Outline of a person to trace

When I used my imagination my poses were really stiff and weren't that interesting, I can definitely see this in your work as well. Now that I use stock photos I feel my work looks a heck of a lot more lively and has way more emotion to it. If you aren't using stock photos to help with your posing I suggest you check out SenshiStock Here's some examples off work I did off their stock.

I don't understand why people on here are so quick to jump on people who use references. It's so much quicker and the results are so much better. Most professional artists use references for at least the difficult poses. Fact is, unless you have an eidetic memory you're not going to remember exactly how a face looks or how muscles look without years upon years of practice and even then it's never going to be perfect.

That's why life drawing is so good for improvement. Thank you all very much for all the responses, its all very useful and helpful. I noticed that there is some confusion about what I meant by sticking parts together so I put together a quick image of what I mean exactly by sticking poses together to make something new:. That doesn't sound like tracing. You say you're putting multiple pieces together to make an outline, and create something based on that outline.

Tracing photos with your Silhouette

That can be limiting to a certain extent, but that doesn't like tracing, especially if you're using a lot of references. At that point, what you're doing is akin to melting down crayons to mold them into a candle. You're mixing things up to create something that wasn't there before.

Tracing Missing or Unknown People

My detailed sketch is me actually referencing the image and other images, used a bobcat face to get the head right instead of just tracing over things. If I then need to draw in more fine details like muscles outlines, elbows or knees I'll look up picture reference. It is a bit of a lenghty process, but the drawings feels like your own at the end, which is what I like.

Tracing a pose isnt bad, but it can hold you back. Tracing and whole image is just wrong.

Is it wrong to trace over references?

I am not sure if you are talking about tracing or referencing to be honest. If you really cut and stick pieces of different pictures together and then literally trace it, I can imagine that the outcome will be wrong since no two photos will have exactly the same perspective among other things. In this case referencing this way will be just as wrong as tracing it. If you just look for multiple ref-pictures for different parts of the body, reference the parts and put some thought in how they are connected you are good!

Further down is my opinion. I am by no means an expert. As for tracing itself, I've written a longish comment on it here, so if you like, read it here.


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It is a huge misconception that using references is cheating. In my opinion it does a lot of harm NOT to use any reference for a beginner at least.

I've reaad books, watched videos about this and that method of body abstraction and construction, drawn a ton of 'stick figures', manequins etc. Then I went to gesture drawing classes and tried to 'construct' the poses of the model. The later never stood in normal upright poses, just human spaghetti. I was minutes away from quitting drawing humans all together.

Best advise comming from the class teacher was to first do a shitty looking xD loose gesture sketch and then correct all you want, measure proportions etc after the gesture is right.


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  • For that purpose I normally have a drawing-anatomy book close to my desk. After you have drawn a lot from reference you will memorize some things and won't need to reference every part of the pose. But in case you do not belive me, here are some examples of people working in the industry using reference and or complaining about people not using it.

    Rare ocation where you see what kind of reference is used for a pic: Adam Duff painting a vampire. Pretend you're a bird with big healthy wings but you're afraid to use them because you'll fall, so you use a hand-glider instead The hand glider can only take you so far though, so every time you jump off your nest to fly anywhere, you will fall hallway to your destination and then you have to walk all the way there, and back to your nest Now, imagine the potential you can have if you picked up the courage and time to learn how to fly using your wings.

    By doing this, you will reach your maximum potential, and make life so much easier for you. So with that said, I recommend you don't use your references as a clutch, and more of a learning tool so you can eventually draw from your imagination any pose you can think off in the future without heavily relying on tracing those poses. It'll open up a whole new world of possibilities for your canvas. You could reach your full potential Oh come one it's a metaphor, you're not gonna fall and die by practicing drawing.

    Not reaching your potential is no different from dying, you only speed up the process through the dull existence of "what could have been". Tracing a reference limits you heavily. I tried it multiple times, with no real luck. Even with heavy tinkering, they make the most uncanny stuff, often ending up looking like the giants from Attack on Titan. It's a very useful program with a lot of adjustment options, but the result usually looks like something out from a PS2 game with cell shading.

    Nowadays I only use to for reference generation. You can then import the SVG into Rhino. Thank u so so much! I will try it again later. Thank u so much! So, should I use this instead of Adobe Illustrator…? If you have Illustrator and are happy with how that works for you, why would you change to something else? Especially how powerful a tool Rhino is. A nice practice exercise for Rhino would be to take those open curves and close them so you can do other things with them, like…. Extend this out further and you can also start making 3D models of a lot of the objects found in this drawing.

    Specifically, the table, and chairs, can be modeled quite accurately… as you can establish a scale for the drawing, and get some measurements for how tall the table might be,… or how thick the table legs are… and stuff like that.

    Locating account holders, clients and property owners.

    Add in some walls, and you could have a nice combination of a 3D workshop, with some furniture… and of course some 2D people to help fill out the space. Rhino supports a few modes of modeling: Curves, Surfaces, Solids, and Meshes. Your drawing can be used as support or inspiration for learning about all of these different modes. I am now doing my final year project for year 1, so pretty much in tight schedule.

    BUT I will definitely try it when I have got some time! Thank u so, so sooooo much!! In tandem with Illustrator.


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    • Also, what do u mean by Disable Snap? How do I do that haha. Thanks btw! So, how do I do that? Do I need to vectorize it first?

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