Blog Post

Should you Trace?

Should you trace? A very controversial topic which rages on without end in the art world. Rest easy, if you want to trace, you can!!!

In a forum near you, on any social media, any art forum and in fact anywhere, this subject causes untold rage, rows, offence and can easily cause some newbie artists to give up any idea of an art career or even an enjoyable hobby.

It's ok to trace!

I'm here to tell you it's ok to trace, grid, use a lightbox or a projector or any other tool which will help you create your artwork.

No one else can tell you what is the right or wrong way to create your art, it's entirely up to you how you create your work.

Learn your art one step at a time

I would say that new artists will find tracing etc a huge boost to their burgeoning art journey. You simply cannot learn everything at once. Starting with a freehand sketch which is out of proportion and scale, being incorrect in positioning and perspective will never become correct no matter how much paint or pencil you throw at it. It's a losing battle and could easily overwhelm you and just make you give up. Learn your art one step at a time.


Sketching Accuracy

If the accuracy of sketches is your main concern, learn that first. Go to a life class, set up still lives, test yourself and sketch until you are able to accurately reproduce what you see. Don't try to do it at the same time you are learning to use a medium. There will be so many things to learn and overcome, it's likely to be a disaster and why would you want that! Art should be enjoyable for professionals and amateurs alike.

If you want to try out a medium to see if you like it, trace or use another method for an accurate sketch and then learn to use the medium. You will need to discover which medium suits your lifestyle, your skills, your techniques. You will need to discover which support you like best, there are all sorts of additives you can use. All of these things should be fun, learn the medium first then go back to learn about sketching accurately.

    I use a grid!

    I'll confess, I use grids for my artwork where it's complicated. I am asked to put pets together from different photos, they need scaling and positioning. I also add backgrounds from favourite walks to a dog whose photo was taken in the kitchen. Things like this would take many hours to work out freehand, accuracy is a must and so I grid. As a Pastelmat user it's also impossible to sketch directly onto the paper. You simply cannot correct mistakes so all work is done on cheap scrap paper and then transferred onto the Pastelmat using transfer paper. My sketch is exactly correct, I can share it with my customers so they can decide if it's what they want, imagine trying to correct it after it was on the paper already!

    Get my Pastel Artist's Toolkit. Discover my favourite supplies and tools. Packed with plenty of hints and tips about using the fabulous medium of pastel.

    Do art your own way, don't let anyone else stop you

    Pop across to any art forum and see the vitriol this subject causes, I often share my thoughts as I feel artists who want to trace are belittled and basically told they aren't proper artists if they cannot sketch perfectly. It is a skill to have and it is useful, learn it as a skill on it's own rather than learning everything at once. If you never want to learn it, who cares, use whatever it takes to help you enjoy your art as that is exactly what it should be, enjoyable.

    Happy pencilling!

    Karie.


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