Line art, tracing and referencingI have been getting a few people asking to make Line-art out of my work or you know a trace of some artist piece so everyone can have a recolor of it.
Some ask, some just go ahead and do it, I'm NOT OK with you tracing someones work line for line and posting as your own for others to recolor, its a little insulting to the artist even more so if it was a commission.
Using someones else art to make bases or adoptables, is wrong and ruins the artist's original vision. There are 100's of free bases out there and cheap ones, you shouldn't be tracing work without permission for adoptable and bases.
Its ok to trace someones art for learning purposes, but it should never be posted! its even ok to highly reference peoples work for learning purposes, but don't post it! or at lest ask the artist for permission first before doing so.
I made a chart below to show the differences, hope that clears up some confusion.
This is a step in the right direction, but I still feel that it misses the mark a bit. Let me explain my case as an illustration and animation student, because plagiarism is hardwired into me as a giant “no-no”.
The difference between tracing and referencing is all in where you place the source material.
If you draw any remotely similar image on top of its source, it’s tracing. It doesn’t matter whether you change the hair, tail, position of the head, etc. Let this sink in: If you’re drawing on top of the image, it’s tracing. And if you claim any part of the drawing to be your own intellectual property, that my dear friends is called plagiarism. It’s as real in art as it is in your writing classes.
Now, if you set your source material off to the side of your drawing surface (digital or traditional), that is referencing. But what’s the big deal, and what’s the difference? Tracing takes little to no skill; you don’t need to think when you trace. But when you have reference, whether it’s the real world around you for a landscape painting or a photograph of one, your brain is working, and it’s working hard. As my professors have drilled into me, drawing is the skill of taking the three-dimensional universe and rendering it in two dimensions. You need to think about how everything relates to the scene in three-dimensional space, compose it, and then transfer it onto a flat surface. Even if you’ll try to copy exactly what your source material is, you’ll be making spacial calculations, you’ll be actively using your eyes and your brain to approximate the image. Do not misinterpret this: if your source material was created by someone else and you attempt to copy it exactly, you still must give credit, because the composition is not your intellectual property.
Referencing is how you learn how to draw. But what is tracing good for? Tracing is a perfectly valid method for honing your technical skills in a certain medium. Like practicing your line work, blending, and any other effects that are created with the flicks of your wrist. It’s also useful for building the hand-eye coordination needed for using any graphics tablet that isn’t a Cintiq. HOWEVER, I strongly urge you not to make public any of these exercises. If you still want to show them to the world, you MUST give credit where credit is due.
All this being said, I still think this deviation is a nice way to start a great wave of change towards respect of intellectual property that the people on this site desperately need.