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Does Tracing Help You Learn to Draw?

does tracing help you learn to draw

Does tracing help you learn to draw? The short answer is yes. It might seem like a silly way to learn, but if you do it often enough, you will eventually learn how to draw. Tracing a picture from other artists will allow you to improve your drawing skills, but it also has a couple of drawbacks.

This article will explain why you should start by tracing other artists’ art as a beginner, and even when you are a bit experienced. You will learn why there is no shame in tracing drawings, and that it can be quite beneficial.

Does Tracing Help You Learn to Draw?

Is tracing good practice? Tracing pictures is when you place a piece of paper over an existing drawing and then draw over the outlines using light pencil strokes. This will let you create a rough copy of the original art, which you will then add more details to later.

Is Tracing Good for Beginners?

Although some might say otherwise, tracing does have a lot of benefits for budding artists. To understand them better, you should first understand what goes through the minds of beginners.

The mindset of a beginner is that they want to draw perfectly early on. However, because their skills are still in their infancy, they would usually get frustrated and demotivated. When beginners use tracing, they get a boost of confidence, which makes them want to pursue the craft even more.

Tracing can be used as a tool for studying and building up their basic drawing skills. However, tracing is not ideal for use as the main technique, and the beginner should develop their other art skills.

Benefits of Tracing

What benefits can you gain from tracing as far as improving your drawing skills are concerned? Here are just a few good things you can get from it:

Develops your pencil work – One of the problems that beginner artists have is that they tend to put too much pressure on their pencils when they are doing their preliminary sketches. By tracing over an existing drawing, you can learn how to control your penciling techniques.

Improves your sense of proportion – Another problem that amateur and beginner artists have is problems with body proportions. Tracing will teach you to understand the basic shapes and forms used in drawing.

Teaches you to view objects from other angles – If you have problems with foreshortening or lengthening, or drawing objects from different perspectives, tracing will let you get a grasp of vanishing points, multi-point perspectives, and other composition methods.

Can help you bust out of your art block – Even experienced artists can get into an art block, where they cannot think of anything to draw. Tracing will somehow jumpstart your imagination and would get your creative juices flowing, thus allowing you to come up with things that you can draw.

An effective way to practice – Even professional artists trace drawings, as they find that it is a good way to practice their skills. Beginners can also learn the basic drawing techniques that they will need to further their craft.

Drawbacks of Tracing

tracing good for beginners

Some perceive tracing as cheating – There will always be some artists who will view you as a cheater, mainly because you are copying another person’s art. They see tracing as you taking a shortcut and not going through the traditional path to getting better at drawing.

Tracing will limit your creativity – If you trace too much and too often, you might be limiting your natural creativity and originality. This bad habit will embed an unrealistic expectation of perfection in every project.

Will not let you see the 3-dimensional object – When you trace drawings, you will only be seeing the image as a 2-dimensional object and not as a 3-dimensional figure. You will not be able to learn about space, depth, and distance when drawing.

You will find it hard to break away – Because you feel like your traced drawings look good enough, you will somewhat get addicted to tracing instead of creating your original drawings.

How Do You Learn Tracing?

The most effective way to learn more while you are tracing is to do it consistently and to be conscious of what you are drawing. You need to consistently trace the kind of objects that you want to learn how to draw. This will allow you to somewhat master how to draw said object without additional aids later.

By being mindful of what you are doing, you will be learning the pencil strokes that you will need to do to make the kind of picture that you want.


Does tracing help you learn to draw? Yes, it does. Contrary to what some people believe, tracing other artists’ drawings will allow you to practice the basics of drawing. Some might think that tracing is cheating

However, as long as you do not claim the original artwork as your own, and you only do this as a form of practice and as a tool for breaking out of your artistic block, you are good to go. Although tracing might seem like cheating, if you use it properly, you can improve your drawing skills quickly.

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