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Author Topic: Tracing EVERYTHING  (Read 5919 times)

patindaytona

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on: November 20, 2018, 01:34:34 PM
I just did a charcoal drawing and well....i ended up not looking at my photo reference at one particular point and got off track. The original shape of three main trees. Improvised till i am sick. I guess that is what they mean by "paint (draw) what you see, not what you THINK you see".   Sure, i evaluated the tones which is quite often about what you think you see because they do have to fit into the context of your drawing.  But it's the shapes that i was also way way off. Might post it eventually, just upset right now about it. Should have accepted and put it away many hours back.On tracing..............i was going to begin one of this old mission in California and it has two small figures walking in foreground, about 2 inches high.  I know it's been said by top artists, including Nolan and Dennis that it's ok to trace, but man, sometimes, like this one, is it really not going too far?  I would fuss forever i know it, trying to make these two minUte figures look correct, if i did NOT trace them first. But tracing every detail in a drawing?? ok??   I once drew a kitchen scene with John Lennon in it. Pots and pans hanging on walls, kitchen utensils all over.....traced. All i had to do was "fill them in" for the most part.
How do you guys FEELabout tracing ever detail?   Sure, tracing a scene that is like a landscape if fine because it's rough and you really ARE doing most all the work.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 01:48:13 PM by patindaytona »
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


Val

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Reply #1 on: November 22, 2018, 12:13:27 AM
My two pence.... when you trace anything it is just an outline, nothing more. Whether or not it will be a great drawing will depend on your knowledge of values and how you use them. Anyone can trace an outline, but not everyone has the wherewithal to work the values and shadings. That is what makes a drawing or painting great. Knowledge of values, and the talent to apply them. I know you have both, so begin.
Work slowly, take your time.
Cheers, Val

�Creativity is allowing yourselves to make mistakes. Work on knowing which ones to keep!�

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patindaytona

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Reply #2 on: November 22, 2018, 06:31:28 PM
Hi Val. I agree but like the drawing i mentioned above about all the utinsals in a kitchen, that is alot of important elements done with the aid of just tracing. So, it does depend on what you are tracing sometimes, the extent of it and it's always a matter of opinion. FACT: We can agree an apple is an apple when we see it. Opinion: Not every one may agree a rose is beautifulSo that is what it is. I suppose i will always feel a bit like i am cheating though. Because when you show a drawing to someone they do not know unless you say something, that it was traced to begin with. Part of what they see is the super accuracy of those outlines such as a face.  But I'm not going to let it change my mind and start free handing!  I'd be frustrated before i ever go to any shading! And it's about pleasing yourself, not about impressing others so much. Shouldn't depend too much on that.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


liz

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Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 07:23:28 PM
 :) Hi Pat!  Most of my art work is done free hand, but I’ll tell you when and why I found the benefits or value of tracing.


When I was learning how to draw dogs in the course with Nolan, I had to trace to understand the dog anatomy; I traced figures of my granddaughters doing their handstands when I painted the seascape of them playing on the beach, but like Val said, it was because I needed the outline to work from.  I had to figure out their skin tones and values and changed the colors of their swim suits to suit the picture. 


Then there was the Portofino painting.  There was no way that painting could have been done without tracing the drawing from a black and white print and transferring it to the canvas.  In fact it was the only painting I had color and black and white prints made beforehand as I followed the instructions from Nolan.  So for me, I will trace when it serves my purposes.  :clap:


patindaytona

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Reply #4 on: December 05, 2018, 01:28:28 AM
Hello Liz,Another thing is that if we are tracing things that need to be accurate, like your dog, it would take time to get it right. For me, it would add to the frustration because of the investment of time involved, added to the shading etc. down the line.
I'll always continue to trace, but it does bother me just a little bit. I do know that most artists' trace.....at least that's what i gather from the web.
Sure, if i were to do it all freehand, i COULD. But it would take some erasing and loose sketching to find the right contouring etc. So.........yes, i think we all could do it because it's easy to correct outlines for anybody.....not like once you're very deep into shading and all that.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


patindaytona

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Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 01:34:39 PM
Was just starting a new drawing and thinking about this post again.   I traced all of the wood grain patterns in it.
Was thinking of patterns such as a table cloth etc. Alot of man made things like that.  (Vermeer).    I know he supposedly traced his work too.   I know it i know it, but still can't help have the urge to admit to someone that i traced it first. I don't like taking alot of credit for something that was secretly done like that.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


RebecaM

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Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 07:36:28 PM
My thoughts on this topic include the fact that by tracing you won't learn anything about that subject, because you are only copying something, without taking into consideration it's structure or how it will look from different angles. The second main disadvantage I see about this is that it doesn't offer the artist that needed freedom, because basically is like a pattern which should be followed. Yes, this may speed up the process of creating a piece, but don't forget that every single work starts from a line. If the foundation isn't genuine, this will translate in the final stage, no matter how exquisite the shading is.
All paintings should have behind them a good understanding of drawing, otherwise it would be like a house with weak pillars.
My belief is that the artist must be authentic all the way, even if what we produce doesn't match our vision at a certain point. This may be frustrating, but frustration can be a good thing, because it signals that we are going through a learning curve. Sometimes the slope seems too steep to climb, but continue to draw (especially from nature) as often as possible and you will see that the line will become more confident, the horizon will broaden and tracing won't be needed anymore. And also, studies can be made for a specific theme before starting a painting. In fact, many of the old masters did that as part of their creation process.


patindaytona

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Reply #7 on: December 19, 2018, 08:01:36 PM
Hi Rebeca,You are a purist  :) I trace, and will continue to. But it doesn't mean that i feel good about it.  I know alot of famous artist did tracing and used mirrors etc.  I understand what you mean that it's a pattern to be followed.But really even if you use a grid which so many artist's have used, it's still going to end up the same.Cheating? Well, yes, it's a shortcut, but you end up the same if you eyeballed it and erased until it was all proportionally correct.   
I could eyeball say, the interior of a room with tables and mirrors on the wall etc, like Vermeer's.  I KNOW i would eventually get it all right that way. But it would take alot of time doing it. Starting with light sketch lines and erasing the wrong ones.  But if i just traced it, again...it's a shortcut.   No one knows if you spent time eyeballing or not. And really, they do not care.Some things like a forest scene don't even require tracing. Other things, like archeticture and patterns do.  I understand that THOSE type of things end up as being attractive parts of the end result and look impressive. Now THAT makes me feel a little bit guilty of cheating. So, it's a matter of degree, depending on the subject.I've done a kitchen scene once with all kinds of utensils on the wall etc.....all traced.   
It's a never ending debate.     
I'm at a point where i don't care much anymore, because no one sees my work, except on here.    That's another factor.
The moment you find yourself mostly satisfied with a painting and think you'll "just quickly" do this or that, that's the moment to stop completely. Take the painting off your easel and put it aside for at least 24 hours, then reassess whether it really needs that tweak.


RebecaM

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Reply #8 on: December 19, 2018, 10:42:35 PM
Yes, this will certainly be a never ending debate among those practicing painting  :)
The ideas I have expressed are in a general note, I'm not addressing anyone in particular. Maybe such a vision may seem dogmatic and pedant, but the real message behind it is that the process of creating a work is even more important than the final result, because the creation stage is where the artist can gain true power and understanding of the art. By following a shortcut quicker results will be obtained, but in the long run such an approach won't lead to much growth. Also, true knowledge of the form will create the ability to break the existing rules and transform what surrounds us, interpret it, thus making the difference between creation and imitation/mimesis. 
That others do not care about how the final result was obtained shouldn't be relevant to the artist, as this is a matter of self awareness.
The mirroring technique is quite useful, as it shows the painting from a different angle and so possible mistakes can be observed easier, but it doesn't have anything to do with tracing. Indeed, some famous artists, including Durer (who came up with this method) used a grid to speed up their process, but the main difference here is that by the time they made use of that method they had already mastered drawing. Also, architecture wouldn't require tracing if perspective rules are understood.
In the past I used tracing for some works, not having the patience to construct the form, erasing and then redrawing if things didn't go as planned from the beginning. I was happy that I was able to obtain a beautiful picture quicker and not have to bother so much with drawing it several times until I was getting it right. But soon I realized that was all....a beautiful but shallow picture. I didn't have a real understanding of my subject and if I wanted to draw it from a different position without a grid or any other aid it would have been almost impossible. That was my limit  and I wanted to break it in order to grow. Soon, I've also noticed just how beautiful and natural a freehand drawing is, with its uneven lines, marking moments of inner tension or focus. To me, this has a unique charm and reflects part of the artist's personality and true self, something a traced drawing will never possess.
Well, in the end it all depends on what standards and goals everyone of us has.
Pat, it's good that you opened this topic, constructive discussions can be generated from this subject.