Marilag Lubag's Blog

How to Train with a Master

February 26, 2016
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Sometimes, I like to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace) and would try to sing the way she does. Of course, it would always end up with me yelling aloud. My voice isn’t designed to be that of Whitney Houston. Mine is a cross between Broadway and Classical. I’m not designed to sing like Whitney Houston. Nevertheless, I like to sing and to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston when I find the time for karaoke—an impossible task these days.

Pretending to be someone who’s good at their craft is a good way to learn the craft. Whether it’s trying to imitate Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting or trying to write in the style of J.K. Rowling, trying to imitate a master is a good way to learn the basics while we’re developing our own skillset. Eventually, we would develop our own preferences until we know our craft enough to have our own style.

While some people would argue that we need to develop our own style, it’s not easy to develop our own style if we don’t know what style we like. It would be better to have your top five favorite authors, try to imitate their style, and keep what we like about them and throw away what we don’t. We won’t know what we want until we have an idea of what it could be.

Imitating a master is a form of training. Anyone who says otherwise either wasn’t very good at what they do or are lying. Every world class artist have other artists before them that influenced them. It’s how they learn what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t be hesitant to imitate other artist while studying our craft. What’s important is to use them as a guide—to take what we like about them and to set aside what we don’t. Each individual is so unique that they cannot fully imitate the master. Sooner or later, the artist would know himself or herself enough to have his or her own style.

Who is your favorite artist on the medium you enjoy?

Start Simple

February 16, 2016
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Whenever I try to learn a new crocheting skill, I start with simple projects and practice it repeatedly. That’s how I became good at needlework. This is also a good way to improve your craft. After all, you can’t become a painter if you don’t know how to apply paint on the canvas. In my case, it helps me figure out how the yarn would behave before I can create a more elaborate design.

It’s better to start something simple if you’re just learning. A Mozart piece is a lot harder if you couldn’t even do the scales. Creating a beanie would be a lot harder if you couldn’t even start a chain. Writing a novel is extremely difficult if you don’t even know how tell a story. You need to master the basics before you should try something more complex.

It’s better to start something simple and master all the skills necessary than to create something elaborate without learning the basics. Mastering the basics gives you the skillset to combine them into something more complex. They do take time to develop so please be patient. After all, J.K. Rowling had been writing stories long before she completed Harry Potter. She had written her first story at the age of six about a rabbit. By the time she had written Harry Potter, she had been practicing writing for a long time.

When you try to do more complex items before mastering the basics, you won’t have the skills to match the vision you have in your head. It would be so far from your finished product it’s like trying to paint like Leonardo Da Vinci when your painting skill is that of a ten year old. When people do this, they tend to be discouraged and tell themselves that they couldn’t do what was on their mind. In reality, all they need is to practice. People should give themselves time to practice and allow themselves to be bad at it. The only way to become a sculptor is if you start creating a sculpture. Start by making a ball and then do something more complex from there. There is no shortcut. It takes time to be good at something.

People need to learn how to walk before they could run. The same is true when it comes to being a serious artist. Just because other people made what they do look easy doesn’t mean that it is. Being an artist is hard work. It takes talent, practice, and determination (mostly practice) in order to paint like a Renaissance painter.


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