It’s okay to cheat

Some people thing using ideas or images or things that other people have created in their artwork is cheating.

Sometimes it is. If you use an image and don’t give credit for it, or take someone’s idea wholesale without transforming it somehow to make it your own that isn’t right.

However if you are drawing something and you can’t get it quite right it’s ok to use an image as reference. Or even to trace that image. It’s not cheating! It’s helping you expand your skill set so that eventually you might be able to draw without using that assistance.

Are there any new ideas? I don’t think so. I think that they are all recycled and revamped and made new through tweaking. So, if you think about it that way it’s ok to take someone’s idea and put your own spin on it. Recipes are a lot like that. You may make the recipe the way it’s laid out on Eating Well, but you might just tweak it to add your own spice to it, or leave an ingredient out that you don’t like.

In fact, it is very hard to copy someone else’s work exactly. Have you ever tried it? If we go back to the recipe analogy you probably know that when you try to make your grandmother’s fudge recipe it never comes out quite the same. Or at all, in my case.

The same goes for painting and sculpture and any kind of art. Forgers spend many years trying to perfect the skill of impersonating another artist.

I am not suggesting that you go out and try to make a living creating forgeries of masterpieces, but I do think it’s ok to take someone else’s idea and build off of it. Make it better. Make it your own.

This week I want to encourage you to find a fun project that you want to try and do it!

IMG_1061My example is a crayon painting that my son, Oliver made. He found the project online and wanted to try it. He did, and created several versions until he got it exactly the way he wanted it. Then I had fun painting on it. Was it completely original? Not really. I did enjoy creating it though, and now it hangs in our bathroom. It looks amazing, and we had a blast making it.

The other plus was that we took an idea that existed and played off it. We didn’t have to spend all of our creative time coming up  with the idea of what we wanted to create. That is a bonus.

Sometimes when life is busy unless you stockpile a list of projects that you want to do or you just have a million ideas in your head, it can be easier to play off of other people’s ideas. That is why paint and sip has become popular in recent years. Are you going to create original fine art at paint and sip? No way. But will you have a fun time? Sure! Why not.

I think sometimes it’s ok to cheat, and do creative things that feel a bit ‘easy.’

What’s your version of paint and sip?

I encourage you to find out this week!


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