In this day of social media, it’s so easy to follow other artists and see what work they’re churning out. And, we usually choose to follow them because they inspire us! But there can also be a trap in this – how do you stay inspired but not be influenced to copy their work?
Because even if you’re thinking, “I’d never steal another artist's work!”, it can be a fine line between inspiration and what is viewed as copying.
So, how do you take all that delicious inspiration from your morning “coffee and scroll” and still create something that’s uniquely YOU?
Here are some tips on how to draw inspiration without crossing the line.
1) Study their work
Take the time to thoroughly analyze an artist's work to better understand their techniques, style, and what they like to explore. This can help you gain insights into their creative process and what makes their art unique.
2) Identify what resonates with you
Now, figure out which of those aspects inspires you the most. Is it their use of colors, composition, subject matter, or the emotions that the art evokes in you?
- Emotions. Perhaps the artist loves to paint pastel florals that always make you feel calm and relaxed. Take that feeling and think about what other things make you feel relaxed like that.
- Subject matter. If you’re also really into flowers, consider what different flowers you could paint with different color combinations, using a different scale or composition.
- Color palette. Perhaps the artist’s use of colors is what you’re drawn to. Though you ultimately want to develop your own color palette for your own distinct brand, looking at other color combinations can be a great way to explore possibilities you may not have considered.
3) Experiment with techniques
Instead of directly using the same techniques employed by the artist, experiment with different artistic techniques. You might still be inspired by their “beach-themed art”, for example, but using a different technique will help you to develop your own distinct style within that theme.
4) Embrace mistakes and imperfections
Allow yourself to embrace imperfections in your art. This can lead to unexpected and original results. That day you accidentally smudge your vibrant purple Zinnia flower across the page could lead to more smudgy flower designs that might just become your “thing.”
5) Develop a unique voice
The only way to truly cultivate your own artistic voice is by exploring all the various mediums and many different subjects. If you put in the time, you'll discover what you enjoy creating and that will truly set your work apart.
Remember, inspiration is an essential part of artistic growth and creativity. It's perfectly fine to be inspired by others, but the key is to take a kernel of that inspiration and transform it into something that’s uniquely yours. Copying another’s work is never okay.
Keep exploring, experimenting, and developing your skills (and fail, fail, fail at it!) and your own authentic style will emerge over time.