Art, in all of its glory, has a lot of different applications and is responsible for many strong opinions. Since drawing is a very subjective form of art, artists use various methods to create their pieces.
The beauty of it all lies in the fact that everyone uses diverse approaches to create stunning works of art. Some of those approaches may include using rulers, grids, compasses, or any other tools that may help individuals reach the desired outcome.
However, some artists don’t approve of using additional tools – they consider them cheating.
So, is drawing with a ruler cheating? The simple answer is no – drawing with a ruler isn’t cheating. Rulers are just aids that can improve one’s precision and lines. It isn’t an automated software that does the work all by itself. On the contrary, without any artistic skills, rulers wouldn’t be of much help at all.
To each, their own should be the main takeaway. Never let other people’s opinions hinder your desire to strive for perfection. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is exactly how artists learn and develop their skills.
It’s not about what you’re using to draw; it’s about how you use it. A child could take a ruler and draw thousands of lines – that’s not art. A true work of art requires much more than that.
There’s so much that goes into creating a drawing that letting others define your expertise by saying, “Oh, they used a ruler to do it, so it doesn’t count,” would be just silly. That just shows their lack of expertise.
A quality drawing is defined by perspective, shading, light sources, composition, ideas, and the message the artist wants to convey.
Why Isn’t Drawing with a Ruler Cheating and Why Some Would Disagree?
Some of them do, while others don’t. But here’s some food for thought – let’s take sculpting as an example. Say there’s an artist who’d like to create a conceptual masterpiece that’s huge and is comprised of many smaller individual elements.
In that case, it’s almost impossible to do it without any help.
He might need assistants to hold down certain parts while the artist puts them together. Or, he might need someone to hold the ladder while he’s doing the upper parts of the sculpture.
Maybe he also uses a carpenter’s level to see whether the piece is straight. Should we brand that as cheating too? No.
But it is also important to observe and try to understand the other point of view. Why do some artists think that using such aids is cheating?
Artists are known to be very proud of the work they’ve done, which is totally understandable. They put in hours and hours into creating something that is beautiful, valuable, and that represents their persona.
Some of them like to take the harder route and not use any additional aids, which often requires double effort and twice as much time. When you put so much energy into your artwork, you tend to feel like you’ve done more than others who use tools such as rulers, compasses, etc.
They feel as though others are taking the easy way out, hence their work shouldn’t be as appreciated. Again, that is understandable, but not fair, especially when it comes to beginners. There are many benefits to using rulers.
They can be great for measuring the distance between objects, creating straight lines, measuring the length of smaller or larger objects, etc. When starting out, these things can be hard to learn.
Have a look at the video below. Do you feel that the artist in the video is cheating? We definitely don’t!
What Should Be Considered Cheating in Art?
Certain things are a huge no-no in the world of art. The whole point of creating art is coming up with something innovative, new, and refreshing. Most artists do it for themselves and to express their feelings and thoughts to others.
However, some people are in it for fame, praise, recognition, or money. For those reasons, they often turn to some unethical practices that are frowned upon by other artists. Here’s what you mustn’t do:
1. Copying Others’ Work
This is one of the worst things you can do. It disgraces you as an artist, and it’s equal to stealing. First of all, true artists take a lot of time to plan out their paintings and drawings. They have to think about the composition, source of light, elements, colors, placement, to name a few.
Creating a drawing is a complex matter, and knowing how to that differentiates great artists from copycats.
It is simply embarrassing to copy other artists’ work and ideas and publish them as your own. It’s okay to use others’ work as inspiration, as something to get your creative juices flowing. But be an artist yourself – add something new, make it your own.
The only time copying would be acceptable is when you’re a beginner trying to improve your skills. However, if you intend to publish the copied work online or anywhere else, make sure to credit the original artist.
That shows that you’re responsible and that you recognize their hard work. It could even be received as a compliment to the artist.
Tracing is a practice where you either take a blank piece of paper, put it on top of an image, and copy the lines onto the paper, or when you print out a drawing and draw on top. By tracing, you’re hindering your own ability to perceive proportion, line placement, etc.
You’re doing nothing else, but following the lines someone else drew. You act as a photocopier machine and don’t add any value to the piece. Tracing can be acceptable for beginners to help them get a feel for drawing long lines. But they shouldn’t do this continuously.
However, if you’re looking to become a well-rounded artist, then you should work on improving your abilities. That means learning how to draw on your own. Tracing will get you nowhere.
Artists need to master the skill of observation. They have to have the ability to see something and be able to transfer it onto paper correctly. By tracing, you’re hindering that ability, which will make the learning process unnecessarily longer. You will lack intuition.
3. Claiming Others’ Work as Your Own
This is something that is the worst sin in the world of art. We have repeatedly mentioned in this article that artists invest blood, sweat, and tears into creating something beautiful and meaningful.
By blatantly stealing their work and claiming it as your own, you’re no better than a thief. This is especially present in the world of social media, where people feel the need to be recognized and increase their following.
There are countless accounts that download images form other artists’ profiles, publish them on their own pages, and claim they were the ones who created it. That is highly immoral and in some countries, punishable by law.
The beauty of art lies in the fact that there are no rules. Art represents the freedom of expression and the ability to create something meaningful that will touch others.
Using additional tools shouldn’t be viewed as cheating because everyone has different techniques and approaches, which is what makes art so unique. However, ethics is an important factor that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Make sure to be respectful of other artists’ work and effort. Put yourself in their shoes and act accordingly.
Can you use a ruler in freehand drawing? Yes, you can use a ruler in freehand drawing. If you think that using a ruler would be helpful and beneficial for your work, then go for it. Many great and famous artists use aids when drawing, so don’t feel embarrassed about it.
Is drawing with a grid cheating? No, using a grid is not cheating, especially if you’re a beginner. Grids can be very useful when learning how to draw because they make the process much easier to understand. Grids help with precision, proportions, and placement. However, when you get more advanced, try to draw without the grid. That way, you’ll become an even better artist.