Dürer's name sounds like something I say to my dog when she walks into walls.

Then again, I could be pronouncing it incorrectly. I recently learned that Van Gogh isn't pronounced "Van-Go", it's pronounced "Vun-Hucgh"... emphasis on the phlegmy bits. Anyway. Dürer was still a mighty fine artist. One of my favorites, actually. And sometimes I like to make a copy of my favorites so that I can get an idea of what it's like to draw like them.

[note: the meaning of the word "copy" is pretty loose here. It's more like "inspired by" or "attempt to resemble" or "sorta looks like it if you squint and turn your head a little"]

Another advantage of copying a favorite is that you now have your own duplicate of [or in this case, something somewhat similar to] your favorite drawing.

Note: Dürer's fine and fiddly strokes. They're exactly perpendicular to each other, evenly spaced and perfectly balanced.

Note: My impatient scribbling. It kinda has the same effect. If I pretend.

I like to pretend.

Here they are full size.

As you can see, I became restless after seven strokes of the white charcoal on his beard and went on to play with something shiny. Yay! It's done!

So what did I learn? I learned that to make something good into something outstanding, you have to be patient. You have to be willing to do the fiddly work. And also, Dürer must have had incredible fine motor skills, his lines are perfect.

I also had a lightbulb moment in regards to cross hatching and texture, particularly in the skin of his hand, the wrinkles on his forehead, and the threads of his cap. Had I not sat down and forced myself to look at each of his strokes, I would not have noticed these things.

So, despite what that paranoid little voice in your head tells you, you should definitely be copying the masters. That doesn't mean you're forging their images and trying to pass them off as your own. That's just silly. What it does mean is that you are learning from people who have gone before you and perfected their craft. There is so much to gain from that.

UPDATE: I just watched this video and found out that Dürer's name is pronounced Doo-Rur... which doesn't sound much like what I say to my dog. My apologies to Albrecht.