Inspired By Art
Drawing and painting is a skill that can be learned with practice and studying other artist’s techniques.
Like famous guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughn studying guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix, Alber King, Fredy Kind, and BB King, artists like Leonardo da Vinci learned from Verrocchio.
If you are a Stevie Ray Vaughn fan, you can hear the influences of the three Kings and Jimi, but none of his songs copy one of the artists he was inspired by.
On the other hand, bands like Led Zeplin lost a lawsuit in 1985 to Willie Dixion for copying the lyrics from “You Need Love” recorded by Muddy Waters and written by Willie Dixon. The Led Zeplin song that caused the lawsuit was Whole Lotta Love.
There is a difference between being inspired by art vs. copying art.
We learn by copying untill we have the skills to create what we envision in our minds.
Copying work from other artists and claiming it is yours is not only unethical but it also is against the law.
Stevie Ray Vaughn and Led Zeplin are two great examples of learning by copying or stealing and claiming it is yours.
Let’s talk about how you can learn by studying the greats without copying other people’s work.
Practicing Different Art Techniques
Every artist should study seven elements of art, including space, form, value, shape, texture, color, and line.
There are also five shading elements artists should know, including full light, halftone, core shadow, reflected light, and cast shadow.
There are many different painting techniques, like blocking in, underpainting, glazing, dry brushing, etc that painters need to learn.
Drawing also has different techniques, including scribbling, hatching, cross-hatching, etc.
How does an artist learn all of the elements and techniques of art?
The easiest way is by studying their favorite artists, just like Stevie Ray Vaughn spending years trying to learn his favorite songs by listening to records and the help of his older brother Jimmie Vaughn.
Why did Stevie have a unique style even though he spent years trying to master the guitarists’ techniques he admired?
He respected his mentors and took everything he learned from them and mixed them all together to create his unique style.
Stevie always gave credit to the artists he covered, and he always gave credit to the people he learned from.
Even though you can hear the same song, recorded by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, you can immediately hear the difference.
Take a listen.
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Both songs are recorded in the same key with little variations, but you can clearly hear the difference between the two.
Now let’s look at how two artists can paint the same subject, but you can easily see the difference between the two artists’ styles.
The top tutorial is by Windy, and the bottom is by Karen.
The two artists are painting a realistic apple with watercolor paints.
What makes the two paintings different?
I notice that Windy’s painting has more vibrant colors with strong highlights, whereas Karen’s colors blend nicely with soft value changes.
- What differences do you notice?
- What do you like about both paintings?
- How can you combine everything you like about the two?
How To Be Inspired By Art Without Copying It
Everyone learns by copying. We learn how to write by copying letters. We learn how to speak by copying sounds. We learn our skills from the masters before us, which is how the skills evolve.
For example, British bands like the Beatles, the Animals, the Rolling Stones, and the Yardbirds were all influenced by American blues.
They were all inspired by their favorite blues musicians and spent a great deal of time trying to learn how to play the songs they fell in love with.
The time spent practicing various songs led the musicians to discover their unique playing styles.
As a visual artist, it is essential to learn from other artists.
Visual art is about observing what you see.
Study your favorite paintings and drawings.
Try to identify:
- The colors used for the painting
- The way the artists use light
- The marks the artist uses
- The composition
- The concept
Then ask yourself what attracts you to the art.
Practice the techniques and style you like about the painting.
First, use the same subject as practice, then use the techniques you have learned for other subjects.
Do the same steps with all the artists who inspire you to be an artist.
Over time you will start to take everything you like from all of the artists you studied, and you will have developed your unique style.
When people look at your art, they will know that you painted it. Dedicated art collectors will see whom you were influenced by, but your paintings and compositions will be unique.
How To Enhance Your New Skills
After learning how to paint what you liked by other artists, it is time to develop your style.
Take one subject like an apple.
Paint the same apple over and over with:
- Different marks
- Different size brushes
- Different color palettes
- Different lighting
Next, paint the apple at different angles and with the light source at various locations.
Soon you will notice that you can paint any subject, and the finished painting will be unique, and people will be able to identify that you art the artist who created the artwork they are admiring.
Final Thoughts About Being Inspired By Art
So many artists were inspired and learned from the greats like Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
Today’s artists learn from more modern artists who have developed a unique style by studying the greats.
Inspiration is a style or design that makes you feel a certain way.
Identify what attracts you to certain works of art and practice that style and technique until you have your own unique artistic style.