Last week someone posted a question to me on my Facebook fan page asking advice on drawing faces. I've since emailed her a few tips and a book suggestion but I thought I'd share one of my tips to here with you. It's something that helped me, so I thought it was worth it to share and maybe you'd want to try it as well. What is it I'm talking about? Copying.
Let me elaborate. It started when was hired by Timex to do a bunch of illustrations. (Previous post here) They emailed me their previous style guide and I was extremely intimidated by the illustrations of the previous illustrator. I wasn't sure I was right for the job and if I could give them what they needed. Like a lot of artists and women I guess, I tend to be my biggest critique and often have a lot of self doubt. So I decided to copy, or as we used to do back in high school, do "a study" of his work to see if I could pull it off. (shown above)
It really helped me and gave me the encouragement I needed and changed the way I illustrated. I really liked how the lips came out and have since changed my technique with them. It also inspired the necklace and turtleneck I chose for this Marie Antoinette sketch for Material Girls blog.
I'm not saying to flat out copy, publish, sell, or even fully take credit for someone else's idea and creativity. It's just an exercise that I've found to be helpful, especially when it comes to things that can be difficult to figure out such as faces, hands and profiles. You just may teach yourself something new in the process!