Mixed feelings about art trend

Dashboard Forums Weekly Member Message Mixed feelings about art trend

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    Lucille Kreps

    So I’ve gotten a ton of art books over the last year so I have something to look at and inspire me – I was never really exposed to much art as a kid. As I’m going through them I’ve run across some AMAZING looking pieces – I mean like WOW how could someone do something so detailed type and I feel like I’ll never be able to do anything like that amazing…. only to find out that the artist’s technique was to take a photograph, enhance it in photo shop to push the light and dark values a bit, print the photo out, then trace it onto their paper and then render what they traced. The first place I encountered it was “Colored Pencil Painting Bible” by Alyona Nickelsen. I kinda figured she was teaching the technique perhaps just to be kind to people (like me!) who don’t really have the best drawing skills yet but still want to do something cool with color pencil anyway. But then I found it again in a Volume of Splash for watercolorists. This picture is “Green-Meldrim House in Savannah” by Xi Guo and for his little blurb about the piece he described the process above.

    How much art that we’re seeing today is done this way? Are there telltale signs when someone has used this technique? I have mixed feelings about it like it may be something I’m interested in doing a little bit to develop some rendering skills independently of developing drawing skills in a way that is less pressure than doing both together all the time but to do it for every or most pieces? Or….does it just depend on what style people are going for?? Is tracing a photo the main way people get these photo realistic pieces? How do you feel about this technique?

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    Caitlin Brown

    I am interested to hear a discussion of this as well, I hope Matt discusses it in the member blog. I feel that using a grid or a ruler can be permissible at times but this seems to be pushing the line when it comes to calling it original art. I also wonder if people who use this technique ever improve?

    James Gibson


    Another thing I have seen done is to use a projector to enlarge and trace an image and then go back and add a traditional media to it. Then of course there are light boxes…

    To me it is really about what the goal of the artist is. Is it to save production time? Is it to get a great likeness (which is beyond their skill)? It could be a lot of things. I feel it is all valid.

    As to calling it original work… Wow, that is harder isn’t it? I mean if you do it based off of life drawing, or the grid method, it is still as close to an exact image as you can get… either way, to me it is all art. I am not sure how I feel as to the “original” question.

    As I grew up my mother, who was a pretty darn good artist, always told me that “copying” (to her that was using any reference other than life), was cheating… I was a very literal kid so I was loathe to use reference. I now feel that really held me back a lot.

    Like I said, to me, it’s all in what you (the artist) want to get out of it.

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