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Thread: Why Tracing is Bad

  1. #1
    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    Why Tracing is Bad

    I'm trying to explain to someone why tracing will never help someone increase their artistic ability. Help please?
    My AA thread - Updated 06/28/14

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial-Fox View Post
    You're my favorite.

  2. #2
    Ruler of the Seventh Empire GunZet's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hamachi's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
    Teacup Ninja Tots Cloudy's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    Junior Member AlphaShard's Avatar
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    Agreed. Tracing actually lets your arm learn how to move in sync with your hand.

  6. #6
    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.

  7. #7
    Zeta Members ram's Avatar
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    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?

  8. #8
    Ying Yang Member ckyume's Avatar
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    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 ... but seriously experienced drivers doesnt need one instead rely on basic knowledge aquired from driving school/instructor and they're own judgement.

  9. #9
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #10
    For Sparta! nextweek's Avatar
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    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!

    Edit: BTW ram that wasn't very nice D:
    Last edited by nextweek; 11-26-2011 at 12:17 PM.
    Maybe stuffs to be made for deviants soon
    http://trnal.deviantart.com

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