Screencap taken from video referenced below.
There’s been some controversy going around about tracing vs referencing and it gave me pause for thought. And, of course, after some time, I thought it would be an interesting topic to talk about for this week.
In comics, particularly when it comes to backgrounds or things I haven’t drawn before, I use references a lot. Referencing allows me to understand how a particular scene, plant, background, car and/or animal is constructed. My main objective is to get it right.
Recently I have been drawing cats and as much as I love them, I am not that great when it comes to their anatomy. This is when I will pull a real life reference. The comic panel was created using this image as a reference so that I could get all the parts in the right place. I think that this is ok. In fact I encourage using references like this because not only does it save you time, you are studying how something is put together and, in time, you will develop skills to help you draw without needing them as often.
So when does it become tracing?
When doing research on the topic, I came across this video which succinctly demonstrates what crosses the line from referencing to tracing. Nawnii, the video’s creator, explains that tracing is when you go over the drawing, almost line-for-line, taking on the artist’s style rather than creating a framework you can build upon. It becomes even more egregious when the tracer claims credit for said artwork.
At the end of the day, tracing isn’t inherently wrong when it is done for the sake of a study. But when that work is placed online and credit is claimed, in my opinion, that is where they’ve crossed the threshold.
What are your thoughts on tracing? Do you think people should trace at all? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Nov. 15, 2019
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