I would have to say that tracing is an extremely appropriate way of drawing, especially for beginners. Not only does it produce beautiful work (sometimes) but it gives newbies an idea of composition, consistent strokes, and spacial relationship.
When I first started drawing I did nothing but trace, and believe it or not it takes more skill that one might think. It's a great way to learn.
Very cool sketch. And I've not heard that quote either, but I can see that being the case. As stated before it is a great method for learning how to draw, but as the above sketch shows, it can merely be used as a method for creativity and understanding content.
Tracing is a very broad term.
The article is actually interesting, the person who wrote it seems to be using tracing, in fact to better himself, not just to end up with a perfect photo-realistic picture, traced from a photo.
I use "tracing" sometimes to get a stance of a reference photo right. I just use thick lines over the body to pinpoint where the feet are, the point of balance and such. I wonder if you can really call it tracing since I don't actually follow any lines of the original photo.
But in the end, I don't like tracing, I'm much happier with myself if I am drawing from a photo for example and manage to get it right all by myself.
If you think tracing can help you, do use it, just don't rely on it, and don't get used to it. Drawing with your own hands is much more powerful.
Also, if you trace, do make sure that the photos are taken by you or bought. It's really sad when people trace from copyrighted images and act as if they own it, just because they traced it. (usually extreme tracers here, that go with every little detail) Same with reference photos, it's usually better to have your own stock.
Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?
"Three's so little room for error."--Elwell
Learning is one thing and using it in methods after you have your skill level up is another. Like Velocity Kendall mentions he uses it in car design. It almost sounds like Loomis is talking along the same lines? I never gave tracing much thought, but it makes perfect sense when you have a job like designing cars. Thanks for sharing that, Velocity!
I just got back from vacation so I just managed to catch all of your replies. So many good points you guys make. It's definately given me a new view on tracing.
I've thanked everyone whose post I thought was really on topic and made a good point.