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"Tracing doesn't teach you anything."
I read this a lot around dA. And you know what? I DON'T AGREE.
Tracing is actually just one of the first steps to drawing, it's a TOOL used by beginning artists—one that they will leave behind early on as their artistic skill and vision grows. It teaches two very important things: a bit of hand-eye-coordination, and, more importantly, it shows the LIMITS of tracing.
I'm not ashamed to say I was a tracer. When I was pretty young, my mom had given me a book on Disney cartoon characters, and I traced Donald and Mickey. I traced them over and over, until it was BORING. I wanted the characters to be facing different directions, and doing different things. I wanted a new angle or expression. But to have any of that, I had to draw without tracing.
It was a big step, and I could've easily continued on my tracing ways—but you know what? That's not what anyone who has an interest in drawing DOES. Because as long as they have a modicum of creativity, an artist is going to want to try and get something on paper that isn't quite the same as what they're tracing. They will have an idea, and they will need to challenge themselves to make it come to fruition.

The other thing I see a lot around dA is this weird sort of half-defensive response to using references.
References are another tool—hopefully one that will eventually be left behind to some degree, but it's a tool that's actually a lot more useful and forgivable than tracing. The only thing can cripple an artist into thinking they can't draw WITHOUT reference.
The years after I got out of tracing saw me using a lot of other artists' work as reference material. Generally in the form of Pokémon. I had an old Disney Adventures mag with the first era of Pokémon, each picture about the size of a dime, maybe. (They were reeeeaaally small.) And I'd draw the  Pokémon in the exact pose I saw them in. As near as I could make it, anyway. And I discovered even having a reference didn't magically make my art any better. It was just giving me guidelines. Which is actually a lot more than I had for my early Sailormoon art...That stuff was all drawn without reference, just as best as my pre-teen mind could recall, since I was creating my own comic “pages” and making up my own versions of Negaverse monsters.

The big leap in my art came in my 13th year when I discovered the graphic novel Tellos, and fell in love with Mike Wieringo's art. I started drawing comic panels from the comic, trying to copy the lines exactly as I saw them. I didn't always do a great job, but after finishing a few pictures, it made me want to draw my OWN characters in a similar style. Which is what I attempted. And I found myself limited by references, since they didn't show the angles or expressions I needed to tell MY stories. So I had to figure them out myself.

And throughout my teenage years, I'd rely heavily on references—usually another artist's drawings.
But not all the time...anyone going through some of the older years in my gallery may note a certain comic attempt I drew, about a certain “Nature Guide”, and that was an exercise in challenging myself. I started learning about “building” characters from scratch.
But that wasn't a concept I'd put into practice until much later. Like, just a couple years ago, really.
I always thought: “pfffft! Using SHAPES to 'build' characters?? I'll never be able to do THAT!”
But the fact of the matter is...Anyone with any sort of interest in drawing will never stop improving.
And it doesn't matter if they learn at different speeds, or draw in different ways.
Every artist will eventually have some sort of story they'll want to tell with their art—I'm not just talking comic pages, here, I mean they'll want a drawing to evoke something. Some sort of emotion. And they will HAVE to move beyond tracing and using references.

But there's nothing “evil” or inherently “wrong” about either of those two things. (Well, I mean, unless you're making money off of someone else's hard work. But copyright gets tricky, and you won't usually be taken to court over it, BUT you may well be looked down upon and despised by your artistic peers.)

I encourage all artists to consider photo references for tricky angles, lighting, or expressions.
But the problem with a photo reference is that it's hard to know how to “cartoonify” them for the beginning artist that has no interest in drawing “realism”. The other problem is following too closely to a reference and losing your own artistic input. You may not like the length of a well-proportioned arm or leg, even when you drew it to specifics. It may look unappealing to you even though it's technically “correct”. What you have to do there is use the animator's best friends: stretch and squeeze. Just because a “well” proportioned character is supposed to be 8 heads tall, doesn't mean it'll look right to YOU. Your own creative style may require you to exaggerate some things, and downplay others.
Keeping that personal touch in mind can be hard to remember when you're working from a reference.

I'm actually too damn' lazy to use photo references.
Or, really, ANY reference these days.
I'll let my art be influenced by other artists' styles—I really can't help THAT, it's just something that will creep in no matter what. But if I need a tricky hand or pose referenced, I'll probably just grab my camera and use myself, or sketch stick-figures.

1) Tracing isn't evil. It's tool. One you'd better move beyond, but one which can help in those early, formative drawing years.
2) References aren't evil either. They're a tool that professional artists will probably use through their lifetime.
3) Being influenced by another artist's work isn't evil. You like the way a certain artist draws eyes or noses and want to try and mimic it because it looks aesthetically pleasing to you? Go ahead. Some artists will find it flattering, some will feel you're “stealing” but a style is really hard to copyright. And you'll probably change throughout the years. You better hope you do! That's the way it goes with anything...

Another couple things to leave you with...:
Google Rob Liefeld. Click the 40 Worst Liefeld Drawings. It should be pretty high on the Googled list. And think on this: that man is a horribly lazy artist, and claims to have learned about how to draw anatomy. AND HE MADE, AND CONTINUES TO MAKE, MONEY FOR HIS ART.
(He's really quite wretched. Though you ought to read his comics out loud, trying to keep in tone with his most common expressions. Which seems to be constipation, judging by how much his characters appear to be straining as they grimace grotesquely.)
Let that be proof that, no matter how mediocre your art, there IS hope for you.
If Rob Liefeld could make money as a professional artist, then anyone can.

The other thing is this...if you have the chance to buy, or look through any of Andrew Loomis' books, then by all means, do so. Especially his Figure Drawing for All It's Worth, and Fun With a Pencil. He was a man who clearly loved drawing, and loved to share that joy with others.

And if you find it difficult to “build” characters from the ground up (or the head down, as the case may be), don't worry. You'll get there eventually. Using multi-colored pencils can also help. Prismacolor has some nice choices for their Col-Erase series (generally blue, or red) and using them in tandem with a regular pencil is more beneficial than you might think. Especially if you have Photoshop, as it removes the colored pencil lines better than the GIMP can.
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wr515 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
thank you for the lama
3Fangs Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
No problemo--thank YOU for the favs! :thanks:
(Normally I'm the fav-er; it was rather surprising to have the tables turned.) :lol:
wr515 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
You're very welcome, I to spend a lot of my time adding the many great works of others to my many faviorte galleries too.

However unlike like you, I am not a skilled artist, I've written a few fanfictions, i've recently my own add colours to my recent request.

but really other than that all the good stuff in my gallery is the Time and hard work of other mucs more better skilled people that I simply either pay or if I'm lucky just ask do draw for me, and therefore is the stuff most likely to get added to favourites

but anyway it was a pleasure to turn the tables

I hope you have a nice day hope to see you again soon!
3Fangs Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014
That's one of the great things about dA--it's never just about a person's drawing ability! I've read numerous complaints about the quality of "community" around here, but I never understood people avoiding deviantArt for the sake of a few bad eggs. I've run into so many cool people, whether they be creators or not, I think in the long run it balances out any jerks. And I hate to see people complaining about those deviants who mostly fav work, as if they're somehow less important than the people making art. My older brother, who, sadly, is no longer an active member here, can't draw worth beans, but the comments he'd leave were appreciated for the thought and time put into them. And I still find it hugely irksome to have dA add the "don't forget to leave a message!" thingy pop up after fav-ing something. I can't understand how people are so adamant about hating to get favs without comments. A fav IS a comment. A way of saying "hey, I think this piece of art is cool" without words. (A lot of people have a hard time coming up with words to express the enjoyment they get out of a certain piece of art, or they figure "why bother?" because many artists don't have time to respond in the first place.) There was an artist I was following who kept asking for comments rather than favs, but I don't think I ever saw her respond to more than a handful...

Ugh, and don't get me started on the people who complain about receiving thank yous.
"Please don't leave thanks on my profile page, I'll only hide them." :wtf:
As if being polite is a crime. :XD:
(I was brought up to say please and thank you. And you're welcome.) :giggle:
Ahhhh, dA. It's crazy here, but I love it.

Sorry for the mini-rant, I forget how much I miss leaving comments and interacting with other people. :la:
DeviantArt is home to creators and appreciators alike.

And don't be too quick to dismiss your own importance in the grand scheme of things...
By commissioning other deviants, you're playing a crucial role in supporting an artist. That's an admirable quality right there.
Plus there can never be too many writers or colorists! :D
As one who draws, in the past I've found it a little easier to have a bit of "direction" in my artistic endeavors. I primarily drew for my brother, since he can't. I like working with him, since his sense of humor matches my own and he's already corrupted my mind to think along similar lines to his. Although...well, I don't really draw much these days. (Still trying to get over a long artblock that left me wiped out.) But I hope to make a strong come-back and work with him on comics again!
...Considering he has something like 14 or 15 issues written of a comic he's been working on since 2011. *writhes in guilt for lack of art*

But I'm just making this comment into a wall of text here--sorry 'bout that! ^^;

Again, you have my thanks, and hope that you have a good day as well!
(1 Reply)
leazonz Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your art is so awesome!
3Fangs Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
Aw, shucks, you're too kind. :blush:
Thank you so very much! :hug:
leazonz Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem!
Chisaku Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gosh, thank you so much for all the lovely comments and faves! ;______; I don't know how I'll reply to all of them, I'll try to - but thank you so much, I appreciate it a lot! :dummy: :la:
3Fangs Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
Aww, you're so welcome! :woohoo:
I had a really great time going through your gallery--I believe there's more I want to comment on, but getting that big chunk out of the way sure felt good.
You've got some awesome art and it was about time I got around to telling you so!
And don't worry about replying to every single thing, after all, commenting shouldn't be too much work! =p
(And I have a bad habit of turning it into that by leaving a spam-load of comments--seriously, after a raid like that, dA doesn't let me submit anymore comments because it thinks I'm a bot. I don't know what the official "limit" is, but it's not the first time I've reached it...) :XD:
I just wanted to let you know I like what you're doing and hope you keep doing it! :dummy:
Chisaku Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
D'aww, hearing this is so nice! Thank you! ;____________________;
I didn't know there was a limit to commenting - how peculiar! :XD:
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