So I overheard my classmates talking...
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    So I overheard my classmates talking...

    Thought I'd share what happened today.

    This dude who likes to make art heard me saying to my friend that tracing is not a good thing to be doing (because my friend was lazy and started tracing), the dude that overheard said "it's not like anyone notices when you trace anything.".

    That right there, made me lose respect for his art. (which I now know he traced a lot of what he's done)

    Last edited by LukasA; May 24th, 2012 at 07:20 PM.
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    I seriously keep dreaming I'm back in school. I miss it.
    Everything was so simple back then.

    Remember though, it's lose, not loose. Sorry, that's just
    a pet hate of mine.

    And the dude is wrong. Everyone notices these days. He's
    an idiot, so who gives a shit what he thinks or says.

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    It's his loss if he traces his work. Just forget about that guy and make your own art.

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    Didn't we just have this discussion. Tracing is and has been done by pros forever and will continue to be done as long as it saves time and makes money.

    Everyone has the responsibility to draw their own ethical lines just don't draw them for others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    I seriously keep dreaming I'm back in school. I miss it.
    Everything was so simple back then.

    Remember though, it's lose, not loose. Sorry, that's just
    a pet hate of mine.

    And the dude is wrong. Everyone notices these days. He's
    an idiot, so who gives a shit what he thinks or says.
    Oops, sorry.

    Didn't we just have this discussion. Tracing is and has been done by pros forever and will continue to be done as long as it saves time and makes money.

    Everyone has the responsibility to draw their own ethical lines just don't draw them for others.
    I don't check the art discussion pages very often, what situations do professionals trace work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LukasA View Post
    Oops, sorry.


    I don't check the art discussion pages very often, what situations do professionals trace work?
    Yes, Bill is right of course. My post sounds like it was dismissing tracing
    entirely but it is a technique like any other. Tracing has been a part of the comic
    book industry for ages as well as big time oil painters/illustrators. But
    its become the norm on some popular online art sites to trace
    other established pictures or scenes and simply recolour them before
    calling them your own.

    Boris Vallejo traces photos for example and then puts them all together
    on the image. The key point is, he traces them from situations, people and
    models that he himself organized, posed and clothed and then adds his own
    element and style to those images to incorporate them into a fantasy piece.

    It's been said here before, but you cannot trace effectively unless you
    actually know how to illustrate forms in the first place. Someone who
    lacks an understanding of illustration basics will render a flawed image,
    even when traced.

    Recently there was a discussion regarding a major Marvel artist
    who straight up traced an image that seemed to come from a quick
    google search. There's some interesting insights and opinions there
    you should maybe check out:

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=237585

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Boris Vallejo traces photos for example and then puts them all together
    on the image. The key point is, he traces them from situations, people and
    models that he himself organized, posed and clothed and then adds his own
    element and style to those images to incorporate them into a fantasy piece.
    And he's still not very good at doing it. His poses routinely look contrived and stiff, and the eyes of his characters tend to wander. That's the danger of pasting photos together, rather than posing real models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    And he's still not very good at doing it. His poses routinely look contrived and stiff, and the eyes of his characters tend to wander. That's the danger of pasting photos together, rather than posing real models.
    I -knew- when I mentioned Boris I would be instigating a reply from you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    And he's still not very good at doing it. His poses routinely look contrived and stiff, and the eyes of his characters tend to wander. That's the danger of pasting photos together, rather than posing real models.
    I just don't get this kind of criticism. He's built a career that most of us would give an arm for. I've never been a huge fan of his work but I am of what he has accomplished. He found a niche in which his particular kind of painting fit.

    There seems to be a sense here that there is one kind of good and it is the most naturalistic that everyone aspires to. Maybe Boris is not the best example of an artist who pieces together scrap to get a "naturalistic" finished piece but there are others who have.

    I guess I just don't understand the need to jump in and criticize accomplished artists from the safety of our keyboards even if we, against proven success, think it's true.

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    Greg Manchess is a big public supporter of tracing.

    Tracing is not the devil, people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    Tracing is not the devil, people.
    I think the main reason it's seen as evil is because of the large number of people who trace other people's art and then claim it as their own original work... (especially among kids/amateurs/DA doofuses looking for attention...)

    Of course that's not so much a tracing issue as a plagiarism issue. Obviously that sort of thing would be plagiarism whether it was traced or drawn freehand. But it happens so often that people start to associate any kind of tracing with plagiarism or a vague idea of "cheating".

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    "Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up."
    –Wally Wood
    Of course, to pull that off, it really, really helps if you can draw like WALLY F***ING WOOD.
    (Fifty bucks says that neither the OP or his idjit schoolmate have ever heard of Wally Wood. Google is your friend, kiddies.)


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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    I guess I just don't understand the need to jump in and criticize accomplished artists from the safety of our keyboards even if we, against proven success, think it's true.
    What about learning from what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong, and how that affects their success, artistic and commercial?

    Being a commercial success doesn't make an artist immune from critique. There had been wildly successful artists who were good and other wildly successful artists who were crap. Then there were successful artists who were just good enough, ones whose limitations fit the current vogue just right, ones who appealed to the commonest denominator kitsch, ones who insisted on a niche, ones who were bad but endeared a solid following of well-off fans, ones who imitated better artists but enjoyed more success than the originals, ones who were lampooning the art scene but ended up celebrated by it... I could go on and on.

    The point is, having a career in art does not make anyone an unimpeachable icon, which is the gist I am getting from your post and which I disagree with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    I think the main reason it's seen as evil is because of the large number of people who trace other people's art and then claim it as their own original work... (especially among kids/amateurs/DA doofuses looking for attention...)
    My pet peeve with tracing is not petty plagiarism like that. It's that a lot of artists who trace seem to shut down their brains when they do. They stop being aware of the picture and just copy the pattern, and the result is typically atrocious because even when you trace something, you must not stop *drawing* or you'll end up copying random stuff and not notice the important things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    What about learning from what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong, and how that affects their success, artistic and commercial?

    Being a commercial success doesn't make an artist immune from critique. There had been wildly successful artists who were good and other wildly successful artists who were crap. Then there were successful artists who were just good enough, ones whose limitations fit the current vogue just right, ones who appealed to the commonest denominator kitsch, ones who insisted on a niche, ones who were bad but endeared a solid following of well-off fans, ones who imitated better artists but enjoyed more success than the originals, ones who were lampooning the art scene but ended up celebrated by it... I could go on and on.

    The point is, having a career in art does not make anyone an unimpeachable icon, which is the gist I am getting from your post and which I disagree with.
    But what makes you right about what he is doing right or wrong? Plus what about blurting out a criticism (I have mentioned that I believe there is a difference between criticism and critique) is in any way learning?

    My point is not that people who have reached a certain level are not beyond critique but that those who criticize, particularly because of the anonymity of the internet, often don't understand what the artist is doing. Without the benefit of artist input I do believe that there are icons who deserve at least consideration beyond "his figures are stiff and eyes wonky" (paraphrased).

    Of course the internet gives us the right to sit comfortably at our keyboards and write anything we want. But something important we have lost are interpersonal skills. Maybe if we adopt the, how would I frame this critique or form a question if so an so artist were here we might avoid knee jerk criticisms.

    In fact a discussion about this just happened at Muddy Colors with Petar Meseldzija. Learning from someone's work is a great tool but maybe we need to learn how to learn from it and not just criticize it.

    Sorry didn't mean to pontificate.

    Last edited by bcarman; May 26th, 2012 at 09:05 PM.
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    The most important questions are: "does it look good?", "did the artist violate anyone else's rights?" and "does the artist lie about their process?" If the answers are yes, no and no, then there's no problem.

    Really, the problems with tracing can be boiled down to that. People use it when they shouldn't and the results look stiff, people use it to duplicate things they have no business duplicating, or they lie about it to make themselves look more impressive.

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    Da vinci use to place a piece of glass on his easel and trace landscapes that were in front of him. He did this to study perspective. I have not traced since I was a kid copying cartoon characters. I have a lot more fun drawing from observation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    The most important questions are: "does it look good?", "did the artist violate anyone else's rights?" and "does the artist lie about their process?" If the answers are yes, no and no, then there's no problem.

    Really, the problems with tracing can be boiled down to that. People use it when they shouldn't and the results look stiff, people use it to duplicate things they have no business duplicating, or they lie about it to make themselves look more impressive.
    I think that says it all. For me though the ends justify the means. What's really more important the method or the product? Think of the Camera Obscura, this was tracing. A good artist produces a good image no matter what. I remember talking to one of my favorite teachers about Rembrandt, he said that he would spit on the canvas if that's what he thought he had to do.

    For those without vision tracing isn't going to make much difference anyhow.

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    Let's pretend computers haven't been invented. I've painted a landscape in acrylics, then I decide to add characters for drama. Maybe it's a whim, or maybe the idea has always been there. The landscape has been painted from life. The characters will be done from imagination.

    Wouldn't it save a lot of time to work out the characters and their placings on tracing paper, then scrub the back of the paper and transfer the drawing to the canvas? Tracing can be a tool to save time and mistakes; it really depends on why you do it.

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