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Trace pictures, Tracing pictures from your computer, PC.

Image search just incase you don't know.

How to grab content for your next masterpiece just follow the instructions above for image search.

How to grab content for your next masterpiece just follow the instructions above for image search.

Zeitgeist drawing, image made from found components off the web, reconstructed through initial tracing. Mash up pictures with your tracing to crate personal master pieces easy. Take them further with your drawing skills, develop new methods and techn

Zeitgeist drawing, image made from found components off the web, reconstructed through initial tracing. Mash up pictures with your tracing to crate personal master pieces easy. Take them further with your drawing skills, develop new methods and techn


Trace pictures and learn to draw faster and easier. Zeitgeist spirit of the times.

How do you start drawing is a question of first having the tools to be able to draw.

I would suggest a soft 2B, 3B or 4B graphite pencil and some paper. A good paper for starting out with would be cheap computer printing paper and probably the easiest to get hold of.

Now if you have these tools then you next need a desire to want to draw and also something interesting that you want to draw. You might not know what to draw so my advice would be to think of the things you like and then find related pictures by doing a Google image search.

If you go to a Google search page and type in your subject it could be anything, it could be anything you desire like for example robots. On the Google search page in the top right hand corner of the page you will see the word images. Click on the images word and you will get an image search page so this will enable you to do searches for images with Google and you will find many images that will hopefully inspire you to want to draw them.

Grab your image.

When you find an image right click on it to open it in a new window or tab then go to the open window or tab, then in the top left hand corner you will see the text (See full size image) and click on that, it will open in the browser with just the image. Now you can right click the image and then click (Save image as) to save it in a chosen folder, on your desk top, or in my documents then go to the folder, find the image, right click and select Preview. This will open the image for preview which will mean you can center it on the screen and enlarge it if you want to, this will help you, giving you more choice of size.

Cartoon yourself easy for fun.

As was seen in the video above this is very easy and please find a more detailed video below to give you more information about doing this.

Trace pictures grab them off the web.

Trace from your monitor screen.

Flat 2 dimensional images are easier to recreate than real objects because they are already 2 dimensional so you do not have to translate movement or changing light conditions you are copying a fixed image.

The easiest and quickest way to start drawing that I know is to trace the outlines directly from your computer screen by holding the paper onto it with one hand and drawing round the image with your pencil in the other hand. You could also fasten the image to the screen with blue tack if you have some (blue tack is that stuff they use to hang pictures and posters on the wall just in case you don’t know) this makes it a little easier.

The light from the monitor will enable you to see the image through the paper just well enough to draw the outline if you are using very think paper or card this will not happen so it is best to use thin paper or computer printing paper as it is thin.

A word of WARNING if you are using a flat TFT monitor screen, if you are not sure what type of monitor screen you are using ask somebody and find out first.

If you are using a flat TFT screen then be careful because they are soft and if you press too hard with a hard sharp pencil you will damage the screen for ever. If you are using a glass vacuum tube screen and press too hard you will damage the paper and perhaps brake the pencil it is always best to draw very lightly to create a very light outline because you can later make it darker if you want to.

Doing this will enable you to understand how drawings work in an easy way, how shapes fit together and it will give you the opportunity to practice using the tools used for drawing, experiential learning is the best learning there is. It will give accurate construction drawings that will enable you to work these further using free hand methods to turn them from simple line drawings into 3D drawings with shape and form.

Now you can also use these accurate construction drawings to help you find out where all the other shaded areas go by starting out with the lightest areas first and working to the darkest areas later as you progress. If you are using a 2B, 3B or 4B graphite pencil or lead pencil as they are often called then you will be able to produce all the tones, you will need to create a good variation. You can make your tones darker by pressing harder but this should never be done on the computer screen because you cannot see the tone through the paper and (WARNING) if it is a flat screen TFT monitor you will ruin the screen for ever.

Work from dark to light making the darkest areas black and the lightest white do not overdo the shading and try to leave as much of the paper showing as possible this will mean that you do less work but also not overwork your drawing making it flat.

Keep looking at the picture you are trying to draw finding out where the shading goes on your drawing comparing them often, working your pencil from light to dark always so any mistakes can be noticed early on and hidden more easily.

If you do this a few times with different pictures that you like you will learn from experience, you will learn by doing and will improve your confidence, and your drawing skills at the same time. You will learn to understand how to look at lines and recognize when they are not correct so as to improve your accuracy.

There is no substitute for practice as Pablo Picasso was quoted saying “I do the things I can’t do in order to learn to do them right” and that’s what you need to do to start drawing.


Cathy on January 06, 2016:

Hi, can you recommend a small tablet or netbook which has a screen suitable for tracing please?

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on September 09, 2012:

And the band played, hallelujah, thanks, sumba.

sumba on September 08, 2012:


Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on May 08, 2012:

Hi Sarah, what many people don't realize, is that when you go to university or art school, they do not encourage people not to use tracing methods. Tracing is an accepted form of drawing, many graphic designers use it all the time and illustrators also.

In fact they don't even do it this way nowadays, they just use computers full stop, which is even further removed from actual free hand drawing and much of this work still costs a lot of money. Plus these people are still called professional artists, they don't call them professional tracers or computer workers, they call them and the work they do professional, done by skilled professional artists.

Just one more thing, I have used these methods and do use them sometimes but I also draw free hand and I am very good at free hand drawing, which you can see on my other pages. The real trick is to use all methods available to you regularly but these methods will help beginners and people who want or need to get results fast.

Thank you for giving us the value of your own experience, there should never be any shame in being creative the world is mostly made a better place by creative people.

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All the very best, Gareth.

Sarah on May 08, 2012:

I always felt like it was cheating, and I would feel extremely guilty...I still do, but I can't believe I found someone else who does what I've been doing since middle school and actually makes me feel better for what I do. I can shade really well on my own, but I could never quite capture the thing I would want to draw, so I would reference someone else's. I would still credit them, but never let anyone know how I did the drawing. Thank you for giving me some light on what I do.

Rpbert Ah-Tye on July 10, 2011:

Your name is now ingrained in my mind because your argument on the topic of whether tracing is cheating has merit and creditability beyond what I could imagine. I'm not as good as you are in presenting such as argument Gareth but I can understand the logic. For instance consider the great singing artist Frank Sinatra did he steal the words and the tune from composers as he is credited for aiding in the composition in only two songs as I have come to know it. Yet he is one of the great recording artist of all time. He had the style and the interpretation of the original songs and he copied these songs His Way. I do like to draw but it started from tracing in my middle age years tracing yes was always taboo for me even to this day but let us realize the benefits from tracing as you have pointed out an excellent way to learn about the world of art and drawing. As a writer I say there is more to tracing a picture that meets the eye there can also be a world of talent for those who trace just as there was talent in Frank Sinatra the singing artist who copied word for word tune for tune from the composers of his time. Thank you Gareth. By the way google my picture Asian Girl With The Golden Hair.

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on February 18, 2011:

Hi Robert,

You are an asset to me because I know that the easiest way to learn to draw is by tracing and it is not cheating, anything that benefits your learning should never be considered cheating.

I learned to draw the most difficult way possible and then discovered tracing and I imagined that those who really wanted to learn to draw would do what you are saying you do which is try to draw free hand instead of tracing because it builds your confidence and helps you to see.

Thanks for confirming this and your blog is great, Gareth.

Robert Ah-Tye on February 16, 2011:

The more I trace from pictures the more I feel encouraged to draw free hand like the training wheels of a bicycle. I still trace faces in portraits because of the accuracy of computers but the background and figure of the torso and clothes of my subjects are often done by free hand and I really do like the picture I drew I named in my blog Boy In A Sea of Oil. It was painted in oil one of my first oil paintings and it doesn't cost one hundred million dollars like Picasso's Garcon A La Pipe. I like the way the oil colors lay out as I feel it compliments the boy surrounded by a sea of oil not to be confused with oil in the sea by accidental pollution.

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on January 14, 2011:

Hi Robert Ah-Tye

I found Cora Marked Mustache, Audrey Hepburn and others including, Hamsters Have Teeth And Can Draw Blood, all at, IT NEVER TAKES A GENIUS, interesting, thank you, Gareth.

Robert Ah-Tye on January 13, 2011:

One of my drawings entitled Cora Marked Mustache as of now can be googled or typed in an engine search as can my blog It Never Takes A Genius but I confess I am not yet an artist but do love drawing pictures. The tracing can come off much like the training wheels of a bicycle have come off my bicycle and then watch out my ride will take me into the horizons perhaps to paradise. The Cora Marked Mustache was not traced. The painting Dora Maar au chat by Picasso sold for close to $100 million. There is value in painting a picture as well as drawing one no matter what level of skill exists this I do fine true. Thank you Gareth Pritchard

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on October 19, 2010:

Hi Robert Ah-Tye

Thank you for coming back to give yet more positive feedback as it is useful and I am happy you have found it so useful perhaps it will be an inspiration for others also.


Robert Ah-Tye on October 19, 2010:

Thank you for your supportive comment on tracing for it is indeed fun and I am learning about those who have made it and marvel at their pieces of art how such a single drawing can fetch millions for artist such as Picasso. If it weren't for tracing I would not have explored the world of art as art had been one of my worst subjects until I started tracing the images from the Internet and as a writer the words of mine transformed into pictures are precisely true from the proverb a picture is worth a thousand words and thus a civilization is born with the birth of art.

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on April 10, 2010:

Hi Robert Ah-Tye.

I do know that if something is imperfect then someone will be only too glad to point it out but in the same token even if it is perfect some others will also still be happy to criticize regardless and imperfection or perfection is subjective anyway, belonging to its own reasoning.

As for cheating, tracing is most definitely cheating because it must be so much better to spend hours or days trying to draw something accurately when you could have traced it and saved yourself the time. Then to add to this wouldn’t graphic design be so much more fun if you where not allowed to trace, it would be great taking years to complete simple projects and so expensive nobody could pay for the work.

Advertising and design would almost disappear completely as it would be too expensive.

In my mind cheating is when you mislead people into thinking that you didn’t trace it but lets be honest few people are really interested in how you did it so you don’t have to lie because not many people ask.

It is simple really, drawing is only but an illusion and illusion is something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality so if I want to get really pedantic then drawing is its self cheating anyway by its nature because it is misleading.

As for liking to add variations or abstractions that’s what it’s really about pushing the envelope and getting out of the box, testing new ideas that I am pleased to say is by your own admission what you are doing.


Thank you for your time and contribution, Gareth.

Robert Ah-Tye on April 09, 2010:

Thank you for your ideals on tracing as this is what I do sometimes but the guilt of the ease of doing it this way in my mind is questionable the time to color in the subject is tedious and time consuming using marking pens but the color is brilliant and my small circle of friends like my drawings even though I know in my mind it is cheating although I like to add variations or abstractions and you know what they say about imperfect pictures don't you?

Gareth Pritchard (author) from North Wales on March 25, 2010:

Hi Art4Life,

I have traced many pictures and it is all very interesting, I also think if you can do it without tracing it is better because all you need is a tool to draw and a surface to draw on. So the opportunity to entertain yourself and perhaps others is easily accessed, which brings with it a greater sense of freedom, and self actualization.

That I think is super cool, self perpetuated, self indulgent, self actualization and possible opportunities for others to interact, react or be entertained by a mere piece of paper and a pencil.

That has truly got to get as close as we can get to reality green entrainment but we don't have to do it the hard way.

I am very interested in why you think tracing is cheating because without stating the obvious I don't, please could you tell me why do you still think of tracing as cheating?

Thank you for the valuable contribution.


Art 4 Life from in the middle of nowhere.... on March 25, 2010:

I have never traced a picture, but it all sounds interesting...I think, if you can do it without tracing, it is better...I still think of it as cheating..

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