The introduction has two main roles. Firstly, the different forms of parallel projection, including axonometric, isometric, oblique, and variations of these must be explained and their rules described. This is the most practical and instructional element of the book, and will take you through each of these conventions in a straightforward, step-by-step manner.

The second role of this introduction is to describe the methodological approach of this research. The idea of copying has a long history, and this mimetic faculty is often seen as the root of how we learn. This is substantiated by studies in anthropology into how we make and transmit knowledge, yet we do not, as academics or researchers engage in such practices. Copying has fallen out of favour, supplanted by ideas of originality, but the processes of learning extend beyond understanding how to draw and into interpretation or the production of new works.

This can be understood through the work of Fuyubi Nakamura and Patricia Cain (2010) in establishing the potential of copying in contemporary Japanese calligraphy and fine art practice in the UK respectively.


First stage, focusing on the mechanics of brush technique.


Second stage, interpreting the spirit and intention of the work.


Third stage, reproduction from memory without looking at the model.

Adapted from Nakamura, F. (2007), “Creating or Performing Words: Observations on Contemporary Japanese Calligraphy” in Hallam, E. & Ingold, T. (Eds.). Creativity and Cultural Improvisation. Oxford: Berg.