Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 20 "Art Every Day Month" - Learning by copying

They say you learn by copying. How true this is. I am working on the first exercise of my illustration course which is to find out about a historical illustrator and then prepare some work in the same style. I have chosen Edward Bawden, a prolific British illustrator who did all sorts of work ranging from advertising, textile design, ceramics design and book covers. He did a lot of work using lino cutting. I'm going to have a go a lino cutting very soon, but first I wanted to really get more of a feel for Bawden's style. So, using black pen, I copied a small head-piece illustration by Edward Bawden for the 1935 Kynoch Press Note Book. It appealed to me because of the dynamic lines of the train darting across the page and the humour in the image. You can really sense the wind caused by the train rushing past the platform blowing the commuters hats off.

What I learnt is that it's one thing to look at a piece of artwork, but quite another to study and then and replicate the same lines and shapes.  It really does make you see in a different way, looking at the negative space, the angles, the placement of the various elements of the page and the interaction between them all. It's definitely the best way to learn about an artist.

Here's my version:

And here's the real thing!


  1. Looks good! I´ve never tried copying someone elses work but I guess it is good practise. Maybe I should try it.

  2. I learn by copying even using a light box once in awhile to get a feel for it. From there then I can move to the paper without the light and then I can create on my own. Keep it up

  3. Looking forward to seeing your lino cuts!