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Bacon_Barbarian
11-23-2011, 10:30 PM
I'm trying to explain to someone why tracing will never help someone increase their artistic ability. Help please?

GunZet
11-23-2011, 10:54 PM
I know it's not what you're looking for, but I support tracing, to a certain degree. I got my start by tracing various super saiyans back in Elementary school, and then I'd go and try to do it without tracing.
Basically tracing is like training wheels, and it's a different form of practice. It lets you feel what other artists are doing, instead of trying to see it and copy it. So to put it nice and simple, tracing is a good way to up your confidence, and learn some new stuff at the same time.

The only downside to tracing, is that you often pick up bits and pieces of the artists work. Every character I drew looked like it was straight out of DBZ for years after I developed my own style. Another thing is that you can get attached to tracing, that's when it gets bad. Don't get attached to tracing, whatever you do. It's only meant to point you in the right direction if you're lost, new, or just trying something out.



tl;dr
Tracing is good, don't abuse it though.

Hamachi
11-23-2011, 11:46 PM
For example - would you want to be a pianist that reads off sheet music all the time, or one who actually knows how to play songs from their head and improvise?

Actually, scratch that. Tracing is like playing sheet music with the recording of that song going off in the background for comparison. Sketching from reference or a life source is like playing sheet music. Illustrating, which I imagine is what you'd want to do, is improvising. Now there are skills that are common to all three forms, but the best way to get good at something is to practice doing that very thing.

Cloudy
11-24-2011, 12:12 AM
Actually I have to disagree, tracing can help you develop skills similar to copying, it's only really bad if you claim the art you trace as your own.

AlphaShard
11-25-2011, 07:18 PM
Agreed. Tracing actually lets your arm learn how to move in sync with your hand.

FrancysPai
11-25-2011, 07:19 PM
I use tracing to do anatomy studies. I basically draw all of the structure lines over the original image (all the muscles, the circles, lines etc. The basics down to "the blobs) and try and mimic it on a separate part.

ram
11-25-2011, 07:21 PM
Lol Bacon, Nice huh, you were trying to find a good explanation to your friend and people here just explain that your wrong.
How does that feel?

ckyume
11-26-2011, 09:59 AM
I'm trying to explain to someone why tracing will never help someone increase their artistic ability. Help please?

I love tracing its like driving a car while looking at your gps at the same time :D... but seriously experienced drivers doesnt need one instead rely on basic knowledge aquired from driving school/instructor and they're own judgement.

CypressDahlia
11-26-2011, 12:15 PM
Depends how you define artistic ability. A good artist is defined by both technique and practical knowledge. Tracing can improve your technique but, if your friend already is pretty decent with line control and coordination, it probably won't help them get much better to keep tracing. They should instead invest their time into building knowledge of things like anatomy and shading and such, which is the next step. essentially, if your friend is already really good at tracing, they've learned all they can learn from that particular exercise. It's time to move on to learning how to represent their own ideas freehand.

nextweek
11-26-2011, 12:15 PM
Eventually it comes to a point where you have to trace your own work!!! How do you think animation works o - o?

Everyone is right though. Gunz is right and I think it's the best way to describe it


Basically tracing is like training wheels, and it's a different form of practice. It lets you feel what other artists are doing, instead of trying to see it and copy it. So to put it nice and simple, tracing is a good way to up your confidence, and learn some new stuff at the same time.

Everyone here has traced something in their life. Whether it be when they were kids or adults learning line structure. It's a nice tool to have if not depended on! :cat_umm:

Edit: BTW ram that wasn't very nice D:

M3S1H
11-26-2011, 01:53 PM
(Insert a generic response here)
You see, tracing's OK if you're a beginner. By that I mean don't trace all the time. Just trace enough so that you can get the idea of what drawing is like. After that, I'd suggest moving on to sturdier grounds - take all of your tracing skills and shatter them. Start drawing "anatomical stick figures" that'll help you with pretty much everything about a character. Move on to clothes, hair, eyes, etc. If it's backgrounds we're talkin' about, I'd suggest tracing a lot more. This is because backgrounds don't have to much of a 'formula' to them, so to speak. To draw backgrounds, you really, REALLY have to learn detail and precise placement - most of this can be picked up by looking at a picture while drawing it, something that should come after tracing. That's all. Hope it helps'n'stuff.

Celestial-Fox
11-26-2011, 03:44 PM
Lol, I traced just today. >.> Granted, it was my own art, so whatevssss. XD I trace the crap out of my own stuff.

But anywayyy, I agree completely with Gunz, Cloudy, and friends. But I also agree that it can be bad.

Tracing is kinda a way of studying what you already know visually. You can study for a science test by making flash cards of material you already have memorized. Sure, it won't hurt, but the only thing you're developing is quick recall of things you already know. The same goes with tracing. If all you do is trace, the only things you can draw are the same figures--albeit, you could probably draw them quickly. What good is that when other artists can draw whatever they want from imagination?

Instead of tracing you should advise your friend to draw from reference, either freehand or with a grid. That way the skills they learn can be applied to other situations instead of remaining isolated within the image. Win-win, right?

ram
11-26-2011, 06:49 PM
Edit: BTW ram that wasn't very nice D:

Depends on the reader, Basically bacon is looking for people who can give him explanation to some friend of his.
He made this thread not him looking for help for himself but looking for people who can aid him to help another, I was just stating something that did happen.

Although I have to admit that the word "how does that feel?" make it sound bad.

Bacon_Barbarian
11-26-2011, 07:46 PM
Eh, it's alright Ram. I think I can explain what I wanted to say now.

I do find the first responses quite hilarious though, as every time before this tracing has even been mentioned here, it's been horribly panned.

GunZet
11-26-2011, 07:48 PM
I've always supported tracing. Come at me, bro.

Bacon_Barbarian
11-27-2011, 01:43 AM
I swear man, always flat out denied if not dead-panned.

FrancysPai
11-28-2011, 12:26 PM
I swear man, always flat out denied if not dead-panned.

It's moreso that you're stating something like this on an art forum where pretty much everyone here has gone through a phase of mimicry or tracing to get something down.

Cloudy
11-28-2011, 04:58 PM
I am agreeing because its good for your own person study, not for showing off on an art site, see there is the fine line, claiming it as your own makes it bad.

GunZet
11-28-2011, 05:14 PM
claiming it as your own makes it bad.

Yeps.

Afrobit
11-28-2011, 11:11 PM
Instead of tracing you should advise your friend to draw from reference, either freehand or with a grid. That way the skills they learn can be applied to other situations instead of remaining isolated within the image. Win-win, right?

This.

You will get more out of reference than you will tracing, because you are more actively taking things in. (Tracing is kinda like a do it for you, but with reference you have to try harder to get it right. I hope that came out right)

Fenn
11-29-2011, 12:08 AM
For example - would you want to be a pianist that reads off sheet music all the time, or one who actually knows how to play songs from their head and improvise?

Actually, scratch that. Tracing is like playing sheet music with the recording of that song going off in the background for comparison. Sketching from reference or a life source is like playing sheet music. Illustrating, which I imagine is what you'd want to do, is improvising. Now there are skills that are common to all three forms, but the best way to get good at something is to practice doing that very thing.

Tracing is like playing music with the letters written under the notes and on the keys.

ClockHand
11-29-2011, 12:25 AM
Tracing is like playing music with the letters written under the notes and on the keys.

like rocksmith?

nextweek
11-29-2011, 01:56 PM
like rocksmith?

lol... this is the best example yet

Fenn
11-29-2011, 02:12 PM
like rocksmith?

Yes. Like Rocksmith.


I think tracing is okay when you're younger, but really once you have a sense of making lines on paper and how it feels to draw I'd go with, at the least, copying (as in looking at an image and drawing it).

Gedeon
12-02-2011, 10:59 AM
I agree with what some of people here already said. Its ok until you abuse it ...

Fenn
12-02-2011, 12:27 PM
I agree with what some of people here already said. Its ok until you abuse it ...

I don't know if I'd call it abuse. I mean, if you ENJOY tracing, then it's not really abuse so long as you don't try to claim you freehanded it (which would be plain lying anyway). But if you want to improve and move on to traditional drawing, it can become a crutch.

CypressDahlia
12-02-2011, 01:30 PM
I think it just comes down to whether or not you've exhausted tracing as a learning resource. If your friend is already excellent at tracing, move on. Like any comfort zone, it's dangerous for an artist to pigeonhole themselves in one practice forever. They'll never grow.

T1B3R1U5
12-02-2011, 02:13 PM
^----Or can have the stigma of being a copycat for tracing. I have traced in a time or two but I never claimed credit for the bits I have traced. So I agree with everyone else on that it's a learning resource that really shouldn't be used too often (unless someone really needs it to help themselves).

GunZet
12-03-2011, 05:13 AM
Sometimes I trace my own work, it's pretty handy.

Inksprout
12-03-2011, 06:23 AM
The important distinction here is using tracing as a technical exercise vs using it as an artisitc creation. Straight up tracing other people's images is ok if you are doing it for technical practice but I don't think you can call just copying someone's work being artistic. Tracing is more like doing craft, like a paint by numers. You end up with a nice looking end piece but it takes almost no actual artistic ability

ram
12-03-2011, 06:53 AM
I've actually read some drawing books that tells you to trace something.

go and make some points like constellation and follow it.
Still if the your friend is doing nothing but put a peace of thin paper to the art that he's tracing then I would say that there's almost no point in that.

Fenn
12-03-2011, 12:05 PM
I've actually read some drawing books that tells you to trace something.

go and make some points like constellation and follow it.
Still if the your friend is doing nothing but put a peace of thin paper to the art that he's tracing then I would say that there's almost no point in that.

I like that constellation idea I bet it would do wonders for my proportion practice.