I used to tell people that a person studies and imitates the masters work in order to understand the techniques used to create them. Only after we understand the tools and methods of whatever craft we pursue are we able to let out the creativity we hold within ourselves.
Michael Reichmann iterates that principle in his latest article Practice Mutha, Practice. The truly great are seperated from the mediocre often only by the amount of effort they put into their work. Take note.