Tracing is cheating. If I could write this repeatedly, I would. Tracing in my opinion is just as close to plagiarizing. Tracing is something you do in grade 2 when you have to draw a crummy picture for a book assignment and you cannot spend your milk money on a photocopy. However, I will make exceptions in the tracing rule when using a tablet on your PC and you are outlining an original sketch from your sketchbook. There are things I have noticed from my art friends that piss me off which make me regurgitate in rage when I discover their secrets.
Iron on Transfer Cheats- I had an art friend who would cut corners when doing portraits. She would scan the photo into her computer, print the picture out on t-shirt transfers and then iron the image onto a canvas. She would then paint overtop of the transfer. To me, this just looked as a lazy way to do a painting and showed no real skill or talent since all she was doing was taking a photo (which was not even hers,) and would dab paint over it. If you had real talent, you would try to find a perspective yourself and capture that image on your own, and thus creating a completely original piece of work. I was alarmed to discover how many art students I knew did this and it gave me another reason to frown on the mis-education of art in todays university and college world.
The Computer tracer- I used to belong to an online art community where once a week we would get a sketch assignment and then post up our work. Often, some users would just copy the image straight into Adobe Illustrator, make a layer, and mask a traced outline using their tablet. What is the skill or point in doing that? The idea of weekly sketching is to bring out your own style and show your mistakes so you can improve on them, not to display your tracing skills. Sometimes, they would even copy the image into AI, dim the layer to 30%, and then print it out so they could trace it at their desk.
Projector Cheats- Those goons who waste $80 on a cheap projector and who print off images off their computer to trace the outlines onto a huge canvas makes me violent. I knew of one girl who was going to a fine art school who was into painting nudes and who would do this to get the form of the body exact. Okay, there is a reason they make you sit there with charcoal for three hours a session while that naked person is getting paid $50 an hour. The thing that bugged me the most was that was that she was one of the top graded artists in her class and I knew she cheated. If her professor knew what she was doing, I bet she would not have gotten that much praise. All that does is show off how much of a cheat you are since tracing does not encourage you to bring out your personal flair to a piece.
Tracers beware! I do not like any of you and I will expose you for being the lazy artists that you are.