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October 2, 2011
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Copy Ninja training guide by mayshing Copy Ninja training guide by mayshing
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...

:police: 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

Featured Qs:

"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!"


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~ :heart: 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.


:w00t: 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.


:dance: 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!

:iconwahplz: 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.
Add a Comment:
GirlAnimePrincess Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm pretty sure I'm somewhere between 32 and 37.  Gonna start grinding hard!
CartoonOwl Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
First thing:
INSTANT FAVE BECAUSE YOU CALLED COPYING ART TO LEARN IS "COPY NINJA" (to my friends im considered the "Copy Artist Ninja" lol xD)

Second thing: AWESOME chart! I love how you put everything into "levels" by how difficult it would be.

Third: I like the advice to NOT post the copies to DA. I mean, that is if they aren't fanart (I copy the STYLE for certain fanart--like drawing like Naruto if you are drawing a fanart of something from naruto--but a lot of times I don't post it on here because Im a horrid colorist and I don't want to bombard the world with sketches, no matter how detailed they are. orz.)

Fourth: I am striving to be at level 100 (although ill probably only hit level 99 if I work hard until I die because 100 is impossible, lol) and I feel like the famous artists are the people one can learn a lot from (I am guilty of looking at some of Davinchi's for anatomy help...)

Fifth: I REALLY ENJOYED THIS. Thanks for making it! :D
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Professional Filmographer
np. :) Glad it helps!
CartoonOwl Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! :D It does, a lot! Actually, a LOT of your stuff really helps! :iconsquee-plz:
Armygeneral13 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I'm at level 30. Is that good for a 15 year old?
akkichan15 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i'd say im at least at lvl 45-49 :P
Wannab3Otaku Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for this! Its motivated me a lot after i found out im somewhere in lvl 41-49 and i should keep pushing forward! Thanks again!
vitorleone13 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
acho que estou no lvl 71
HensenFM Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
hahahaha realy like game MMORPG
so cool
Piedonut Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Student Artist
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