Copying the masters… word for word
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous of human painters, began as an apprentice mimicking his master’s strokes. Long ago, painters just starting out often worked under master painters for a time. Why, masters even permitted their apprentices to fill in sections of their paintings, as a way to learn techniques!
In a museum, elves have seen humans set up with easels, painstakingly copying a piece of artwork as closely as they can. And, we have been told, if you go to art school, you have to study at least one famous work and copy the work yourself! (Note: Scoble, the illustrator elf, learned to draw by copying his favorite comics every Saturday morning from The Daily Elven.)
Maybe you are wondering why this is a Writing tip and not a Drawing tip. Here is why. In the elven world, we copy the writing of great elven writers. As we copy out words exactly as they were written in a famous story, we get a firsthand feel for how the elf arranged and chose the words. We feel how long the sentences are, how the elf built up paragraphs, description and other elements and rhythms in the story. The elf elders require us to practice in this way because copying is a brilliant way to observe tiny details about how something was made.