The Future of an Illusion
When my book, Learn More, Study Less, was published in China, they wanted to use the illustrations in the book. But these were just hand-drawn by me to go in an ebook I made while in university. I’m not a professional illustrator by any means, so they decided to redo the images.
Interestingly enough, they didn’t create their own images for the concepts. They simply redid the illustrations I had made, but made them better. The same images were smoother, with crisper details and better shapes.
What struck me when I first saw this, was that the illustrator who redid my images probably could have created better concepts for images as well. But instead, he or she simply remade better versions of what I had originally drawn.
This culture of imitation in China is often criticized in the West. In some cases, accusations of plagiarism are launched because the imitation is too close to the original. Consider this back and forth between Conan and Da Peng, over the Chinese comedian’s use of an almost identical opening sequence as the American late-night host.