You have been trying to practice drawing portraits for some time now. How much ever you try, you don’t get accurate drawings. Every facial feature is in its place, but your final result does not match your reference picture. You googled for a solution, and it was to do tracing art.
While tracing art can be a valuable tool for beginners, it’s important to note that the resulting drawing is not original. It’s best to use tracing to learn about the lines, curves, shapes, proportions, perspective, space, and composition of an image and then try to create something completely original on your own. Use it as a springboard to jumpstart your art practice.
Tracing a picture can give you an accurate position, angle, and size of the features resulting in the exact photograph replication in terms of outline. Still, you start wondering is this good for you for a long time.
Table of Contents
What is Tracing a Picture?
Tracing a picture is the process of selectively drawing over the lines of the original image with a pencil or other materials and making a light copy of it on the new piece of paper or canvas.
Tracing is mainly used as the preliminary step in creating a detailed drawing or painting.
It can help the artist get the proportions and overall image layout perfect before adding their details and embellishments.
In the tracing process, the beginner need not worry about making mistakes or getting the perfect image right at the start; it can all work out subsequently.
For beginners, it is a perfect technique to start with.
Is Tracing Art Good for Beginners?
This is a debatable topic, and before going deep into the merits and demerits of the question, let us understand the expectations of a beginner.
A beginner’s mindset is that he wants to draw perfectly like others. But he lacks the desired skill. His drawings are bad when he creates a picture, which establishes a demotivation or art block in a beginner’s mind.
When a beginner uses techniques like Tracing or the Grid method, he gains confidence, motivating him to draw more.
He can use tracing as an initial tool for his study and building basic skills, but slowly, he also needs to develop other art skills.
Let us also understand the merits and demerits of the question and conclude.
Benefits of Tracing Art for Beginners (5 Merits)
1. By overdrawing on the lines of an existing picture, a beginner can learn how to control their pencil and produce smoother, more consistent, and confident lines.
2. Tracing can help amateur artists to improve their sense of proportion and accuracy. Tracing can help you understand the basic shapes and forms used in art.
3. Tracing can help beginners develop their drawing skills and improve accuracy.
4. Tracing allows artists to understand how things look from different angles, breaking down concepts that might otherwise seem daunting or confusing.
5. Tracing can also be a helpful tool for artists struggling with art blocks or trying to break out of their comfort zone.
By breaking the image down into smaller sections, one can gradually build up their confidence and skills until they can complete the drawing without any reference points.
Demerits of Tracing Art for Beginners (5 Demerits)
1. There is a perception that it is a dishonest practice. Many people see tracing as a shortcut that allows them to skip the tedious learning to draw by hand.
2. Tracing art delimits creativity and reduces originality, and creates an unrealistic level of expectation for perfection.
3. Tracing art can severely limit the visibility of the underlying picture preventing an amateur from getting an accurate sense of how their artwork is turning out.
4. Tracing a drawing makes a beginner see images only from a two-dimensional perspective; he does not learn space, distance, and depth which is very important for an artist.
5. The beginner artist often becomes too comfortable with tracing and finds it challenging to come out with it to improve his artistic skill.
Although tracing can be a helpful tool for some artists, it should always be approached with caution to get the most out of one’s artistic endeavors.
Tracing art is seen as cheating by some and others as a perfectly acceptable way to learn the basics of drawing.
Many people argue that tracing art is an easy way to produce decent-looking drawings without putting in the hard work required to create original art.
However, tracing art can also be seen as a way to learn basic drawing skills before moving on to more complex projects. In addition, tracing can be used to create original artwork, as it allows artists to combine elements from multiple sources to create unique pieces.
It also removes art blocks for a beginner and gives motivation.
Ultimately, whether or not tracing art is suitable for beginner artists is a personal opinion. Some people believe that it is a helpful tool that should be used in moderation, while others believe it is a form of cheating that produces inferior results.
As with any other technique, tracing should be used in moderation; too much reliance on tracing can stagnate your artistic development.
However, tracing can be a valuable tool for beginner artists and professional artists when used thoughtfully.
Do Professional Artists use Tracing Technique?
Professional artists use the tracing technique to help with accuracy and symmetry. By projecting the image onto a drawing surface and then tracing it, artists can achieve a level of precision that would be difficult to attain otherwise.
Additionally, tracing can help artists achieve accurate outlines, proportions, and shapes, resulting in a sense of balance and harmony.
Finally, using the tracing technique can be an excellent way to help inspiration flow more easily. Many artists like to sketch out an image and then trace it as they develop their ideas further.
Although there are a few potential drawbacks to using this technique, such as the lack of spontaneity in work or difficulties working with large-scale images, most professional artists would agree that it is a valuable tool in their drawing process.
Does Tracing Help you Learn Art?
Some professional artists throughout history have used tracing as a method of drawing, while others have created entirely original work. Whether or not tracing helps an artist improve their skills depends on many factors, including the current skill level they are starting with, the method of tracing they use, and the drawing they are trying to create.
Some people argue that tracing can help improve an artist’s skill level by providing a way to study and learn from a piece of art.
Tracing can also be used to create new artwork, either by using the original image as a reference or by creating a blank sheet of paper that is the same size and shape as the original artwork.
There are also several different methods of tracing, each of which can have an impact on learning abilities. Air tracing is one method where an artist uses a light source to trace over an image on a piece of paper, but this does not always produce a real original copy.
Other tracing methods, such as grayscale tracing or retrograde tracing, use different techniques to trace over an original image while preserving more detail and accuracy in the final product.
Ultimately, it is up to each artist to decide whether or not they feel that tracing helps them learn art, and many different factors can influence this decision.
Is Tracing Cheating?
Some people believe that tracing is cheating, as it does not require the same skill and creativity needed to create artwork from scratch.
However, tracing has been used for centuries by artists of all skill levels and is a helpful tool for those learning how to draw or paint.
Tracing is not inherently wrong and can even be considered a drawing exercise. It can help you learn about proportion, line quality, and other aspects of drawing.
However, it is important to be aware of the potential copyright questions and issues from tracing someone else’s work. It is necessary to be aware of the possible consequences of artistic plagiarism if you decide to do so.
There can also be legal implications for artists who choose to trace the work of others without giving credit.
Despite these potential criticisms, many artists view tracing as a legitimate form of art in its own right.
Although tracing has been seen as a way of cheating by some, the truth is that it can be a valuable tool for beginners and professionals alike.
By understanding the basics of tracing and doing it correctly, you can use this technique to improve your art skills and create beautiful and unique pieces.
So don’t be afraid to give tracing a try; you’ll be surprised at just how helpful it is if you are a beginner.
Ready to get started?
Pick up a drawing paper and a pencil (or an art pen) and start tracing right away!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Trace as a Beginner?
Practicing drawing from life or reference material is essential to develop one’s style and techniques. Tracing can be a valuable tool for beginners, as it teaches fundamentals such as proportion, perspective, and line quality. However, reliance on tracing should be avoided if one wants to become a skilled artist.
Can you Practice Drawing by Tracing?
Tracing can be a great way for amateurs to learn fundamentals such as proper proportions, perspective, and line quality. Yet it should only be used in small doses since constantly tracing the same images will only provide enough practice needed to become an expert artist. To develop your style and techniques, you need to draw from real-life or reference material; this will give you more experience than just drawing over traced drawings.
Is Tracing Art Theft?
Contrary to popular belief, tracing does not equate with art theft. It can be a beneficial practice for those new to drawing and assist them in learning the basics of proportion, perspective, and line quality. Yet it should only be used occasionally alongside other more organic methods such as drawing from life or reference material so one can genuinely cultivate their unique style of artwork.
Can you Get Sued for Tracing?
Although tracing does not constitute art theft and is thus risk-free, it’s essential to attribute the artist whose work you reference. More reliance on this process can stunt your creative growth as an artist and prevent you from reaching greater heights in your craft. So remember, trace with caution.
Is Tracing a Skill?
Tracing is an invaluable skill for artists, as it teaches the essential fundamentals of proportion and perspective. Tracing enables the artist to quickly create a piece that conveys what they desire in composition. Nonetheless, relying solely on this technique will restrict their ability to develop creatively; therefore, they must learn how to draw from life.
How Easy is it to Trace a Picture?
Creating perfect replicas of images, even the most intricate ones, can be done with ease and poise; all it requires is patience and quality supplies. When tracing a picture that contains small details or intricacies, take your time to make sure each line follows the original carefully to achieve desired results. With diligence and top-notch materials, you’re guaranteed exceptional outcomes from any cloned artwork project.