Saturday, January 19, 2013

Q&A: Imitating or Plagiarizing?

Crispy Chip asked: Is copying or tracing a good way to master drawing?

My answer: Well, there’s a big difference between copying and tracing.

For this doodle, I copied Enjelia’s fan art of Kirito from Sword Art Online. Yes, I actually do this when I need to de-stress over life and don’t have the creative juices to draw my own illustrations… but I digress!

When you copy a drawing, you draw it from scratch, imitating what you see. When you trace a drawing, however, you copy the original by tracing on a transparent paper (or “layer” in a drawing software) placed over the illustration. You’d get instant gratification through tracing, but copying will allow you to actually learn how to draw.

Nevertheless, copying someone else’s work does not make it your own. It’s only good for practice and for sharpening your drawing skills, but if you do decide to upload your work to websites like Deviant Art and Facebook, it would be wise to share your references and/or sources so that you won’t be accused of plagiarism. Besides, giving credit where credit is due will make both your fans and the original artist very happy. It’s just good netiquette!

If you’d like me to answer a question or two, feel free to email me at kurohiko at gmail dot com! You can also leave a message on my Facebook Page.

…and in case you’re wondering, I did start out copying Enjelia’s work, but I forgot to save the image on my phone and thus had to draw his right hand from memory. My memory sucks so the sword position and hand is completely off! Sorry, Enj! Forgiveness for my fail, please! щ(ಥДಥщ)

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