So this quote that, according to Google, is attributed to Picasso, popped up in my facebook feed, and now I want to talk about it.
At first I thought to make the newspost about plagiarism vs. inspiration, but it sounded something self explanatory, especially in a community of comic artists where everyone experiments with their own original ideas, plotlines and styles; one only needs to take a look at the front page thumbnails to realize as much (yes I’m paying all DDers a compliment!).
And it occurred to me to talk more about the process of artistic development that hides within this quote more than anything (and also that it proves Picasso was a negative little snark): we start off in developing our skills by copying copiously (I’m not sorry) from the work of others, more skillful than us.
It’s only after we’ve done that innumerable times that our own style begins to develop, and we start drawing independently. Hopefully, by then our personal style begins to emerge, too.
So what are we ‘stealing’ according to Picasso’s ignoble quote?
In my interpretation, we are stealing lenses through which we channel our art, be it the drawing aspect or the writing/plot-line aspect for comics. Lenses that have already been used by countless other artists before us, giving us a glimpse of the same world and the same themes we want to grapple with through different perspectives.
And so great artists use a vast array of several different of those lenses, from style to mood to storytelling method to genre, from subverting stereotypes and ‘tropes’ to expanding them to other roads not taken- and in doing so, such great artists create their own lens, for others to be inspired by and for others to ‘steal’ further down in order to create their own.
And so I end this rather philosophical musing of mine by saying that in the end, it’s unfair to call it ‘stealing’. It’s more like creating marble from sediment.
Your turn now!
Have you ever felt, in current or in retrospect a process such as this? Have you ever taken an idea or a method or a style, and tweaked it to create something that is yours? Was it consciously done or intuitive?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Dec. 17, 2016
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