Author Topic: A word on Learning Artwork:  (Read 219 times)

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Offline NutellaFox

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A word on Learning Artwork:
« on: June 27, 2017, 10:11:10 pm »
I really want to get this out here since I've heard a few people complain about what I'm about to say. If you don't want to listen to my advice, then that's your reasoning. I won't stop you. But if you are struggling with artwork or wanting to begin or something here's my advice I've been told: also I'm super jetlagged still and tired wanting to fall asleep but I MUST stay up to get over it so please bear with me...

Within the furry fandom I know we hear a lot about Art theft and copying and such and those things being bad and all. However, I want to explain how you can use copying and heavily referencing other's artwork to greatly improve your own and how/why this is a perfectly fine thing to do, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT RESPECTFULLY.

Let me explain- The best way to learn artwork, or really ANY trade at all, is by imitating those who are learned in their craft. Many people have gotten to where they are with their unique styles, by copying something. Many currently copy artwork or styles from their favorite artists. For example, my favorite artist, Pandapaco, traced and copied comic strip pannels when he was little. I used to trace drawings off of books and comic books when I was in elementary school. My sister even, would take 'how-do-draw books' and just trace the final result. It is perfectly OKAY to trace/copy works you admire when you start out. EVERYONE starts somewhere!
You might argue that someone had to learn somehow without referencing other works. However, look around you. You've got reality, the ULTIMATE reference for artwork. All three of the previous examples use pictures of people, their own body parts and facial expressions, objects and scenery around, as references for work. We've come quite a long way from Cave Drawings, which were referenced and improved by other artists until today. Today's art styles are the result of many years of copying and expanding on the previous works that were copied.
What is considered Art theft then? I once told one -anonymous- friend he should reference other artwork he likes and he'd greatly improve his posing and artwork. He said he didn't want to because people would be all offended and such by it. He basically said he feels like it'd be art theft.
Art theft IS NOT finding a picture you like, tracing/copying it, and keeping it in a notebook or feeling proud you traced it on your own paper. Art theft INSTEAD would be tracing the picture/copying it and posting it online saying it's completely your own. If tracing any artwork at all was art theft then every 5-year old is an art theft. Art theft means taking someones work and claiming it as your own, not tracing it just because you wanted to keep it to yourself or learn!
It is even appropirate to actually post your traced drawing online, AS LONG AS you give credit to the person.

Look at this submission on my deviantart from over a year ago:

What's right about this is that I talked about the awesome artist in the description and the title and drawing doesn't suggest anything that I'm claiming it as my own. Infact the artist even saw it, commented on it, and said they're happy they inspired me. Infact, I bet you can notice some hints of stuff that's stayed as my style's evolved in this drawing. Infact, my style is still heavily influenced by people who inspire me and you'll notice that my style currently has elements found in people like Pandapaco, Joltink/VulpineKeyblader*, Falvie, Thesepantsdontfit, Zipfox, and a lot of friends I've made over time and who've given me tips and pointers.

Now, I want to also explain that while this is all a great start, be careful, because you might/will pick up on the misakes of the artist whom you're inspired by or referencing. Having multiple inspirations helps negate this. Ultimately, you should learn how to reference real life. I show off my furry artwork, but I also have drawn the mountains I live by, buildings, my desk, my hands, and much more. Reality is your ULTIMATE reference.
Also as you get more experienced you might feel that you don't need to use any references or that the pros don't use references and do everything in their mind. This is wrong, every pro artist still uses references. The difference between the beginner and the master is the master has had more time, more practice, knows what they're doing, looking for, and that references are absolutely okay for making artwork look great. DON'T BE AFRAID TO REFERENCE!

Above all, please, have fun! It's going to have a lot of rough times. I nearly burned my sketchbook once because I was frustrated by it. I would recommend if you're just starting or need more experience to start Traditional. paper and paper is the cheapest and most common drawing items you can find. Even if you want to go into digital art, start with a paper and pencil. (yes, yes, I struggle with digital art, but I'm still learning and I have begun getting into it after all this time...)
Have fun, doodle everywhere, if you don't have references available at the time, just do your best. doodle at school, on the bus, all over your folders, notebooks, math papers, WHATEVER! JUST HAVE FUN! Draw when you're stressed, inspired, think something's pretty, JUST ENJOY IT! And if nothing's on your mind at least pick up the pencil and draw a line. You never know... you could end up drawing a pretty pattern. Even if you want to focus on furry artwork, drawing stuff other than furries will GREATLY improve your furry artwork. Drawing humans and feral animals at least a little bit will help a lot!
Just remember:

-Have fun!
-You don't need super fancy materials, a pencil and any paper will do. Heck, anything that you can write on with something that makes a mark works.
-It's OKAY to copy/trace as you start out, and it's CERTAINLY OKAY to use references all the time. (It's encouraged!)

I hope you all enjoy this little explanation for anyone who might feel intimidated starting out or embarrased they've traced a drawing they liked once a long while ago. I also hope I've helped clear up for some people what exactly constitutes art theft and that it's only if you claim it as your own, not if you reference it or take inspiration from it. (just make sure if you publish it you give credit!  :D )
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Offline Undertaker

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Re: A word on Learning Artwork:
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 10:13:18 pm »
This was really helpful. Thanks.
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Re: A word on Learning Artwork:
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 10:36:58 pm »
This is SO TRUE.

Also, if any artists out there want further reading on this EXACT phenomenon, I suggest buying "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon. It's required reading for all undergrad art majors and minors at my college, and it's honestly a very easy and intriguing read!

It's only a couple bucks too, and it certainly inspires me to this day!
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Offline byte

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Re: A word on Learning Artwork:
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 11:10:24 pm »
This is really helpful!!! I traced alot when I was younger and it helped me!
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Offline Brooklyn

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Re: A word on Learning Artwork:
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2017, 11:53:22 am »
Thanks so much for this thread! It's so true. I haven't traced traced art before, but I have taken elements from some of my favorite artists to incorporate into my own drawings. Tracing is definitely something I've got to try out ^^
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