Is it cheating if....

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Existing Light, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I take a negative or positive, project it on a sheet of drawing paper or canvas, trace it, and use the traced image as a template for a drawing or painting?

    The idea to project and trace a slide or neg on a sheet of drawing paper (or canvas if I'm feeling patient enough to paint :smile: ) and then fill in the details later crossed my mind in drawing class today. I know I'm going to give it a try regardless of the consensus here, but I'm just curious what the folks here at APUG thinks.
     
  2. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Not cheating at all. Many artists used a camera obscura for this very action, in order to get the angles/perspective right in drawings and paintings. You are just using a negative/positive instead of a room/camera; same action, different equipment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_obscura
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I guess it might be considered cheating in a class if one of the purposes of the class is to teach you to be able to draw realistically, without such an aid :smile:.

    Otherwise, go for it.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I don't have a problem with projection.

    I know that many artists over the years have at least used photo prints in place of models, Georgia O'Keeffe for one.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is cheating if it is against the rules. So, if your work is governed by rules, maybe it is cheating. It would depend on the rules...if there are any. :D
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    It was the technique that prompted Fox Talbot to get thinking about the possibility of photogrpahy, per last nights perusal of my recently acquired copy of 'the keepers of the light'.

    If it is supposed to be a freehand drawing class, then I think the technique is beyond the ethical limits of what the instructor expects.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    it is a good skill to have.
     
  9. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I'm aware of the camera lucida and camera obscura, but they didnt cross my mind, I guess since I was thinking of tracing an image on film projected by an enlarger instead of tracing a scene right in front of me. :smile:

    I know it's against the rules for my class, so I wont be turning them in for a grade. I'm hoping I can use this technique to make some sort of displayable image from slides and negs that are slightly out of focus, have a noticible amount of camera shake, or the horizon line is so out of line that I have to crop too much off the sides when straightening the image up (my eyes are still young, but they have trouble seeing all the little details in a 35mm camera viewfinder :D ). I'm going to think of this as an adventure in art :D
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    If I was doing this (and I have thought about it) I would attach the paper to a sheet of Perspex (Plexiglass) and project the image onto the rear. That way you will not be working in your own shadow.

    A slide projector would probably be better than an enlarger for this as it is designed to project horizontally unlike most enlargers.


    Steve.
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It is cheating, because it limits you to things you can first take a photo of.
    If you know how to draw from life, you're much more free in your choices.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    It is not cheating unless you are bound to rules that prohibit it. It does let you draw things you cannot observe from life. Consider the old question of whether a horse at a gallop gets all four feet off the ground. Photography determined that the horse did, and that most artists for millennia had drawn the legs in the wrong positions. Using photographs also permits a high degree of accuracy. I've been projecting slides and negatives and tracing the images for almost 60 years. That provides accuracy. Then the drawing or painting has to be brought to life through interpretation.
     
  13. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Not cheating but be aware most informed viewers will be able to tell it was drawn from a photograph. Photos restrict an image in terms of tonality and perspective. I sometimes use an enlarger tilted through 90 degrees to trace from but that is using multiple negatives and positives for a particular effect. If it's a short cut to learning perspectival drawing I'd give it a miss, if it's a visual experiment, go for it.
     
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  15. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I think you've just described my feelings on the matter.

    I like the idea of being able to get the perspective "perfect" and making displayable images of my slides and negs in a non-photographic medium. I put the word perfect in quotations because I know it's possible to distort perspective in camera (obviously more so with LF), and I'm assuming I got the perspective I wanted before I pressed the shutter.

    Now that the idea has grown in my head, I've began thinking of all the possible problems:

    1) tracing a projected image in the dark
    2) making sure the paper doesnt move (tape?)
    3)Should my black and white shots stay in black and white and should my color shots be drawn (or painted) in color?


    Guess I'll figure that out later today when I get home and can attempt to do this :D
     
  16. Maris

    Maris Member

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    It is possible to go beyond tracing projected photographs at the cost of some labour. By using a soft pencil, say 6B, and filling in all the light bits of a projected negative until an even tone results the outcome is a graphite drawing.
     
  17. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    Of course it is cheating. If you resort to things like that, you will never be better than the hacks who have done it in the past -- no account losers like Norman Rockwell.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Who says it's "cheating"!?
    Get real. Do as you please, as you please, for the result that pleases and stuff the "rules" opined by the masses. Be different and successful for yourself.
     
  19. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Maris: It is possible to go beyond tracing projected photographs at the cost of some labour. By using a soft pencil, say 6B, and filling in all the light bits of a projected negative until an even tone results the outcome is a graphite drawing.

    I was hoping someone would bring this up. It is a really nice technique, and not all that laborious if you are interested in a pictorial effect. A fairly contrasty negative works best, and you can rework the finished image, adding or removing details, or changing emphasis, if your skills are up to it.
     
  20. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    Looks like we have one thing in common: we're not fans of norman rockwell. :smile:
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Hyper-realist enthusiasts in the 1970s exactly reproduced colour transparencies on large canvases, it turned out to be a visual dead-end. Drawings from photographs tend to lack the slight binocular distortions and visceral response to 3-dimensional objects in space that make drawing from life so compelling.
     
  22. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    This is done all of the time in many art schools (believe me, I've been to a few) and it's not cheating in any way - please go ahead. Image creation is what it is - there are never any rules so it's impossible to cheat.
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    David Hockney produced an interesting TV programme and a book about the use of the lucida in art and showed several examples where he thinks a lucida was used by the artist. Some of these examples show that the artist moved the device around to paint different parts of a scene which in some cases created some odd perspectives and the occasional arm or leg which did not look possible or to scale.


    Steve.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2010
  24. Removed Account2

    Removed Account2 Inactive

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    It has been stated, and supported by research that the great Leonardo da Vinci used this tecnique! If anyone running a art clas has a problem with that, remind them that Leonardo is the all times best artist -and engineer ans sci-fi writer that ever lived - by far!

    It has also been suggested that Leonardo was able to make photograps with his camera, by some kind of tar process I'm told, but was not able to fix the images, wasn't it Talbot who did that? (Daguerre was on a totally different track with a process that would have been banned today within minutes, utilizing mercury vapors.....)

    To my mind, using a camera obscura would actually enhance a drawing class, since it frees one from mundane tasks, allowing more time on the details, and the details is what matters in drawings.

    Compare this to a class in math, 15 years ago calculators was banned, and the pupils had to climbe ever mountain in the learning process by hand. Today they all use calculators leaping by bounds from peak to peak in the process.
    Its not comparable, they don't learn to do small change in their head, but really no nedd to since the change comes up automagically on a screen at counter!

    I'd say go for camera obscura and revolutionze drawing class!

    If I had one of those new desk-screens, i'd pick up drawing & painting in a minute! The end result is NOT a photograph.
     
  25. JDP

    JDP Member

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    What you may find, in any case, is that once you have traced out many images from projected photographs, you will be able to do the same free-hand anyway. It is a great aid to learning to draw/paint perspective properly. As has been said many famous artists did this and the influence of photography on fine art is very apparrent after 1850 (at least in Europe).
     
  26. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I've always thought Caspar Friedrich was the all time best artist :D





    That's a possibility that's crossed my mind, and I will do that if I need to.




    I did try tracing a slide for practice last night on a sheet from a sketch pad . I got the outlines traced; all that's left, I guess, is to add shading and fill in some details :D