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Brian Kesinger discusses how tracing and creating fan art helped him develop as a young artist. He sees it as a way for artists to pull from the world around them & inform their technical decision making. 

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I want to see more from this artist. I cant wait to show the Disney art to my grandchildren.
"Tracing" may be an obscenity to a group of purists, but frankly that ideal is unrealistic. The Camera Lucida was popular with the masters of an earlier era for a reason. In the past it was not heresy to copy the works of the masters, as it was acknowledged that doing so helped develop pre-existing talents. (What is wrong is misrepresentation, but I get the impression he understands that.)
Good vid.  I actually began drawing the human form and really immersing myself in the fantasy setting by copying the characters from Final Fantasy VII Game Booklet.  Once I was comfortable with drawing the characters (Cloud, Tifa and Aeris) from memory I began to experiment with my own characters.
What's stopping you now, +Nikki Mendoza? I used to love to sketch when I was in high school (and I wrote a lot more as well) but college, post-college, a family and a career turned me away from my creative side. I'm just now getting back to it, and doing my best to make up for lost time (and enjoy doing it). 
Agreed +Drew Northup ,copying people that are technically more advanced than you are can only benefit the learning process.
Tools of activities are seminally developed by dogmatic processes. True art is the journey that deviates from these origins towards the creative intuition of the artist. Repetition of dogma is not art.
I love doing fan art, I do find that there are critic's  out there though. My art teacher would always get really irritated that I drew from other peoples work. He told me that it was unskilled. But I have to dissagree. I think it good practice, it test your skills, and you can draw from it in your own drawings. 
I asked my college teacher in my last semester, "How do you know when you are not just copying someone else's work. Any good artist knows you have to do research. If you only have one piece of research and you copy it you are just a human copier but you are learning essential lessons. But when you have pages of research using elements from each, a bit here and there, it becomes your own. We can only recreate what we see or interpret what we have seen even in our minds eye.
Everything has pretty much been done so essentially everything is being copied.
Yeah basically. It is hard to come up with an "original". I was doing a thing on 99designs for emotion faces. They wanted something new and innovative. I looked around to see what was out there and it's been done. Crazy.
I must say, I've never been a fan of copying other people's art, especially when it comes to public display (which, of course, would be considered theft). At times, it's better to look around at pictures and such to get inspiration, rather than directly copying. Art is about expression and technique. You can't express yourself though copying other drawings and it's hard to show your 'improvement' if all you've done is copy, copy, copy. I myself never copy. I never needed it to improve my art. Some observe certain techniques in the drawings and paintings of others and develop their style form it- which I don't think is a bad idea. Fanart is also alright, I've drawn fanart myself; however, I dislike when people copy the style of the original art. Fan art is a show of appreciation of certain characters, etc. in your own style. If I created a comic or such, I'd be amazing to see fanart that appears in all sorts of styles and settings, rather than just a copy of something I might have originally drawn. Either way, to be blunt, it just doesn't look as good if you copy. Your personal style comes from personal expression. The art you copy may not have a fitting style for you. Only you, drawing on your own, can discover that. 
And If you didnt know... the masters use to have to copy paintings and that is the way that got their techniques down pat
Thankyou Brian. I too spent years copying old master paintings and anything else that moved me, including photographs, I knew when I was a boy that i would only get better if I copied and learned from people that were already excellent at it. I believe an artist is born just like a scientist or someone with a good voice, its what your given, but to be really good you have to learn from the masters.
Art has mixed with science. ...talent is a plus. ..tracing I think is not exactly to copy but to improve the idea .....nice encouragemt there!
John- indeed, masters are best at showing us techniques. But of course, in the future, we should be able to create original art in our own expression and style- even when it comes to fanart~!
your right Nancy, I can now paint and draw in any style and any medium, thanks to the masters teaching
Has anyone here ever had to do paintings from a photo? My instructor always said no no no, but I have a client that gives me 4x6 pics of what he wants and usually wants every detail from that photo. Believe me these are not professional photos either. They are so flat it's irritating and the lighting is always from the flash. I left out the back ground on the last photo he gave me and he is somewhat okay with it but you could see in his expression he was...worried, but he has loved each one I have done so far. I guess we'll see. I am going to post the work I've done so far. I welcome any critique.
+Lisa Hutchinson my instructor also frowns when someone uses a photo to copy from. Like you said lighting is usually off and some elements become blurred... also sometimes things become shortened or lengthened as in limbs or fingers and kinda look like deformities. Proportions also tend to get messed up especially when the photo is shot an angle. Ive worked from photos as well and think everthying is going well only to find at when im done that there is something just not quite right.
+Nathan Hall
That's the problem I have now. I posted the pic and the photo. Seeing them side by side I'm like ug. I so need to finish it but all I do lately is stare at it. Mr. Webb said art is a problem to solve and no art is actually finished only resolved. So I guess I need to at least get to the resolved point and then work out the kinks. Thanks for your input. Sometimes I feel that no one wants to comment because I am a low level artist but I don't feel that way just different.
theres no such thing as a low level artist :)
Thank you Jennifer. My teacher said I lack confidence. If I could past that, he said there would be no stopping me, because I'm also tenacious.
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