To Trace Or Not To Trace?


Allow me to explain, please. Every time I go on a social media platform and look at the art pages/subs/groups, inevitably someone asks about projectors and people lose their freaking minds. It’s absurd. They never answer the question. All they do is gang up on the poor soul who dared to ask and proceed to tell them they are the worst kind of person for even suggesting such a thing.

Now, do not get me wrong. The technical side is where it’s at, at least if you want art that will last longer than the current trend. If you want to actually do your work instead of become famous enough to hire a stable of draft horses artists, you definitely need to learn how to draw. I’ve mentioned my disdain and heartbreak over concept only art education, and that’s not the point.

The point is this:

If not being able to draw is stopping you from painting, trace the hell out of that drawing and paint your heart out.

Don’t let jerks online who think their way is the only way or snobs who think it isn’t “real” art unless xyz. Trust me, I’m an art snob. I love being an art snob. I’ve talked about my opinion of Koontz, right? But I would almost never tell someone who is just starting out or who is making, in Danny Gregory’s words, art with a small a, to stop creating until they meet a made up requirement. As harsh as I am on unethical professional artists, I try to raise up the guys who just want to create.

I can draw. I also trace. I’m told it would be bad for my professional image to write out what I say to people who want to criticize me for tracing so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

The reasons I trace are practical. If I have a commission and I draw that out by hand, it would take me twice as long. That’s not good for the client’s time frame or wallet. I’m willing to draw it out if they are willing to pay for it, but they aren’t paying for my drawing skills. They are paying for my painting skills. Plus, I have ADD. I’ve been tested. I would be so bored by the time I hand drew something I probably* wasn’t thrilled to paint in the first place. (*I am usually excited if I actually agree to a commission because I like making people happy cry, but I don’t want to spend any more time on it than necessary. It’s a lot of pressure and people try to tell me what to do.) I’m usually bored when I am completely emotionally invested in a piece.

I love drawing, but I’m not stupid and you shouldn’t be either. Learn how to draw, but do it on your time and never let it get in your way.

If you’re someone who piles on people just asking questions (especially if you don’t even answer the question so you’re wasting everyone’s time), fight me. Or don’t because you have better things to do, like draw.

About Elisha

Elisha Dasenbrock is an award winning, international watercolor artist. She paints with a limited palette on claybord. Dasenbrock graduated from the American Academy of Art in 2009 and has been painting professionally ever since.