Copy for practicing

  • Hi, everyone! I heard a couple of times: Don't hesitate to copy someones work for practicing. So, I picked up this advice and used a piece of Nate Wragg to practice some character drawing in a cartoony style. This is the result. Maybe you can tell a bit if and how you used copying for getting better? I would really appreciate that. 🙂
    Rat process 1.jpg

  • I think it's beneficial because when you copy something, your hand is getting used to creating successful forms and you are analysing it more than just looking at things. I think it's the same way in which writing things down sinks into your brain better than just trying to remember it.

    Great work!

  • Also, I absolutely love the credit sequence for Ratatouille that Nate Wragg designed. He is a great character designer!


  • Creating work by using someone else's idea and design helps one to grow as an artist. I love Nate Wragg's stuff. I copied one of his techniques. I turned out good enough that I gave it to my daughter to hang in our new granddaughter's room.

    I'm now working on cut-out work of my own design. Nate inspired me with his technique.

    Jana your piece looks to be well done.


  • @Rob-Smith That's awesome! You should also check out Britteny Lee if you like the cut out stuff. Her designs are so appealing!


  • Oh yes, Ace (@ace-connell) is completely right. I love the cut-out work of Britteney Lee. I cannot stop looking at them and being blown away. I love making things like this digitally.

  • I plan to fill a sketchbook of copies for november. Wanted to do this for a long time, and the time has come 🙂 I just feel like I developed some habits I hate and I also hope to get some ideas how to draw some stuff I am weak at.

  • @Jiří-Kůs Lol - that's a good way to fill the hole of loss after Inktober finishes haha.


  • @Ace-Connell I actually wanted to continue with inkvember, but I realized I REALLY need some practice. And it is really exhausting to poop out presentable drawing everyday that. Need to relax with some scribbling and copying 🙂

  • Never thought about using others work to build off of. Great post and thanks for opening my eyes a little bit wider.

  • Here another great piece which inspired me to copy for practice. It is originally done by AJ Nazzaro ( When I saw this cool guy I was totally fallen for him. 🙂 I used this colorful piece to practice traditional pencil drawing.
    AJ Nazzaro Kopie.jpg

  • Some more "copies", which I have been posted already in earlier threads. My reference is by Carl Spitzweg. I love to use his paintings for practicing environments in different techniques.
    Carl Spitzweg Kopie.jpg

  • I agree with Ace, I also think it's a good opportunity to see how other artists approach a subject. How they work on simplifying things, how they apply gesture and perspective in their artworks. Also, open our eyes new art styles and use of shapes. I think it just adds somewhat to our library too. I oftentimes feel like when I do one of these copy studies I feel a little bit inspired and motivated to create my own stuff. 🙂

    By the way, your studies are awesome, Jana! Keep it up.

    On a side note, a study I did once and had a lot of fun was to try to make characters from CG animated films into 2D. I love lines so it was a good exercise. 🙂

  • @Jiří-Kůs

    This is a GREAT idea. I am going to start a "copying" sketchbook........ right now! I learn so much from other artists all the time, I think it would help a lot to devote an entire sketchbook to this!

    Thanks for the idea! And thanks to @Jana for starting this post and sharing your very inspiring studies

  • @joyce_carmo Your Chef Skinner looks amazing! Really great likeness.

    @NoWayMe Awesome! When you're copying, make sure you're paying close attention to the forms and the construction. Otherwise, it's just mindless copying. Try and get as much from it as possible and it'll be awesome for you.


  • @Ace-Connell Thanks, Ace!
    I find really difficult to translate these characters from 3D to 2D, though they came from a 2D first. It's curious, hahaha. That's why I thought it was a good exercise of copying. 🙂

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I am a HUGE fan of doing copy work as a way to get better. It allows you to step into other peoples shoes and see how they draw something. It's the quickest way to getting good in my opinion.

    Keep it up! : )

  • Thanks for all your comments so far on this thread! 🙂 Interesting to hear all your opinions.
    On my way to try different techniques and to find which works best for me, I am experimenting with a pencil drawing, which I want to color digitally. Here is what I made today. It is Mr. Mayor from Whoville from the movie "Horton hears a who" (his son Jojo will appear next to him). I LOVE this movie!
    I tried to color with different layer settings like overlay, multiply, ... I am not sure if I am doing right here. Does anybody used this technique and can give some advice?

  • Or more like this... ? Here the original pencil drawing looks a bit more natural. I guess I also have to work on the quality of the scanned drawing.

  • Oh man I am just few pages in my copy-sketchbook and it so fun 😃 And it feels so good to draw these amazing pictures. I just realized that I never really did that, what i did most of the time was copying photos and never seeing the point of copying other peoples work....gaaah, this will be the best sketchbook...and I will not show it to will 😃

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