It was once said that good artists borrow, great artists steal. Pablo Picasso I believe. The whole concept of art theft is definitely one of the more heated ones and certainly a controversial subject. Like where does it go from using references to tracing…can one steal a style or elements of a style…or how much of a pose can one draw before its a rip. It’s a very turbulent arena of debate.
I don’t really plan to go into that. But I will say that yes…my very first toe-dip into comics was absolutely SATURATED with my young pre-teen self blatantly yoinking styles and gags and pretty much panel for panel direct ripping jokes. And honestly…I don’t regret it. I was a kid in a time when the internet didn’t even really exist. I drew these things for the amusement of myself and my friends who thought I was very clever even though all the jokes were lifted. But then…I branched off and improved. While Fluffy Funnies didn’t last as long, even in its tiny archive there was the starting stages of the comic taking on its own life…moving away from the swiped gags and into its own material. And it inspired me to want to develop and make my own things.
It is the same reason why I always tell starting writers it is ok to have your Mary Sues. And it is fine to have those completely self indulgent fluff projects . They are an important stage and step in my mind. Most people when they want to start their first foray into creativity…will often do it not only from something they are excited about (a pre-existing thing) but also usually in a small and safe way. They want to be part of an already created world, and influence it. And often those first steps are going to be like a toddler…shaky and unpolished. But in a lot of cases, as they go and have fun…that muscle of creativity gets flexed and then they start going off into their own pursuits.
Creativity comes from inspiration. And you are likely going to get inspired by the things you like and are excited about. And so it is natural that the first stages will be more like an emulation…because you are learning. And the best way (in my opinion) to learn is to follow the footsteps until you feel ready enough to strike off on your own trailblazing adventure.
At least that’s my opinion. It may vary from other folks, and that is fine too.