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Fan-art question...

This isn't a 'beware' but it's a simple question.  I have an understanding that tracing is a horrible, horrible thing in the fandom.  It's a huge no-no.  Yet, I constantly see the same type of images of Simba, Nala, Balto, whatever disney-esk type art all the time.  Either in the same poses from the movies with nothing modified but a few features (such as fur color, hair, etc) and there are some that do completely different things, yet it's easy to tell it's based off of [enter diseny-esk movie title].

Now, I'm a new artist.  Learning how to properly draw and I know how I want my work to look like.  However, I don't learn very well without having the ability to follow the lines for something very easilly.  For example, a muzzle on a fox or an eye for a feline.  If I draw it a few times from a base image, it's put into my 'style' and I can produce a pretty good image by piecing together different things I've learned.

Yet, the moment I create something that even remotely looks like fan-art of lets say Balto or Fox and the Hound (where I have been practicing weeks on coloring book images over and over).  I produce an image and BAM!  it's titled as traced... yet, no one has shown proof that it's traced and frankly, it's disappointing to see that the work you put into something only to be told you are a thief just because it follows the same style of a movie. 

HOWEVER!  I see Mew-two, sonic, tails, lion king, whatever fan art out there transformed into personal pictures, direct copies that are edited to follow their character's look or personality.  And a lot of times these art pieces are never deemed as 'copying' or 'thieving'

If I wanted to trace and claim something of my own, the line art would look a hell of a lot better using illistrator or pen tool in whatever art program. 

what do I do?

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
If you use references then link to the reference in the description and people won't be able to say anything. The biggest thing is when people use references and then don't cite them and get called out on it. Even if the references aren't in the same pose, if you used them post them and show people you're using references for the style not just tracing an image.

I highly suggest using real animal photos and develop your own style though, it would beat the hell out of just rehashed Disney styles. That and real photos are more accurate than another artists recreation of the animal and you can learn anatomy and such better using photos for reference over other artwork(make sure you cite those reference as well though).

I report sonic tracers when I see them so no, they are not ignored.
May. 14th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
i told a girl that a few years ago. she got mad and framed me for stealing her drawings and selling the prints. (she also would claim pre-printed scratch art drawings as her own creation) ahh. well she was 16ish or so at the time, maybe 18.
May. 14th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Ah, such is the furry community though... I've seen people have multiple images as proof (from real life photographs) and someone still claims it was theft because it was the same pose... then the person endures harassment from all sides.

I've noticed when one person points a finger, 20 do. No matter if proof exists or not...
May. 13th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Referencing an image and then linking to it is fine. The idiots who trace/copy/lift/whatever are just... well, idiots.

I still do not see how tracing helps people to learn; I suppose my learning style was just drastically different. I find that referencing is more effective, because then you don't end up making a cheap mimic of those Disney styles.
(Deleted comment)
May. 13th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Precisely. 8D
May. 15th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to explain it. Not everyone is gifted enough to learn by theory or can just look at something and go "yeah that's how you do it." Some people learn better by feeling. I'm not condoning tracing, but it is sometimes necessary to get a "feel" for how a line is drawn or how an image is constructed. In teaching myself to draw, I often would grab an uncleaned sketch and try to figure out how it was made. I would do this by putting a clean sheet of paper on top of it and then attempting to get a feel for the strokes. That being said, I would never post such practices to a public place, though. And if I was going to make an original piece, I certainly would do it freehand.
May. 13th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to second the suggestion to use photos of animals as references. When you copy/reference another artist's work, you are essentially learning the same mistakes they made. Once you learn the anatomy and such from photos, then you can move towards cartoons. Because then you will have a much stronger background and knowledge on the anatomy and structure of what you are drawing.
May. 13th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Tracing is... well I don't think it's *horrible*, I just don't see why people are proud enough of something they traced to bother putting it online. I also don't think actual tracing is valuable practice at all. Eyeballing and attempting to copy something via looking at it can yield a few insights, but tracing? Maybe improves your hand-eye coordination... that's about it.

Referencing photographs is a separate issue. Usually as long as you site anything you referenced heavily, provide a link, you're golden. And don't try to sell stuff that used a (non public domain) reference to the point where it could be considered a derivative work.

Do what makes you happy. I, personally, am not fond of Disney and only enjoy fanart if the artist puts some original interpretation on the character (like, makes it in a different style).
May. 13th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Drawing 101
Ignore cartoons and the fandom, any fandom. Find an art gallery(like a state or university one), or a college/uni and ask if they teach beginner drawing classes in figures, landscape, etc. Sign up. Then hit the zoo/wildlife park and do gestures of ACTUAL animals before falling back on photos. Draw your pets. Work from the inside out, not from the outside in.

May. 13th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101

If no one else had said it, I was going to.
May. 13th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101

And if you must draw fandom stuff, and must use reference, just state in your description what the reference was. Then nobody can call you on it because you were honest. There's nothing to call you on.
May. 13th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
I think this really depends on what you are referencing. Someone else's art? Sure. Multiple reference photographs? No need to.
May. 13th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
I'd never use someone else's art unless it's for a type of eye or ear or something. Disney is a more public used thing to learn from. The main reason I like it, is due to the expressions that are used.
May. 13th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
I was referring more to using a master artist, such as Rembrandt. Or hell, even Frazetta. If you want to learn how to draw properly, you really have to basically run screaming from Disney right now and focus on fundamentals.
May. 13th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
I agree with this as well!
May. 13th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
This 100%.
May. 13th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
This, 100%.
May. 13th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Drawing 101
May. 13th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
No matter what you do, somebody out there will tell you you're doing it all wrong. So if your goal is to avoid getting negative comments on your art, there's really no escape.

Now if your goal is to have better artwork, well, some good advice has already been given, I don't know that I could add much to it.
May. 13th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
if you want to learn to draw things "properly" i'd suggest going to the source and not a second hand copy of it. i.e. draw lots of sketches of animals from life and photos or what have you, exaggeration and stylization comes much more naturally after that. learning how to draw or mimic bits and pieces of another artists depictions of something will just lead to lots of static and derivative looking imagery. the problem with people comparing your work to balto and disney can be resolved, as many people have said already, by doing life studies.
May. 13th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)

Under their tutorials section, look at the tutorial marked "gesture drawing"

There's no better way to learn to draw animals. Life is better, but photographs can work. Zoos, dogparks, bus-stops where people often walk their dogs by, a friends cat, etc will work. I also improved my dog faces by using coyote and fox skulls to work from. Necromancy.com is a good place to look for skulls, as well as ebay.

I'm still learning too, but I can say that these tools have helped me be able to draw an animal in any pose, rather than just from referencing from photos.
May. 19th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
gesture drawing is definitely a huge help. But if the OP can spare 12 bucks, I'd recommend Joe Weatherly's "The weatherly guide to drawing animals" over Blotch's work :| Kenket colours nice, but BlackTeagan has countless anatomy errors and those gestures are still stiff, and off as far as proportions and perspective. They have the concept down perfectly in words, but I've found that good examples help me almost as much.
May. 13th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
Oh lawdy. I used to reference the hell out of TLK when I was in high school. It was pretty bad - I once reproduced one full screencap in colored pencil -mind you, this was before the internet was available in my area, so I worked from a trading card. XD

I digress. There's not much I can say that people here haven't already said. What I try to do... when I see another artist's work and I like it; I want to draw like them... what I do is I figure out what it is about their work that I like so much, and I try doing that a little myself. I've learned a lot from other artists in the years I've been online.

Gather from a broad variety of resources, ESPECIALLY life drawing. I cannot emphasize that enough. It's also very worth your while to learn how to draw things other than figures. I used to be TERRIFIED of drawing a background, and now I cannot happily draw a figure without one. It'll all pull together for you; it just takes a lot of time - I'm 28, and I've been chipping away at this my whole life! (thankfully, I've not yet arrived, lol)
May. 13th, 2009 08:53 am (UTC)
You tell the people who accuse you to kindly provide proof that your work is stolen. Tends to shut them up right quick.
May. 13th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
In addition to fiercereaper's most excellent advice above, you said yourself if you draw something from reference several times then you can commit it to your style and mindset for drawing. If you have no alternative (I know I can't always get to the zoo to see a live reference of a tiger, etc) and need to use photo refrences, there is nothing saying you can't draw, or even copy them a million times to learn from it. Just remember that your private art studies are just that; keep 'em in a sketchbook etc. Only publish your finished works after you've broken past the point of directly copying line-for-line.

If that makes any sense? (I don't often make much sense!) XD
My sketchbooks are full of stuff, both from life, from my head, but also form photos and video clips. If I feel the need to copy from a photo to learn something, say with an unusual angle that I can't find elsewhere, I just keep it to my sketchbook since I'm using it to learn. :)
May. 16th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
Tracing is a legitimate learning tool.
Theres plenty of folks who will tell you it is not- but among the old school professional artists I hung out with during the 80s and 90s when attending san diego comicon, all were willing to acknowledge it as a training tool- and some advised using it as a good one.
(Donna Barr for one- one of the most professional artists I have ever known.)

You do NOT show traced imagery to people and claim it as your own- you use it to familiarize yourself with basic shapes such as body, limb placement, etc.
One way to use it is- trace a shape...
Not the whole image- just enough of the parts to get a recognizable character outline. (A complete, basic body without major details, or whatever works for you.)
Now turn it upside down or backwards and look at it.
(Holding it up to a light and viewing it in reverse works well.)

This helps you to build a "reference library" in your mind's eye of what goes where, and what seems "off".

When you are done studying the trace- begin over and draw the same image freehand.
Compare it to the traced image.
Look for individual lines, and compare them back and forth.
Correct the lines to match the trace.
Repeat once or twice, then use a new image.
Throw away the old ones.

This is the "right" way to use tracing as a learning aid-
You can learn what you are trying to do far easier by studying what you traced off the original image than you can by trying to study the original itself; the simpler details, which you traced, are easier to find individual details from than the more complicated complete original- which tends to blur into a whole that you cannot pick simple details from.

I have seen people claim tracing is not a way to learn- and tracing by itself is not, I do agree.
But tracing as a guideline for basic placement/figure drawing DOES work, and professional artists I knew back in the day- people making a living as commercial artists- advised using this method, and I myself learned some things from it, so it does work.

I taught myself to draw without formal classes or teachers; just by what advice I got from more experienced artists, and years of practice and study.
I drew freehand from references.
I drew from tutorials I found wherever I found them.

Tracing as a teaching aid was useful to me for maybe a year, and I never needed it after I had some idea of what I was doing; but it WAS useful for a brief time.

I make my living now as a full time, freelance artist, and I got a job for a while as a concept sketch artist for a small video game company.
I even put out a book a couple years ago on drawing furry art for beginners.
(Which has mostly sold out its 1000 copy print run, so I must have done something right with it.)

So the best advice I can give you is...
Do whatever works in helping you learn to draw what you want to draw.
And keep practicing relentlessly.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


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