Tracing accusations. How to deal?
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    Tracing accusations. How to deal?

    Seriously. If you've ever had this happen to you, how do you deal with it? I'm asking because I'm currently in the process of drawing my boyfriend's car realistically from reference. I constantly measured and compared my drawing to the reference (drawing being in my sketchbook and the ref on my computer screen) and when I finally finished the linework, I scanned it and placed it over the reference. It turned out pretty accurate apart from a few minor flaws.

    Now, I have a feeling that when I present it to him, certain members of his family will question my ability and say that I traced it, to my utmost frustration. I've little to no idea how to deal with this, as I've had to deal with it before with a portrait and kind of failed to defend my case back then. I'm curious to know how others deal with this, or do you simply ignore the accusation?

    Here's the picture in question. I suppose the only defense I have is the skewed license plate which I obviously failed to get right.

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    I don't mean to come at you from right angles, but why didn't you trace it? As a learning exercise, drawing an accurate outline from careful measurement of a photo probably has some value. I guess. But for a presentation drawing, there's not much difference between them.

    Tracing is bad not because it's "cheating" but because it's boring (and because you learn very little from it). When an artist looks at an object, tries to absorb what he's seeing and then distill that onto paper, the struggle to comprehend is what makes the result exciting (if you're lucky).

    Getting a paintover or tracing to look halfway interesting is very advanced stuff.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I don't mean to come at you from right angles, but why didn't you trace it? As a learning exercise, drawing an accurate outline from careful measurement of a photo probably has some value. I guess. But for a presentation drawing, there's not much difference between them.

    Tracing is bad not because it's "cheating" but because it's boring (and because you learn very little from it). When an artist looks at an object, tries to absorb what he's seeing and then distill that onto paper, the struggle to comprehend is what makes the result exciting (if you're lucky).

    Getting a paintover or tracing to look halfway interesting is very advanced stuff.
    Well exactly that, really. I get absolutely zero satisfaction from tracing and seeing as it's a gift for my boyfriend, I want to actually put some effort in, not half-ass it (pardon my French) and I take offense when people think I would. I also see every drawing I do as a learning experience and seeing as I've never drawn a car seriously in my life, this was definitely a good experience. I don't really understand the purpose of tracing as it immediately lowers the value of the drawing in my eyes and it's of little to no good artistically, I think..

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    you could simplify the drawing to make less realistic a bit.

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    Well... it kinda looks like traced, because you can't see any gesture or construction lines. I mean it's too clean. And it's actually just a contour. How did you draw this actually? Did you start by blocking major shapes, you know, using cubes and cylinders and this kind of stuff? Because looking at it right now it reminds me of a contour drawing. If you used method 1 you could intentionally leave part of the car unfinished, so that it's visible that you started with a cube for example and then added other elements... and so on.

    Now, about the actual question, I would recommend you to not say anything. If they don't trust you there's nothing you can do. Better show them another drawing. Or you can add something else to the drawing, something that is not in the photo... or just make it loose. Make it loose. Because it really looks like traced. Give it some life, let some strokes go outside of the contour. Put some perspective lines. I don't know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vari View Post
    Well... it kinda looks like traced, because you can't see any gesture or construction lines. I mean it's too clean. And it's actually just a contour. How did you draw this actually? Did you start by blocking major shapes, you know, using cubes and cylinders and this kind of stuff?
    I drew it using a base line which I placed on the reference in Photoshop and a base line in my sketchbook, using that as a reference point and building everything up from there. Simply measuring the distances and heights of different points as opposed to each other and then drawing the lines inbetween them. I believe there's a name for this method but I can't recall it right now.

    I simply work clean, I hate it when there are construction lines all over my drawing unless I'm actually going for that particular style. If I don't need them anymore, I erase them, that's why most of my sketches are fairly clean as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    I drew it using a base line which I placed on the reference in Photoshop and a base line in my sketchbook, using that as a reference point and building everything up from there. Simply measuring the distances and heights of different points as opposed to each other and then drawing the lines inbetween them. I believe there's a name for this method but I can't recall it right now.

    I simply work clean, I hate it when there are construction lines all over my drawing unless I'm actually going for that particular style. If I don't need them anymore, I erase them, that's why most of my sketches are fairly clean as well.
    Yes, but it still looks traced. Even if it's not, it gives that impression. Look at the side mirrors... I don't know if they are called like that... they are just contours. They look flat, empty. Now look at the photo. They are not flat. They have a cylinder-like shape... they are curved. But in your drawing they are completely flat. You draw only the outlines. You see what I mean? Look at the mirror of the sketch I linked. There you can see the shape of the mirror. You can see the planes, the curves. It's not just an outline and it gives a better and more accurate impression of the real shape. That's what is missing in your drawing. Planes, actual shapes.

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    just kill them, they can't accuse you of tracing then.

    but really, I've dealt with the same thing. people that have known you for a long time sometimes get weirded out when someone who's good at art is within their sphere of influence. non-artistic people relegate good artists into the realm of godliness or something, it's weird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FourTonMantis View Post
    just kill them, they can't accuse you of tracing then.

    but really, I've dealt with the same thing. people that have known you for a long time sometimes get weirded out when someone who's good at art is within their sphere of influence. non-artistic people relegate good artists into the realm of godliness or something, it's weird.
    So true. My drawings are so amateurish by CA standards, but friends who are not interested in art are like "whoooooah! Dude you are so good". And I say "Thanks, but not really. My stuff is awful"... and maybe I sound like an elitist or something, but it really is and the compliments make me uncomfortable, because I know that my drawings are not that good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vari View Post
    So true. My drawings are so amateurish by CA standards, but friends who are not interested in art are like "whoooooah! Dude you are so good". And I say "Thanks, but not really. My stuff is awful"... and maybe I sound like an elitist or something, but it really is and the compliments make me uncomfortable, because I know that my drawings are not that good.
    Take a compliment when it's offered. You're drawing abilities are comfortably in the top one percent of humanity in term of drawing ability. Sure, there are many better people out there, but it's like a 6'4" man insisting he's not tall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    Take a compliment when it's offered. You're drawing abilities are comfortably in the top one percent of humanity in term of drawing ability. Sure, there are many better people out there, but it's like a 6'4" man insisting he's not tall.
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=197105

    ???

    I'm all for giving credit where credit is due but.... ???

    Vari's self assessment may be a little harsh, but not unwarranted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    Take a compliment when it's offered. You're drawing abilities are comfortably in the top one percent of humanity in term of drawing ability. Sure, there are many better people out there, but it's like a 6'4" man insisting he's not tall.
    Fair point, but in the art world, you don't get paid for being semi-decent. Be the best or be nothing.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming to be the best. I'm just saying, being critical of your own work is a good thing to do. If you measure yourself against people worse than you, you will never improve.

    Also, I love the tags in this thread.


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    I would like to hike to the North Pole. I have a shoe and a ham sandwich. What do I do next?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Droid View Post
    Fair point, but in the art world, you don't get paid for being semi-decent. Be the best or be nothing.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming to be the best. I'm just saying, being critical of your own work is a good thing to do. If you measure yourself against people worse than you, you will never improve.

    Also, I love the tags in this thread.
    I agree, but such self criticism should be kept to oneself, or at least amongst other artists. Saying you're bad at something to someone who is worse at it than you are tends to come off as condescending, or at least unappreciative.


    Quote Originally Posted by p sage View Post
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=197105

    ???

    I'm all for giving credit where credit is due but.... ???

    Vari's self assessment may be a little harsh, but not unwarranted.

    Pretty sure that's top one percent of the world population. Perhaps a couple percent of people in the U.S. or Europe study drawing to any serious degree, and that number is far lower in many of the poorer parts of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Droid View Post
    Fair point, but in the art world, you don't get paid for being semi-decent.
    *cough*Liefeld*cough*

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    I googled a random car sketch to show you what I mean. You can't accuse this guy of tracing, because you can see that he started by making a grid and the lines are not so clean.



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    I would just explain how you did it. If they don't believe that, then that's their problem.

    @stoat: The reason that I would not recommend tracing from the photo is that the camera tends to distort the image and flatten the image. That's why it's always recommended to work from life. Now, a lot of artists who do work from life can use the photo, but they know how to correct for the camera issues.

    Dougie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Hoppes View Post
    @stoat: The reason that I would not recommend tracing from the photo is that the camera tends to distort the image and flatten the image. That's why it's always recommended to work from life. Now, a lot of artists who do work from life can use the photo, but they know how to correct for the camera issues.
    Dougie
    And the difference between tracing from a photo and precisely reproducing a photo with measurements is...?

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    And the difference between tracing from a photo and precisely reproducing a photo with measurements is...?
    Difficulty and time. Amateurs value the first highly and the second little, professionals, the opposite.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Difficulty and time. Amateurs value the first highly and the second little, professionals, the opposite.

    I was just going to say something like this based off what my illustration teacher told me about using a projector to help me reach my deadlines with my Senior Project.

    Anything that helps you finish before the deadline (outside of copy and pasting) is fair game in the professional world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Difficulty and time. Amateurs value the first highly and the second little, professionals, the opposite.
    That is a great quote, which I am now going to use liberally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    That is a great quote, which I am now going to use liberally.
    I value both, so on the serious side: what does that make me?

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Difficulty and time. Amateurs value the first highly and the second little, professionals, the opposite.
    Pearls, people! He's casting pearls...

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    Suppose my only hope is to save some progress shots, lol.. I upped the contrast to hopefully show you the remains of the base line below the car. It's very vaguely visible but yeah, that's how I did it..



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    Aww.. sorry about my earlier comment. I thought you showed us the final drawing in the OP. This is something different. Ignore my comment

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    my answer to anyone saying i traced?
    go fuck yourself.
    end of story. and yes, that answer is standard. even to family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDirtSyndicate View Post
    my answer to anyone saying i traced?
    go fuck yourself.
    end of story. and yes, that answer is standard. even to family.
    Even your family in law?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDirtSyndicate View Post
    my answer to anyone saying i traced?
    go fuck yourself.
    end of story. and yes, that answer is standard. even to family.
    You know, you COULD show them a small demo, and compare your drawing to shit that is actually traced.. Also, I feel as if tracing is very much like cheating if you're trying to draw something realistically. It offers no satisfaction when you reach the end product, and to be realistic here: any idiot can trace a photo. If anyone is concerned, be like "I drew this.. Why would I trace it when that's something any of you could have done?"

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

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    Why does it matter what they think? It's my experience that if you make your art fearing what people think or say, you're bound to be disappointed. Make your art for you.

    Do your work your way, make use of honest, valuable critique, recognize compliments, and let the rest fall away.

    You'll do better work and live happier that way.

    Of course, I'm still trying to implement that for my own work, but hey, it's a goal, right?

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    Having just been over there...I think you did a great job with it - I was very impressed with how accurate you got it just based on the reference. I wouldn't worry about what anyone says...take it as a compliment and smile, "Yeah, I didn't trace it but I did a damn good job making it look like it, eh? Now please refer to DirtSyndicate for further comment."

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Having just been over there...I think you did a great job with it - I was very impressed with how accurate you got it just based on the reference. I wouldn't worry about what anyone says...take it as a compliment and smile, "Yeah, I didn't trace it but I did a damn good job making it look like it, eh? Now please refer to DirtSyndicate for further comment."
    Lol I suppose you're right. In the end I suppose what matters is that my bf understands the effort that went into the piece and he's seen me working on portraits first hand, so he'll know .

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