Studying a master’s work has beneficial effects on my design skill. It can help me through a tough time when I'm not sure where my path is going. It inspired me to get to that next level. It helped me understand the design process they used, the composition and colour mixes. Learning by copying was great as long as we did go into plagiarism.
Self practice is a great way to test out some of the ideas and techniques I want to experiment in a real-world situation. I am the one making the decisions, take it in any direction that I want, allowing me to gain valuable experience.
Although taking feedback and constructive criticism isn’t always fun, it 100% improve my skills and develop myself a better designer.