It’s totally not bad. Photomanipulation is a legit artform that requires a ton of skill and a lot of hard work. I’m impressed as hell by people who can do it well.
But in my experience, haters don’t think that way. They just want to take you down a notch, and “You traced!” is an easy way to do that. Which is stupid because any artist knows that tracing doesn’t replace skill.
As for people who misrepresent themselves? I understand it, but it’s still frustrating. I don’t know why people don’t just say what they do. If you smudge a photo, then just say it, you know? I don’t know why people are afraid of being proud of the work they do. Probably because society has us all brainwashed about what “real art” is supposed to be. We think talent is a magical thing that falls out of the sky at random instead of being something that an individual can earn—and therefore deserve. We don’t like to believe that other people deserve something if we can’t deserve it, too, you know?
That’s why misrepresenting yourself because you think one form of art is more legit than another makes life harder for all of us. Because you’re just widening that chasm. You’re just one more voice telling everyone that not all art is valid and that not everyone deserves to be able to make art or define art for themselves.
So we end up with more and more people who have unrealistic ideas of what art is supposed to look like. Which means you end up with more haters.
It’s a rotten cycle, and it shouldn’t be that way. Art isn’t exclusive.
As for defending myself, I don’t go out of my way because it’s not worth my time.Honestly, I think a lot of it goes back to grade school stigma. What’s one of the first admonitions of the kindergarten teacher? Color inside the lines. Why? The person who drew the coloring book left the background bushes and trees unfinished because they reached the edge of the paper. Real bushes and trees don’t fade into oblivion, do they? Lines aren’t reliable.
Another one I heard all through early elementary was, “Don’t scribble.” Scribble. A vague piece of advice if ever there was one. But if another kid saw you doing what they perceived as scribbling, they would pounce on you as if they’d caught you stealing milk money. I thought it was maybe just a quirk of the school I went to but my kids have mentioned it too. As far as I can tell, scribble just means coloring fast. Heaven forbid I don’t feel like taking my time filling in the big spaces…
So it goes. Somewhere in there, it becomes a sin to trace, yes, because some kids represent that as their own art, because kids are insecure. And because other kids are insecure, too, they pounce and take down the charlatan. But it is absolutely true that tracing isn’t drawing. I sometimes use tracing to help me work out proportion… I draw the subject first because, yeah, I’d prefer to just draw it right myself, then separately trace from the source because to be honest, even after years of drawing and study, I cannot get eyes in the right place. I even dreamed last night about a vampire who drew his self-portrait in burgundy wine colored pencil and I was looking at it thinking, “Huh, NO ONE can get the eyes right, can they?” Not making this up. So I trace and look at the trace lines and compare to my own drawing. A trace looks ridiculous on its own. The unexpected quirks of facial anatomy can’t be hidden in it. And I can usually figure out where I lost it and correct the original drawing.
What’s more, tracing your own work is almost essential, at least for me. I learned in one drawing class to draw the subject, then overlay tracing paper and make corrections until you have it the way you want it, then transfer and complete. It was like morning sunrise to me, learning that. And digital just makes that easier.
But yeah, why not just say it? How many people are popular artists using found objects or collage? Tracing to the right effect is no less valid. It’s not drawing, but it can be art.
Crap, I’m ranting again. I blame the head cold.
That was perfect, though.
So perfect. My kids are going to smart asses and scibble even faster when called out
My wife is a pro artist, so Mi know that this is an accurate account of socialization and they arts.