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Lesson 5: Easy ways to start making your original art

Inspiration ≠ Imitation

Start with some easy design: Get Inspired

Almost every artist’s journey begins with imitating some admiring artist's works. Over time, the experience leads them to explore and eventually discover their own style.

As we have worked on Lesson 3: Reproduce Training, copying art is one of the best practices. NOT tracing, which just gives you an instant satisfaction and teaches you much less in a long term, but copying (imitating), which teaches you a great deal: especially it teaches the ways to draw from a technical point of view. How can I get my lines to look like them? How can I shade to express this texture?...

By copying over and over, you will train your hand to move in a way you can command. Today's lesson is the training that we shift it to the next level. Get inspiration and arrange the design to your own. below are the easiest ways to start drawing your original.

Don't think too much and just enjoy the process!

1. Remix: Steal some parts and mash them up

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.” Jim Jarmusch, film director/screenwriter

Even though drawing accurate copies of other artworks is great for practice, you need to follow certain rules when making your own original art.

On this training, you can still copy in some ways, but your intention is to steal and combine to make our original, no longer to imitate and learn the techniques.

If you copy something exactly line for line, that is not considered as your art. It's called bootleg: which is illegal to claim it's your art. You’ve just made a replica of existed art. But if you take little bits of different sources and mash them up in your own way, that will be something new and original — Now you’ve created your own art.

It could be the way of drawing, the style or the idea/concept too.

The example picture above shows the inspiration/my version of art.

I used the American traditional panther tattoo art as the concept (inspiration), then I arranged them to my version: Japanese traditional tattoo styled cat drawing.

I just combined American traditional tattoo/Japanese ukiyo-e ideas and changed the panther to cat, then drew them in stippling - which is the way I draw :)

It's just that easy!


2. Try #DrawThisInYourStyle Us artists often feel pressure to draw something completely original every time we draw.

But making original art is not easy. It takes time, need certain amount of experiences, knowledges, mindset, inspiration, and energy level.

I always recommend my students to draw what they simply like or copy some of their influences to start. This is one of the effective methods to motivate you to draw when you're low on creativity. It lightens the pressure of drawing something new and you can simply enjoy drawing more.

You can also use an only source of inspiration/fluence, but you enhance your artistic style injected in the drawing. This is a similar concept to the popular hashtag on Instagram, #DrawThisInYourStyle.

Artists offer a design they created for other artists to copy in their own ways: changing the technique, colors, and overall style while crediting the original artist/artwork so they can promote the creator and the original artist at the same time. In this method, the artists are likely not copying or stealing the piece too closely from the original and combine other sources to make their own. This is also a great way to communicate with other artists and see their works on the same theme online.

3. Start with small: Tattoo designs can be great inspiration for a small drawing

"And just as the invention of new art forms is often accompanied by new vocabularies to talk about them, tattooing has its own language, with terms like “flash” and “dot work” taking on new meaning. Tattoo artists often rise up in the underground, however, rather than through traditional pipelines like schools or galleries. Artists apprentice in shops and work to hone their craft, developing skills in linework and shading. To really determine whether tattoos are art engages the broader, time-old question, “what is art?” But the easiest answer, as Panaite says, comes down to questions of intention and perception. If the creator or receiver of the tattoo sees it as art, then that’s what it is. Tattoos have gone through movements and trends, just as any other art form has. They are the product of the skilled application of materials, with consideration given to placement, aesthetics, and style." Katie McGrath on ARTSY

I like to refer to tattoo art because they have a huge variety of different ideas/styles — cartoony to realistic — and they don't necessarily have to apply the common rules of fine art.

In my class, we don't take "art" lofty. We basically draw what we like casually, like getting your tattoo — and it doesn't have to be meaningful or conceptual. This is just the beginning of your artistic journey and your intention is to make your original.

Art by Paul Dobleman from GANGSTAS PARADISE tattoo club |

However, every stippling drawing comes with its own set of challenges, so let's start with a small piece. Tattoo art are great inspiration for a small design!

Think this way — What would you get if you get a flash tattoo?


If you only had one influence and your version is too close to the original, DO NOT try to make a profit of it and you should credit the original source/artist. Otherwise it's considered as plagiarizing and would be severely punishable.

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