Tracing In Comic Book Art

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Comic book fans are a passionate group of people. I’d go as far as saying borderline psychotic at times.

When they find something they don’t agree with, they can become worse trolls than the people who blow into the microphone on Xbox Live (Bastards!)

One area that has garnered a lot of angry critics in recent years is the art of both Greg land and Salvador Larroca, or should we say the art that Land and Larroca have copied.



That’s why I was a little uncertain of how to proceed when I was approached by Ricky.

Ricky is creating a comic that hopes to solve the problem of completely mental and mostly impossible fight sequences in comic books. He plans to do this with Rotoscoping, a technique that has been used in animation for years which basically involves tracing the frames of film to create a cartoon.

He explains it much better than I have over on the Kickstarter page for the book. You can find out more about the process here.

But what do you think? Legitimate attempt to improve comic books or taking the creativity out of creating?

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Comic Book Kid is an outlet for all the things my girlfriend has banned me from talking about to her. Follow me on Twitter - @ComicBookKidUK or check out my personal account for the same subject matter with a much less formal approach - @AdamJSnape


  1. I’m not sure about the Rotoscoping thing but as far as general Comic Book artist go I think tracing is shameful. I understand the use for reference, there’s plenty of good comic artists out there that take photos of themselves as reference and use it which is clever. Sean Gordon Murphy is one that I know that uses himself and the people he knows to enhance his drawing skill, as an Artist I know how hard drawing certain things can be, and if you want to make a image unique you may have to use reference.

    But, flat-out tracing I think is a big no, no. There’s so many amazing artists like Francesco Francavilla or Greg Capullo or JH Williams III that never trace, and perhaps they use reference for certain things but they use their talent to create these amazing pieces and it’s sad to see artists getting the same wage-slip or perhaps even more for not putting in the effort these artists do.

    The Comic Industry is a very tough industry work in but I believe the people that work there should earn their keep and deserve the credit they get but I don’t think people that so obviously trace should deserve to have that “fame”.

  2. This hurts, because I love Larocca’s work on Invincible Iron Man, and Land’s work on Daredevil, but out and out uncredited lifting of someone else’s art is just not on. I appreciate that the turnaround times for professional comic book artists are fierce, especially for a massive company like Marvel, but when you’re working to that standard you’ve kinda got a responsibility to set and maintain that standard.

  3. Tracing photos you’ve taken yourself (or 3D models for that matter) is fine in my book. It’s just another way to create your final result.

    …But, tracing a photo that you’ve found on the internet is not cool in my book. I’ve always found that to be quite shady, at that point the lines of whose work that is start to get a little blurry.

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