After messing about with some of my comic pages I realized that I needed a warmup moment. I haven't drawn horses in a few months due to real life time requirements, so I sat down today to practice a little. This is a method I often use for 'warmup,' just to get my hand and eye back in the groove of drawing horses and horse shapes. I also needed a super basic set of lines to do a bunch of character refs, so I decided to combine the two and make a little example of what I'm doing and why.
This is meant as an encouragement to artists who are looking for a teaching tool, and to define 'trace' as a learning method. The key here is to 'cite your sources.' Just like in writing: if you plagiarize, your readers go "oh, you stole this, therefore your argument is invalid and I don't trust your word anymore." But if you cite, your readers go "Hey, you're really well-read and you've done a lot of research. I should pay attention to your argument." In art, if you strongly ref/trace (even if it's just color or shading, not the shape of the image,) and don't cite, first off someone
will always recognize it, even if you grabbed your refs from the very back of Google Images or used your own never-posted photos. (Especially if you have a picture-perfect horse/rider/tack and a super wonky fence and bystanders, or photorealistic 'wet horse' shading and highlights that aren't carried through to the rider, tack and background.) If you cite your refs and say "this is from photos I took at a local eventing competition," or "from the Olympic dressage page" or whatever, your viewers will think 'ok, this artist is paying attention to the horse world and really working to improve their detail and realism.'
So in the end, being honest about your methods and process actually increases your viewer's respect for you, not decreases it.
Some personal notes: If I used a ref on an image, I'll say so in the image description and provide a link if I can, though I'm guilty of the 'google images' problem too- working quickly and grabbing images without bothering to save where they're from. I also have a huge library of my own unposted photos and many envelopes full of magazine cuttings for refs, which obviously aren't on-line. However, I'm trying pretty hard to at least state 'this is reffed' in an image description. For my comic pages, I reffed the early ones heavily and there's links in the image descriptions for them. In later pages, I gave up on that and just drew, and sometimes things looked wonky
I also use some of my own photos for background or background refs, which I try to state, though I don't always remember to. (In general, if it's a photo and it's in my work, it's my own photo. I have a personal preference for using only my own photographs as artistic materials in 'final' pieces.)
Other times I've visited this subject: everland-stables.deviantart.co…kaljaia.deviantart.com/art/Pho…everland-stables.deviantart.co…