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April 2, 2022

Book notes on Steal like an artist (Part 2/12)


Chapter 2: Good theft, bad theft

  • Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started

    • You are ready now. 

    • Start making stuff now.

    • Imagine the protagonist of your favorite story if they waited until they were ready.
      You would never get to have that story.

  • Fake it until you make it

    • Everyone is winging it, even the pros.

    • Pretend you’re successful until you actually are.

    • Pretend to make something til you actually make something

    • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

  • Start copying; it’s how we learn

    • Many anime artists started with Sailor Moon. For me, it was Fushigi Yuugi,
      Tokyo Mew Mew, and Inuyasha.

    • Copying isn’t plagiarism, it’s reverse engineering

  • Those who don't imitate anything, produce nothing.

    • For the longest time I tried to produce art from imagination as much as possible.
      I thought using references was cheating and only used them sparingly.
      I robbed myself of so many learning opportunities by trying to act noble.

  • Figure out who and what to copy: Copy your heroes

    • Louis Wain: Cats

    • Erin Hanson: Scenery

    • Art deco: Women

    • Fanart: Men

      Compare and contrast between you and your heroes.
      Where do you fall short?
      Identify and amplify what makes you different from them.

    • You start by rewriting your hero’s catalog.

    • I want to revisit my favorite artists. I made collages for them already,
      but I would like to write an in-depth document so I can explore
      more about their work and what I like about it.

  • Stealing from 1 = Plagiarism. Stealing from 10 = Research

    • It’s very obvious when someone is only using one particular artist for inspiration.
      You don’t want to be a dollar store copy of your idol. It’s important to borrow
      bits and pieces from different sources.

  • Don’t just steal the style. 

    • Steal the thinking behind their style- get a glimpse into their minds.

    • Move from imitating them to emulating them

    • Learn more about their lives. Art process videos, articles, etc. What kind of
      philosophies or events in their lives profoundly affected their work?

  • You are not the same as your heroes. You need to adapt the practices you like
    and make those your own.

    • I am not a dollar store copy of Louis Wain, Erin Hanson, or Yuu Watase.
      But there are things I love about their art that I can incorporate into my work,
      making it my own but also acknowledging my creative heritage.

  • It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us
    and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune
    and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst
    for profound reinvention
    - Conan O’Brien

    • I agree with this message: I don’t believe in labeling myself as anything
      whether it’s who I am or what I do. I can do whatever I want. In the
      words of Mob Psycho 100: Your life is your own.

  • Humans can never make a perfect copy; that’s where we discover our own style
    and how it evolves.

Good theft

Bad theft

  • Honor

  • Study

  • Steal from many

  • Credit

  • Transform

  • Remix

  • Degrade

  • Skim

  • Steal from one

  • Plagiarize

  • Imitate

  • Rip off

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