LOOK AT THIS.
LOOK AT THIS AND LAUGH.
But seriously. I was dealing with this person a few months ago in regards to some art theft issues. They had stolen some art, traced some art, and I and several others called them out.
So now she's "getting back" at me by accusing me of tracing.
The only time I ever traced was when I was 7 years old.
OH SNAP STORY TIME GO GET SOME POPCORN OR CHIPS.
So I was 7. Or 8. Something like that. Sonic the Hedgehog was the only thing on my mind at the time. I played the games, read the comics, watched the show. I even wrote half of a Sonic and Tails story that has succeeded in making my fiancee laugh and feel creeped out at the same time because of how damn surreal it was. So on my Dad's birthday, I decided I wanted to draw him a picture of Sonic. Thing is, I was having a hell of a time getting the picture done because no matter what I did, it looked like crap. So I flipped through one of my hundreds of Sonic comics, and lo and behold, there came a perfect image... And I traced it.
I took it to my Dad, smiling with pride, and said "Happy Birthday." He took the picture and looked at it for the longest time. Like, he looked at it like you look for Waldo in a Where's Waldo book. Something didn't look right to him. So he looked me in the eye and asked me, "Envy, did you draw this?"
So like any kid when confronted with such a piercing question, I did what I needed to do. I lied.
Oh how stupid we are as kids. We lie when we know we're lying, and we know people know we're lying, but we lie anyway.
Dad's eyebrow went up.
"I don't think you drew this. I think you traced it. Did you trace this, Envy?"
So there I am sweating bullets, trembling like a Chihuahua without a sweater on. That's what it feels like when you're confronted by the truth in the face of a lie you told. It's a visceral feeling, where you know you need to come clean and confess otherwise the weight in your gut and the electric anxiety running through your veins will only get worse, but at the same time, it feels as though the damn gates of Hell will open up if you fess up.
Finally, I admitted it. I'd traced the picture.
Dad wasn't angry. He was very disappointed. See, my folks have always been supportive of my artistic skills. My Dad in particular. He called me his "Little Rembrandt" and we spent a ton of time watching Dragonball Z, Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing, and most of 90's-era Toonami's other great stuff. He brought me comics, read them with me, and believed in my dream to become a comic artist or cartoonist.
He believed in my skills, what I could do with my own two hands. He was impressed with what I could draw at such a young age, and saw a lot of potential in my future as an artist. So to see that I'd traced, in the face of all the faith he had in me, disappointed him tremendously.
"You should never trace," he told me firmly. "You are more than capable of drawing on your own. It might not be perfect, but at least it will be your work."
So, with my pride flogged and my shame on full display, I decided that my Dad was right. Even while I'd been tracing the picture, there'd been some guilt in me, some personal disappointment in myself.
See, by tracing, I'd basically said to myself "I can't do it; I give up. I won't practice. I'll just take the easy way through this."
And really, that's what I'd done. In my desperation to show my love for my father through drawing a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog (the only way to show love), I took the easy way out and copied someone else's hard work instead of doing the hard work myself. The shame of quitting, of turning my back on my own skill and taking someone else's work, was enough to put me off tracing for good.
That, my friends, was the one and only time I ever traced. When I was young, frustrated in my inabilities, and desperate for someone to believe my skills were great even if I needed to fake them.
But the thing is, my Dad already believed my skills were great. Rather, he knew they were developing. He watched me draw frenziedly each day, devoting reams of paper to characters I made up and stories I made up. He believed that there were good things on my horizon as long as I put my heart into my work and powered through the difficult stuff instead of giving up and just tracing what was giving me problems.
And that very belief is what has pushed me to this day.
When something is hard, or if it seems impossible to draw? Keep practicing. When something is just not coming out right? Keep practicing. When it would just be easier to trace it instead of practicing? Keep practicing.
There are no shortcuts to GIT GUD at artwork (sure Greg Land traces, but screw that guy and his porn faces).
That's what got me to where I am today. My hard work. My practice. My failure after failure after failure in my pursuit to put something on paper exactly how it appears in my head.
I'm working on two informal projects with internet buddies right now, and am working harder and faster than I've ever worked before. I got an assignment on Sunday evening to have 20+ drawings done by Thursday night, and this will be an every-week thing. I will also be getting an assignment tonight to come up with a few title card concepts for a cartoon a buddy of mine will be pitching to Cartoon Network, Frederator, and several other networks. Will it be hard? You bet. Can I do it? You bet.
Why? Because every drawing I do is fueled by the faith that my loved ones have in my abilities. My father, my mother, my fiance, even random people at my job who have seen me drawing on breaks and at lunch (and when I should be working, DON'T TELL ANYONE SHSHHHHH).
So in light of the slanderous post listed above this gigantic sentimental wall of text, I can really only laugh about it. I encourage the rest of you to do the same!
Edit 10/22/14 @ 1:04 pm
LOLOLOL the tumblr post is gonsies. IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE MAGICAL INTERNET FAIRY.