Traced bases and tracing reality – Draw your own damn stuff!

I’ve seen so many people on art websites such as deviantART submitting traced anime bases from various artwork. I see stamps like this one (which I totally agree from) get so many flammatory comments from people saying “i use bases cuz my drawing sux, i learn to draw using bases, i kno human anatomy from them, i hate u ANIME BASES R ART >:( etc” which are all ridiculous replies as denials. Let’s just say I’ve recently got an attack from someone and read some of the denial commentary on the deviation so I was inspired to type this up in response.

To get back on topic, this is so wrong in so many ways it’s not even funny. I personally hate seeing my favourite anime/manga, cartoons, and beautiful artwork made by individual artists being traced into a base and gets visually destroyed by some noob who uses the mentioned excuses from the above. It isn’t just the traced bases but tracing in general.

Okay boys and girls, do you really want to know the truth behind traced work? I’ll do a demonstration right here:

1. Let’s make a base off of one of my old drawings (as much as to my own disgust) shall we?

Boy that sure didn’t take long to trace off of. That took hardly 10 minutes of my time to do so. As you can tell, there are so MANY anatomical errors still seen within this base. Even if you trace off of professional artist work such as by CLAMP, you’re never going to get 100% of the original content being done and there will always be errors in your traced work. So much for knowing human anatomy rules by tracing anime bases. *rolls eyes*


“THIS BASE ISNT BY ME ITS FROM *insert generic photobucket image link here ending in .gif, .jpeg, .png, .bmp, or other acceptable web image formatting*”

Oh that’s just lovely, you added hair, clothes, changed the eye colours, and only posted a link to an image of no credit value to any mentioned artist(s) whatsoever. Awesome. You’ve got your Mary Sue of an OC, Sakura Midorikaizowa Japanese word that doesn’t exist that you just made up. You know how to draw now ammirite? And you still think you’re learning the human anatomy by doing this. Gotcha.

3. Wait wait? What happens if we do this?

“WTF?! how dare u do dat to mah drawing!!!” you said.

That’s the reality of what you’re doing and I’m just showing it. You’re merely just adding hair, clothing, and colour changing on a base. If you’re making the human anime base into a furry, you’re just adding a few ears, tail, changing the skin and eyes, and that’s about it. Nothing else.

You’re not drawing the human body. You’re tracing from a base that isn’t even anatomically correct in the first place. You don’t know how the hands, limbs, feet, torso, legs, arms, and other main human body features work. You don’t know how lighting sources work on your subject (I don’t have any shading in my demonstration only because this is typically seen around dA — no shading at all). You visually ruined a beautiful piece of artwork made by someone else thanks to your noob skills.

With that in mind, don’t rely on bases and use the excuse that it “teaches me how to draw” because it doesn’t as mentioned in the above. Making your OWN bases (not from other people’s work unless you’ve obtained direct permission from them)/using someone’s original bases and adding your own touches to them is fine — just don’t say “it teaches me how to draw” because it technically still follows the steps from the above.

Come on, tracing work was childhood.

“but my art sucks that’s why i use bases”

Saddest excuse ever. I repeat, saddest excuse ever. How the hell do you think the professional artists got to where they’re at today? Duh, by drawing their own stuff and by practicing! I may not be a professional but look at this drawing that I’ve done 7 years ago (the date that I posted it into my dA gallery is 2006); it was my very first CG that I’ve done in 2005 where my brother helped me get into digital art. I didn’t trace but rather I used a reference and kept it to my own style.

Take another look at this drawing. This is my first legit CG that I’ve done in Photoshop 7, 6 years ago; all on my own. If you want, feel free to browse around my scraps section on my deviantART which contains almost all of my old work (unfortunately I regret deleting some of my old pieces and I do not have access to them anymore due to the laptop back then having broken down).

Now compare them to my present day work. Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4. Huge leap from the years if you ask me, and I still have plenty to improve on. I never had to use bases, ever. The only bases I used were the ones that I made 100% on my own.

I also can’t tell you how many tutorials out there on deviantART that are lifesavers. If you want a starting point, head onto my art resources by others page.

Ahem with that said, get yourself together and start practicing people; you’ll feel proud of your improvement and achievements like I do.


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