nature. But of course also in books, in magazines, on the Internet- in other artists‘ work. And there is the thing: no matter where your ideas and inspiration come from, the first twenty times you try them it’s always a form of copying. An imitation of some sort. Even if you don’t really notice it, because you already forget about a colour combination you’ve seen in a clothing store or the beautiful stones you’ve seen on your daily walk.

Art is an imitation of nature.


Sure you could argue, that that kind of imitation is no imitation, but just inspiration. But where is the line between inspiration and imitation?

If you look at the definiton of inspiration

  • something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

  • a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

    from the Webster Dictionary

and at the definition of imitation

  • the act of copying or imitating someone or somethingalso from the Webster Dictionary

for me the main difference is, that if you are inspired by something you’re not trying to copy it complety, but when imitating you do.So everything you do not copy completly, but just parts of it is inspiration, isn’t it?

What’s about collaging? You’re taking somebody else’s work and collage it with someone else’s work.With that it’s your own art, no matter who took the photo you used or who’s art you used for it. Just by cutting it up or clueing it together you’re creating something new.

I believe for finding your style you should copy things you like, you should try techniques other uses, you are allowed to recreate others‘ work. You should try those things and alter them the way you want to. If you recreate something for the first time it maybe will look like the original artist did do them, but after the second or third time you will normally start doing your own thing. And if you don’t want to copy someone’s art, try one of the million tutorials or workshop out there, because those are totally for being inspired and even for copying someone’s work directly. 
But how do you know what is your own thing?

I think you will feel and see it. Some things you’ll produce by imitating and through being inspired by other artist, won’t feel or look right to you. They won’t feel authentic to you. Which is one of the main things about finding your own style: authenticity.

Don’t worry about being original, just be authentic.

Elizabeth Gilbert

What do you think about imitation and inspiration and finding your own style?

Just one last sentence, if you copy someone directly you should always quote the original artist, and it’s nice to share artists, that inspired you for your creation, too.


2 Gedanken zu „Originality vs. imitation

  1. Sarah, is there a way that I can translate your blog to English? I love being inspired by others and sometimes that may be some imitation also. I think it all still ends up my own. I don’t think I have a style yet but I create everyday so I think eventually it will show up 😊 I take tons of workshops and classes. That is probably my favorite way to learn and be inspired. Take care!🌹

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    1. Hey Melody, I had the translate feature for a while, but it always translated nonsense, that’s why I normally summarize my post at the end of it in English. But I decided to blog more in English, but not always, because some things I only can express in German :).
      Thank you.

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