I am not a graphic designer. I do not consider myself one. I have no grasp of color theory, nor the means or sense of style to create harmonious and tasteful designs. I do, however, possess a good sense of what looks good and what does not. This is regardless of my inability to create something visually appealing.
Of course, I find myself frustrated because of both my inability to create good design and my love for the web.
It recently became apparent to me that I am also good at recreating things in Photoshop. I felt like a child with a new toy. I saw a wonderful website and set about creating my very first serious effort using said site as a template.
I asked the site owner for permission to use his backgrounds, and he granted to me upon the condition that I show him the finished product.
I'm rather ashamed to do so. The sites will look uncomfortably similar. I am using the same font, the same backgrounds, and the same heading style. The layout is a little different, along with a few details I added or removed. But the similarities in style will be great.
Since I'm not good enough to come up with my own style and ideas, is it ethical to copy the work of others?