Copying others’ work is one of the oldest approaches to developing one’s own skills as an artist, no matter the art form. Below are the products of copying some drawings I’ve found in art books, etc.
For notes on my experiences producing each drawing, please click on the category, “Copy.”
For the above, I relied on carbon copies, which felt a bit like cheating, but heck, I seriously wanted a copy of my own. It saved me time on figuring out the proportions of a given subject, which if done wrong, you cannot undo by doing something else later on. Moreover, I still had to think about the quality of each line and the overall “gesture” or effect which the original had and which I wanted my version to have on myself and others.
If you don’t use it, you lose it. Well, not entirely… but if you use your skills often, you can access them more quickly and easily. I copied the above by eye, which I think is one step away from drawing something in person… eh, as long as your subject isn’t moving…
I drew the above using a grid, which I guess is one of those steps between relying on carbon copies and drawing something by eye. I’m sure there are other ways of getting the job done, but so far, these are the only ones I’ve relied on.