The learning curve is strange - on the one hand you are very strongly advised to build upon an existing theme making it trivial to have a working site up and running with a basic theme. You can modify parts of the theme as you like.
On the other hand, you need to spend a while making yourself familiar with the theme internals.
In a matter of an hour, I was able to port the basic style over from my Zola theme.
They are not same yet, but I might see where this evolves since I have the opportunity to rewrite it one more time.