Please Copy

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy, you will find yourself” – Yohji Yamamoto

When we were young, we are often encourage to draw, to write, to create. We looked into the sky and saw the flock of birds flying past, the ray of the sun penetrating through the windows and the sight of children happily jumping into the pool.

Back home, I drew these images down. I don’t suppose anyone could comprehend what were on it, but it matters to me. Because it is what i have experienced as part of my childhood. It will forever be locked inside memory, and nobody could unlock the pin and steal it away from me.

On ideas and inspirations

Lately, a lot of things are going through my mind. I have lots of projects I want to work on, lots of ideas for articles to write, and lots of books to finish off. I also came across many products and services that are expertly implemented, blending brilliant design with excellent functionality. I’m especially aware of how the design and execution of service like Instapaper works. Simple and minimal. From the default font to the background colour, from the layout to the design, all the design elements seem deliberately chosen with care. I also admire many apps, like the ease of creating a new item in Clear, and the colour differentiation from dark orange to a lighter shade to indicate the importance or date of creation. I also like how in Airendipity, you can remain anonymous and post your thoughts, and the motion of flying your plane is sliding it out to the horizon.

These are the little ideas, sparks, and inspirations I like. These little details matter, and I want to implement them for my own work.

But the world disapprove of copying

However, social norms dictate otherwise. When we copy, we are accused of lacking ideas. Lacking inspiration and aspiration to create something new. Can I find something that is truly original anymore? I doubt so.

The things we write, songs we sing, products we make, and services we provide all stem from a combination of experiences and influences we have acquire over the years of our existence. Just like we use ideas from various sources and implement them to become something we call our creation.

Imitate your hero

Every one of us has a role model. A superhero we can look up to and learn from. For me, that superhero is a sleepy fat cat call Garfield.

On the TV screen was this sleepy cat, his name is Garfield. He wasn’t particularly good at anything, and most times he was either lazing around or munching food. How did I come to like him, i can’t explain nor do I know the reason. He just happened to be the character that held my attention the most. I remembered religiously begging my parent to get me comic book of Garfield, to which they obliged. I wanted to create a character like Garfield to keep me company, so I have to draw it out. The problem was I didn’t know how to do it. So I went over to the kitchen drawer, hunted for the piece of baking paper and hurried off back to my room. Placing the comic book of Garfield over the baking paper, I started to trace over it. Slowly, the picture turned out to be half decent image of the fat cat.

Nice, I thought to myself.

So over time, I practised this act of drawing whenever I had a spare moment. Eventually, after casting aside what may looked like drawing of a mouse more than a fat cat, I can finally say I could draw a decent image of Garfield without the aid of tracing paper. The satisfaction was immense. That was my creation and I was proud of it.  It meant the world to me at that time. I had put the inspiration into practise and turned it into reality.

The simple process of creation

So the process of creation becomes something like this:

Copying–> Understanding–> Mastering

I outlined the shape, I understand the shade, and I finally master the strokes.

In our world we are living in, no one and nothing can be claimed to be truly original. If I ever hear someone whispering in my ears that something is original, I would just assume they haven’t seen something similar, or they are not aware the source of its origin.

As we progress and become more comfortable in our skills, we learn how to turn inspirations and combine ideas from diverse fields to call them our own.

Because every little steps involving copying.
Like the baby mimicking you picking your nose.