1001 DRAWINGS - HOW TO TRACE? - RRANÇAIS - ESPAÑOL
     
  How to trace?  
                 
 

Tracing doesn't require any experience or drawing ability!

Everybody - from the smallest child to the most aged - can trace pictures. Many people with developmental disabilities love to trace.

In contrast to the conceptual work of an artist, 1001 Drawings involves tracing the picture as it presents itself to the eye, in its own reality, and not according to the preconceived ideas - and ideals - each person might hold.

 
                 

Tracing requires no costly materials.

 

A piece of paper and a few crayons are all that is needed. You can find small drawing paper blocks and coloured pencils for almost nothing in dollar stores.

To simplify the process, model drawings will be provided on this site. You can download, print, and make copies of them.

To trace a drawing, simply place a piece of white paper or tracing paper on top of the model drawing and use paper clips or tape to keep the sheets of paper together while you trace.

Trace the picture and colour it in, using pencil crayons or any other method you prefer. Add a few words inspired by the image.

If you don't have the necessary materials, or are working with very small children, it is still possible to participate by printing and then colouring in the model drawings available on the website.

 

 
                 
 
If you use regular printer paper and find it too opaque, simply put both sheets of paper on a piece of glass and orient it toward the light source, or use a small light table. You can also trace during daylight hours by taping the pattern and the tracing paper on a window.
 
   
      Small, pre-assembled light tables can be found in art and craft stores.  
                 
 

A Word from the Illustrator
about the model drawings

The model drawings you will find on this site were faithfully and tenderly traced from photographs that were sent to me. The images were simplified slightly to make the tracing process more accessible to people who are unfamiliar with the practice of drawing.

In no way have I sought to correct, embellish or make what I saw in the photographs more aesthetically pleasing. This, I promise you, was a serious exercise in concentration for me, having been trained all my life in techniques aimed at making images more attractive and original.

In fact, for my self-esteem as a professional illustrator, the gesture of tracing a photograph is truly an act of humility.

I was born into a social and family environment with a certain artistic pretentiousness about it, and in this context it was considered quite unacceptable to copy or trace an image. Credit was only given to the ability to create interesting and original images using real life as inspiration as little as possible.

Driven by this quest for artistic performance, I become a cartoonist, a professional illustrator and even a ‘’contemporary artist’’. The paradox was that although I liked the idea that I formed in my mind about the images I was going to create, the actual act of drawing was arduous and painful for me. Why was that? Simply because the search to perform imposed a lot of pressure on the process, and my mind was always judging the results long before the drawing was finished!

Gradually, I became aware that the creation of an artistic image sometimes even became a form of refusal to see life the way it is, in its greatest simplicity, by constantly trying to superimpose something ‘’more’’ which both masks and shadows reality.

Afterwards, I practiced photography for a long time, which was a way for me to bow to the subject’s reality and to honour his or her human dimension.

I was also initiated to the sacred art of iconography, in which the craftsperson humbly reproduces traditional models.

Finally, to make this long story short, to my great surprise I came upon the practice of adhering with compassion to the reality experienced by human beings by tracing their image (something which is, for me, not far from the practice of the washing of feet).

It may seem ridiculous to have developed so many skills and so many techniques to finally reach the point of simply tracing photos!
And yet, I have never felt so much peace and happiness to be alive as when I join small children and all the other people who are humble or ‘’simple’’ enough that they are glad to tenderly trace the lines that form the image of another living being!

When I take the time to draw someone, whoever he or she might be in this world, it is, for me, a way to whisper from a distance – you are important to me; I accept and welcome you into my heart, just as you are!

I invite each of you, simple and less simple, to practice this tiny gesture in the greatest simplicity!

Happy drawing!

J.E.