CD's fun Artistic copy Ninja training guide. Based on my own experience in copying... (I might color a few if i feel like it)
My own style falls somewhere in level 40-50, in the normal anime range. My copy skill is pretty high at this point if i want to spend the time for it...
Don't ask me:
What Level is ________ (insert series) according to this chart?
What level am I? (my style, my work, my etc)
You can figure it out based on the chart, you are smart, you can't be too far off.
OK... ok, if you DO ask, I might answer if i feel like it. ;D
"Why not copy photograph?"
- It's okay to copy photograph, but it's not the highest level of practice, it's also easier to make excuses for yourself for not achieving the best result with a photograph than another artwork. (Photographs are better as reference material for original work, not as good as studies samples for leveling up) But this explanation does not apply to all cases, I do use photographs, when they are really good they help. But copying another master's strokes to fix your own is not something you get from copying photos.
"How come some cartoon characters are on lower end of the scale they are much more complicated than that!"
A: READ the DISCLAIMER.
It's a lot faster to learn to "COPY" those characters based on shapes and proportion compare to "realism" or "anime and hero cartoons with anatomy" which you have to have additional anatomy knowledge to copy one really accurately.
Animation character designs ARE DESIGNED to be COPIED! They SHOULD BE EASIER to redraw and copy thus they are on lower end of the scale.
And don't lump drawing skill of copying with animation skill together. They are TWO SEPARATED SKILL SET that has core-relation to one another but you CAN have great animation without a great drawing. (Ex: Animation Vs animator)
That's why an animation with both "great animation" and "great drawing" like Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" is so precious.
"I disagree with your scale"
A: No one said you can't make your own~
You are welcome to make another and share with me which one is more difficult to you. It varies by different people.
Some who are used to realism will think Cartoon is mad hard, and those who are used to cartoon will think realism is mad hard.
I started in the middle, so I charted it based on the layers of knowledge required and time spent required for the difficulties and levels.
How to use:
Use the chart to compare the level where you are at in terms of your own style, and your ability to copy other people's style.
+ When to move up: If you have been copying simpler style, and can do them well, move up.
+ When to move down: When you have trouble with more complex styles, try some really simple lower level ones, you might get a few lessons you have never learned before to apply to more complex styles!
+ note: There are some skills that doesn't come from copying, if you can copy very well but cant apply to your own work when you want to, you need to try other methods (like real life models, and still life.)
+You can skip level practicing, aim for the highest, that's the point of this guide. But if you have trouble with the highest level, doing lower ones help.
+the whole point of copying is to play detective with the artwork you are copying, you have to keep asking yourself and figure out "why is the person making a stroke here? Why is the person using the color there?" If you don't do that, copying is useless.
Sharing: You are allowed to print this, to use this chart to show anyone who need to know where they are on practice level. As long as it's non-commercial.
+ Benefit of copying: It forces you to get rid of your usual habits and learn to adapt something new, and learn the observation skill of the artist at higher level than you.
People in the past has used copying to practice, it's not a crime.
It's an important skill to level up in!
Think of it this way, when you are at level 99, and you still draw manga/anime/cartoon, you can really tell people "This is my style and I choose to be this way!" because you can also do all other styles and prove them wrong!
If you DO copy, do not, DO NOT post it on Deviantart (unless its public domain artwork, like classical paintings.) because this is a GALLERY SITE, not a STUDY site. You can post them on photobucket or facebook, tumblr, blog, no one cares.