Trace+Paint Experiment

Perspective - Illustration Friday submission - experiment tracing/painting

Here’s a very quick experiment.  I always thought tracing anything would be like cheating.  Well, maybe not if you trace something you drew yourself.  I wanted to cheat in the most direct way.  So I took a photo of myself, traced, and painted on it (digitally).  I didn’t get “precious” drawing, or even painting.  I just wanted to experience what it feels like to trace over an existing image.  We do this as kids, and never think one thing of it.  Then you grow up, and its a different story.  Visual plagiarism!

The theme for Illustration Friday this week was “Perspective”.  I have taken a liking to submitting a weekly image ever since I entered Escape from Illustration Island’s contest last month.  The prize for me was realizing I could use this to have a weekly experiment, and keep up the pace posting work on this blog.  It’s a great chance to explore, and learn.  Sometimes, it will be yield a nice result.  It is fun to do, and now I can’t get enough of getting my hands dirty, and throwing caution to the wind.

I had little time (again due to unexpected family events), and so, I categorize this one with the rest of my “time constraint” experiments.  As it is, I should be in bed.  I think I made the deadline, but it’s really not that important now.  Just the fact that I finished a piece tonight is good enough for me.  You can tell by how rough it looks. I will probably repeat a tracing experiment without the time constraint to really experience following contours

As you can see, the traced lines are not exact, so I didn’t use any graphics software help for detecting lines, and edges.  I was mostly getting the feel of the tablet.  The color was added to make it pleasing to the eye.  Oh yes.. the eye… I made it stand out to stress the “perspective” theme.  The thumbs up?.. well, it reflects a personal key moment of emotional events this week, that actually turned out fine, I’m happy to say.  I had other ideas for this week’s topic, but they all vanished in a second, yesterday, when the “thumbs up” related incident happened, and it froze in my mind.  Inspiration has a funny way to creep up and jump on you when you least expect it.

It came out having a simple graphic style, which I was wondering about as styles go, for some time now.  Actually, the colors remind me of a good friend’s recent work. That would be Thomas James, of Escape From Illustration Island.  Here’s an example of one of his concept images. He’s been experimenting with concept as the main driver for his latest personal pieces.  Very thought-provoking art.  In fact, his last piece taught me a lesson in visualizing and analyzing the deeper meaning of art work.  It was nice to remember that concept and meaning are one of the biggest elements in fine art.  I had been so technically focused on process and techniques that I had almost forgotten about meaning as one of the main aspects of any work.

This was fun, and quick to do.  More of a graphic artist type of thing.  Variety in art is very good for the soul.

Well.. that is all for now.  I hope you enjoyed it, and that it helps you see images in a different “perspective”… try new things, think new thoughts, and search for meaning where you would otherwise just give a passing glance.  You’d be surprised what you can find.

Have a great art day or night, but have it!

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Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 1:43 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Tracing can speed up a piece and can really have it’s own unique look. It’s helpful in the process of learning tools(like your tablet).

    As long as you are tracing your own work (sketches and photograghs), and it doesn’t replace life drawing, doodling, and photo reference(which I know isn’t your intention), I have no problem with using the technique as part of a piece. It can help you figure out how something is put together. I’ll bet drawing a “thumbs up” freehand will be much easier for you now!

    One thing that I think could strengthen this piece is using a more solid and graphic approach with the colors on the figure(like the background). Make them bold and confident and the piece will come to life.

    Having a whole arsenal of tools, techniques, and mediums allows you to use what is most appropriate for a given project. They all build off of each other and things learned by tracing will have value down the road. I agree with your statement, “Variety in art is very good for the soul.”

    Have a great day!

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Denver.
      I can see the benefits of tracing, like you explain, under certain conditions, to speed up prouction, and to get into the “how” of constructing a visual element. Very true.
      Also, my graphic approach here was lacking attention, missing the goal of making it bold and giving it confidence. That’s a good lesson to remember. The reason it was an experiment, so I can realize these things. (invariably, with all my posted pieces, I think… darn.. I could have done this or that… this is my way discovering things I should have in mind while creating. Shake the bones, throw them on the floor, and examine the patterns kind of approach).
      This trip is full of discoveries on many levels, and I’m really enjoying it.
      Thanks for your valuable comment so much.
      By the way… finally saw your blog… I want mine to be as good as yours…. when it grows up! I like the way you mix up all your creations in the banner too… that’s something I’ve had in mind for this blog.. but I’m not worrying about that too much, for now).
      Thanks again!


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