3 ways to use copying and enhance my learning

In this article we will show you how to use copying to enhance your learning. But, how do I start with these 3 ways to use copying and enhance my learning?

Focusing on structure and proportions, copying is a very important part of drawing, as it will help us to get used to the drawing materials.

Make the most of copying, for the benefit of a great artistic development!

Since time immemorial, humans have drawn what they saw. For example, the caveman, drawing on the walls hunting scenes and animals they saw during the day.

Things that surely produced positive or interesting emotions, but to which they were definitely not indifferent.

Nowadays, in any school, for example, we can see children drawing their favorite characters in their notebooks, possibly copying from a poster or magazine.

It is not wrong to copy images, on the contrary, these copies are a great introduction to the handling of drawing tools and techniques, which can be learned more or less by oneself.

Copying images is not all there is to art, and at some point, we all want to transcend beyond that.

No one is a “good draftsman” for achieving more or less, good copies of Saint Seiya on a notepad.

Having the experience of having copied is a good stepping stone to start learning other things.

dibujo que muestra 3 formas de usar la copia y potenciar mi aprendizaje

Practice with new tools

As we mentioned at the beginning, copying can serve to familiarize you with drawing tools.

It is possible that, when you were a child, you drew with whatever you had at hand, no matter with what. (Surely, it is not strange for you to imagine a 7 year old drawing Pikachu with a blue pen).

Since what you want, is, to learn more consciously about drawing techniques, try materials you don’t use often.

I don’t mean expensive colored pencils (or not only), but use watercolors, inks, brushes, pens, crayons, sponges, oils, etc.

You will think: I don’t know how to do that, the copy will be terrible! This does not mean that the copy is similar to the original (whether or not it looks like Pikachu is anecdotal).

It’s about having an excuse to draw something in a guided way, while you experiment with materials and tools that you haven’t used before.

You will surely get much more interesting results than if you were to make a photographic copy!

copia lineal de dibujo de disney

2. Focus well on structure and proportions

As you know, copying at a glance is not the same as tracing. Surely, you remember that drawing you made with crooked eyes, small chin and out of place shoulder. This is normal when we copy parts without thinking about the whole.

Before you start copying a drawing, look at it as a whole structure.

Observe the proportions. Imagine that you want to copy a sword. It is evident that the handle is shorter than the blade. Then, calculate how many handles fit on that blade, and reproduce that approximate proportion. You don’t need to measure with a ruler. Trust your intuition.

The drawing of a sword will be a great example with geometric shapes.

copia geometrica de dibujo de espadas

Notice also, the geometric shape of that sword. Obviously, it is not a homogeneous shape, but if you had to assign one, what would it be: oval, triangular, rectangular? What do you think?

A good exercise you can do when reproducing an image is to assign a geometric shape to all the elements, gently draw that shape on your paper, and then add details.

This is much better than tracing the outer line of the elements of the original drawing.

3. Advanced technique: smart copying

When you have incorporated the techniques mentioned above, and you have some ductility in drawing, you can start trying the so called “smart copying”. No, it is not that you will be smart for photographically reproducing other drawings, or for being a good plagiarizer.

It is not about making a 100% identical copy, but about interpreting what the author of the original drawing did.

Professional artists take many things into account when doing a job. They not only know about tools, techniques and proportions, but also about the visual composition of their illustration.

When you make an intelligent copy, you must read and analyze the original work carefully, pay attention to where each element was placed, how this element interacts with the others, the division between figure and background, tonal contrasts, etc.

Never copy linearly. Discover the structure that underlies the original illustration, disassemble it, observe its parts, and reproduce it on your sheet as best you can. Of course, without the pressure to be the same. The important thing is to understand what they did, not to arrive at the same result.

mickey mouse y 3 formas de usar la copia y potenciar mi aprendizaje


To conclude, we have seen three ways in which you can use copying to your advantage as a freelance draftsman. As you could observe, you can use drawings of recognized artists to experiment with new materials or techniques.

In this way, you will give yourself the opportunity to produce a referential work that is not necessarily identical to the original.

Next, we talked about the importance of considering the proportions and structures of the elements of the work in order to get a decent drawing.

Remember: never copy only the lines.

nunca copies solamente las lineas dibujo

Drawing is much more than drawing lines on paper.

Finally, and perhaps the most important for intermediate or advanced draftsmen, we deal with intelligent copying.

A fundamental technique to approach the great artists from a critical and professional point of view. You will discover what they were thinking while they were drawing, and you will even see details you never noticed before.

Copying is an interesting exercise for any drawing student, but remember that it is just that: an exercise. We can consider it as your springboard to artistic works of your own.

Trust yourself, in general everyone’s art is good when we have something to express and we do it with conviction.

Be the creator of illustrations that others want to copy!

More articles

Join us

Drawing tips & Tricks

Valuable content every week.