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deviantART approved

Tracing is the act of copying another piece of artwork. It is usually done by third graders and tartlets. Tracing, or "omg traced >:(" and "TRACING IS NOT ART! AAAA!" are usually the war cry of talentless furry and weeaboo kids who claim that their so-called original artworks have being traced in seek of pageviews.


Slow method is slow. Just run "Live Trace" in Illustrator.

So you're in high school, and you've already decided that you're going to be a famous manga-ka when you grow up. But how to start out? The world of art can be a big and terrifying place. Fortunately, you recently found out about a wonderful site called DeviantART that hosts online galleries for amateur artists from some of your fellow artist-aspirants. Even more pretty, tracing in the fanart section is even legalized. As read here The only problem is that you're too damn untalented to spend the time and effort to learn how to draw. I mean, you have Neopets to take care of, hugs to give out, a Gaia avatar to dress up, a LiveJournal to maintain, a Sonic fanfic and an Invader Zim Slashfic in the works, and a pile of yaoi manga to read. Not only that, but you must also attend to an ever-increasing buildup of messages from talent agents and admirers parading through your dA inbox. These days, nobody has time to draw when they could be busy wasting it on petty, social networking-related gossip.

With such a busy schedule, how can you possibly find the time to make up for your blatant lack of skills? The answer is simple: You trace existing artwork.

Tracing causes drama

Silly furry, tracing is for Tartlets!

One of the numerous things that causes TARTlets to become massively butthurt and proceed to cut themselves is the idea of stealing artwork. They will preach the depravity of art theft like gay Republicans who insist they are straight. Like all teenagers, they will violently deny tracing if they are caught/accused of it, despite mounting piles of evidence or public outcry from their fellow TARTlets. Another fun outcry for them is "I used the grids!". Grids are for fags. End of story.

Also a lot of the tracers who happen to be highly watched in DA are supported by uncaring fans who will believe anything or refuse anything that's against their artist despite the evidence is right in front of their faces. For them, only the final result counts and in final, guess what brings thousands of pageviews? a nice, anatomically correct drawing traced from a porn photo, a recoloring or vectorizing of a picture you take? these techniques allows you to make something popular, and for this, the anti-tracing brigade will never forgive you for a simple reason, it's raining fav's on you now, for least you got some little photoshopping skills, anybody, regardless of the moral of ethic can make something epic, and by the way troll a thousand screaming furry drama whores.

hell, you can even pretend selling some prints with that, now the DA-mods stopped to care, and being pointy about it... unless you have some morals and decide to develop your own style, but if you suck, you suck. period.

Another Example of Tracing Drama

Tracing is OK on DA!

Even DeviantART staff supports tracing!

Thanks to the closet dyke and our most hardworking admin evar Chix0r, the tracing is now AWWWWWRIGHT by the devianTART Policy as seen here [1]. This shitty article started the rage of the Over 9000 devianTARD, bawwing artists, while at least 400 tracing faggots rejoiced for being safe from banhammer if they put the reason why they made shitty tracings of the already shit art. DeviantART now expects an avalanch of traced shits, vectors, plagiarism and art theft, what the site always been about since ten years of course, and best of all; the priceless butthurtness of a thousand raging talentless deviants.

In conclusion, since tracing is not against the real law on intellectual property and copyrights, and in fact, never have been; the admins finally realized they have just better things to care about, like focusing on real violations, maybe?

The remaining art communities caring about this form of art theft :


Overpaint (aka paintover or "grid drawing") "artists" are the X-TREME version of a tracer. They take cheating to a whole new level. Basically, if you suck at life, taking some stock photos and painting over them may be for you! In fact, there are handy dandy programs that show the image right next to your drawing space with a nice little grid to make tracing someone else's photo - I mean, "your art" even easier, faster and more exact!

Scientific research has proved that these internet fucktards, often obsessed with perfect beauty, are just frustrated wankers that pretend to be gifted with superior painting skills on forums.

In fact overpaint scam artists spend their whole days "networking" with other fucktards instead of actually practicing stuff that could increase their non existent skills. Much of those days are spent actually writing slash fiction and fapping furiously as basic photoshop filters can do the same job much faster. Debunking of such delusional retards spurs superior lulz and drama, as their friend artists will blindly try to ignore all the evidence.

The real kicker? This form of tracing is older than computers and is considered an actual artform when used correctly.

As one actual artist explains what "correctly" means:

Nobody is defending those who trace in preference to knowing their trade and neither is anyone suggesting that tracing should be done all the time. There are, however, occasions for which tracing is necessary and prudent. If an art director tells you they require exact liknesses of person X, Y and Z by Friday then what are you going to say? No? And if you think a "true" artist could paint from reference as fast as they could trace then you're wrong. (...) If an artist approached their craft from the same perspective and traced everything they painted then I'd agree with you, it's a cop out.


  • It's not a style: Correct, it's a technique.
  • It's a shortcut: Correct, exact likenesses are a pain when you want/need it done fast.
  • It's a copout: Correct, when that's all you do and you can't make art without it.


Trace supporters About missing Pics

See Also

A Japanese fanartist shows their love for Touhou.
remember kids even you can get a job as a tracer

Lazy artists are lazy... and often lulz cows.


List of DeviantArt Clubs Fighting Tracers!

Deviantart-favicon.png stop-tracing:Furries against tracing!

Don't be afraid, the real, lawful and original artists are getting organized and develop their comparison techniques everyday to determine if a picture is traced, and if the case, which is the original! if not, eyeballed.

You are now afraid of these people, one day they will make tracing against the law, and you will be doomed to draw terrible crap, forever, unless you use some common sense and pic any good picture on the internet and create something worth of it like every more or less popular "artist" does.


Tracing is part of a series on


Visit the DeviantART Portal for complete coverage.

Tracing is part of a series on Internet Humanitarianism
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Tracing is part of a series on


Visit the Furfaggotry Portal for complete coverage.

Featured article January 29, 2008
Preceded by
Tracing Succeeded by
Featured article November 4, 2008
Preceded by
Tracing Succeeded by
Saint Hill