Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Is Tracing a Horse Allowed?

 There is a very heated, ancient debate in the art world about whether tracing an image onto your art surface is ok. It's a testy subject. Crazy, if you ask me.

 Countless centuries have been spent arguing over this. The traditionalists say it's taboo to trace - literally. Sacrilege.  That you must go through the painstaking process of hand drawing the image. Like an initiation or earning your dues, so to speak. Some people say it's cheating. Yet, the masters like Michael Angelo and his kind did forms of tracing. That's not widely known for some reason.

Still, others, mostly modern artists have found a very beneficial reason for tracing and highly encourage it! Such a huge difference of opinion like we see today about vaccines. I'd like to explain. Do I trace? Sure for extreme accuracy and I like hyper-realism in my art work. And over the years from tracing, I now trace the proportions for accuracy and free hand the images I'm familiar with. I'm going to describe how this applies to horses in a minute.

Why Trace?

  Tracing your image onto an art surface helps you build muscle memory when you do that. So I highly recommend that you practise tracing and encourage your kids to do so if you want to learn how to draw - especially horses :). More importantly, it gives you accurate muscle memory. If you don't have assistance when you're learning to draw free hand, you could run into the problem of developing muscle memory that's inaccurate. Yet, it really feels accurate because it feels so familiar. That's why tracing helps to learn how to draw correctly. It's speeds up the learning process and you can start to freehand images that you're very familiar with in the future.

How Does This Apply to Horses?

 It does apply to horses.  Taking learning to ride for example. If you choose to go the DIY method of learning to ride where you are at home alone using the method of learning by trail and error, without having someone watch you to make sure you're learning how to ride accurately, you could end up learning the wrong thing.

Back in the day, I saw students swear they knew how to ride correctly but they didn't. They hadn't had any formal lessons and they inadvertently developed bad habits or wrong ways to ride. They were so convinced that they were riding properly, that some didn't come back after a few lessons. Blessings to them anyway. We are all here on different paths of learning.

So I highly recommend that a rider learn by a method where someone can give them feedback. What would be equivalent to tracing? I guess the closest thing would be videoing yourself learning to ride and have someone else view the video and give feedback.  

The main take-away here that I'm trying to convey is to make sure that by whatever method you use for anything, horse related in this case, is have a method to get feedback so that you develop accurate muscle memory and not learn the wrong thing.

Putting my spin on Tracing for accuracy.


@KISS Reiners

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