"Artists" doing paintovers and hiding the fact are usually frustrated people in need of fame or at least general appreciation, but they don't want to spend time learning and so they go for a shortcut. Painting and drawing realistic faces is not impossible and it's something that can be learned with efforts, passion and time. But the lamer has no wish of spending time on all that, since he/she is only interested on what comes with it: comments, fame, feeling important, etc. Things that he/she probably doesn't have in real life where cheating is not possible, but that can be achieved in the net.
Lamers doing paintovers are doing bad to themselves and somewhat to the other artists too, since they are choosing not to improve and they are also making the mass believe that painting a realistic human is actually a trivial task. Which is not. And on this topic, I'd like to make you notice that the subject of lame paintovers is almost always the human figure. Dramatic portraits, complex poses, everything is wonderfully easy for the lamer doing a paintover: they just need a good reference and a smudge tool, then hurry up! get fast to deviantART or some other place, to have people with no art education shouting at you that you are too good to be true. And indeed you are not true. You are a fake. To paint and draw the human figure and face and achieve realistic results requires years of studies. It's also interesting to notice that such "artists" are often showcasing an amusing range of quality in their galleries, going from the photoreal portrait to the terribly wrong anatomy of some images made with no tricks. That is: a painting showing a complete understanding of lighting, values, hue shifts, anatomy and so on, side by side with something that lacks even the basics.
Spotting a paintover is actually quite easy most of the times: being the lamer "artist" often lazy and stupid, he/she will probably pick a photo from the net and "paint" on it with few to no changes. So you just have to use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to find the source, and then go cover that "artist" with shame if you like. Try asking them if they can paint that same portrait in a different angle, or if they can change the lighting on that body pose, etc. Then sit and read the pathetic excuses they will find. Really, I suggest you all to use the TinEye technique on every portrait that looks suspicios! And think carefully before believing a portrait is a genuine work of art and not a paintover. Once you train your eye it becomes quite easy to spot most of them.
I did spot many paintovers in the past and it's amazing the range of the answers you get from these "artists". Some answers I got here on dA: a guy did deny it even if his "painting" and the orginal photo are almost a 100% match when overlayed in an image editor. Another one answered something like "hey c'mon I know, it's all a joke". A guy removed all the images from his gallery saying that he was accused of not being honest by someone: I never accused anyone, I just kindly said to him that in my opinion such a behavior is not correct and that a single line of text could fix it all. If you prefer erasing everything from your gallery than admitting reality.. well then you are probably not being honest, and that has nothing to do with me accusing anyone. By the way, no one ever added to the image description the fact that it was "based" on a photo, as I suggested. Of course they won't: they need people to go and comment and make them feel good. Now, if this is not pathetic, then I don't know what it is.
A special paragraph for a guy I found in last days, and that's quite a comic treasure! He blocked me on his account and gallery and did hide my own comment to his paintover! I mean, I just kindly said to him that since the painting was using a photo reference it was maybe a good idea to say it and link to the photo (guess what, a portrait of a beautiful actress); I wasn't rude, I wasn't sarcastic, I was just trying to suggest something that I though was correct. His photo is even having the same goddamn EXIF of the photo he painted over! C'mon! But no way, it's much easier to block, hide and keep collecting faves to boost your ego. I won't say his username and I won't post the side-by-side comparisong I prepared, because I think that could hurt his feelings and it's not my intent. I just hope can read this post and understand what I mean, unblocking me and answering to my comment on his page.
So guys, in the end I say: don't do paintovers! They'll teach you nothing, all the glory you get from them is coming from people that can't actually tell a paintover from an original artwork, and so you can guess how useful such a comment or fave can be. Spend your time studying and creating instead! Drawing is beautiful, painting is beautiful, it's such a great adventure to learn and improve! Do countless doodles, study the artists that inspire you, even copying their art, why not! But you gotta say that you are copying, and post a link to the original, and don't ever paint OVER an existing photo or illustration trying to reproduce it or turn it into some improbable artwork, claiming it's your own creation. You don't need that, you are better than that.
Happy painting and drawing peopleThis journal is partially based on a post on my blog: link to the original blog post
I'm hosting my tutorials on DropBox and the more I post, the less free space I have.
All of my resources & tutorials are free, but if you wanna help me you can use my DropBox referral for creating your DropBox account : that way you'll give to me & to yourself 500MB of extra free space!
This is my referral : db.tt/wBxnfcg
Just click on it and follow all the steps to make the process complete, from the account creation to the client installation. All steps are necessary to make the referral system work!
DropBox is a great free service that gives you 2GB of web space you can use for everything, from sharing to syncing between different computers and mobile devices.