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  1. #31
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    Yeah some, on occasion, but I've understood that there's this wide misconception that nearly all of them used it, all the time.

    Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not speaking from experience here, only what the internetz has told me...
    One of the problems is that at certain points in history it would have actually been seen as heresy to use optical devices and could land you in big trouble with the church (like, torture and kill you sort of trouble), so if artists were using them, they had to be very secret about it.

    And besides that, who really cares how someone worked several hundred years ago? I hear that the old masters didn't use email to send in their finals either, but personally I just don't believe that.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    I hear that the old masters didn't use email to send in their finals either, but personally I just don't believe that.
    yeeeah. that's just a little too far fetched for me. I mean, c'mon. How'd they deliver it? In person? pft.


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  5. #33
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    Smile

    Well, I knew the quote was out of context, and as some of you have mentioned, misquoted too.Thats what I get for posting on the last 5 minutes of my lunch break. The spirit of the comment was intact in my head( if no where else lol ) Next time I will take the time to make sure I quote the statement correctly. I apologize for any ruffled feathers. : )

    Honestly though I am glad I got it wrong, because if I hadn't I never would have heard Chris's interpretation of the statement. I love that interpretation of the quote. And while all artist didn't use camera obscuras,many did use grid systems, and sketched from life. Alternate forms of copying but copying nevertheless. I guess what I am trying to say is like art, its a matter of perception for me. Some people will always see anything that isn't formed from pure imagination as copying and that is a perception that we have to get away from.

    Reference is a good thing! ( but only if you quote the reference right lol

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  6. #34
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    Hello, I'm new here. I'm so glad to have read this thread. I've recently experienced personal issues about ref material in my own work. The info. here has really expanded my thoughts on the topic.

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    what if you use a photo but you use only her head
    and you change the hair the nose a bit you do other things with the mouth
    make the eyes bit different ?

    them you make it your own right cause it doesnt look like the photo
    so you wont have trouble with copyrights?

    + your whole style of painting can change everything soo iam a bit confused about this copyright reference thing..

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  8. #36
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    Just wanted to thank Emily G for this post, and everyone else whose input has been given. Great post!

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  9. #37
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    I may be late on commenting, but I'm only now getting around to peeking at stickies. This is an interesting read, especially since when I was younger I was always under the impression that the "Greats" always simply imagined things up, and worked from memory rather than model, which led to many a frustrating decade of studying anatomy and the mechanics of lighting so that I may pull strictly from memory when creating something later.

    What a relief it was for me to discover using reference isn't cheating!

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  10. #38
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    Since this is the kind of topic that may be of use later (until it decends into flamewar) I'm pasting a link here;

    Artist caught using stock photos for a competition.

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  12. #39
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    What a great thread! I've had to rely heavily on photo references for my drawings (bad memory + only started drawing a year and a half ago), and I've only broken away from it 2-3 times, but this has convinced me that I need to make it a habit if I'm ever going to get better.

    5 stars!

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  13. #40
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    The topic of discussion on Gurney's blog today:

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...reference.html

    some good things said

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  14. #41
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    after reading this thread i decided to buy a camera.

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    I have just started photographing my own models and directing a photographer to photograph myself. I had never even known that Norman Rockwell had written a book about his process. After seeing this thread I looked around a just won a copy of his book on Ebay. I can't wait to get this, I really feel like it's going to change everything about how I work. Thanks so much for this thread.

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    Well, I was reading the other thread about great artists who "cheat" by using photos and tracing... but, if that's what the industry is doing you gotta adjust!

    So, I was trying to find information on exactly what you are allowed to do with photos (that you don't take).

    Some of the information here seems to be saying "copy as much as you want, just change it some and you are ok. Such as a different background or play with the hair or something" (even those examples in the pages of the book were copies of pictures just pieced together).

    But then there was the other thread that said "don't use direct main figures, just try to understand what is happening and reproduce it in a different pose / way".

    Well, the 2nd way is a LOT harder to do... would much rather do the first one (for speed and quality).

    Just looking for some solid information on the issue.

    Is it ok to take photos from online and copy the main character (a face or a person or something) ? Is simply removing it from whatever environment it was in or cropping it differently enough to make it safe? Or, do you need to do the hair / costume change thing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    Some of the information here seems to be saying "copy as much as you want, just change it some and you are ok. Such as a different background or play with the hair or something"
    Can you point to any example where someone said that? I wrote in my first post that "There is no rule that says “if you change it X%, then it’s ok.”"

    (even those examples in the pages of the book were copies of pictures just pieced together).
    In the examples from the book, Norman Rockwell hired his own photographer and he owns the pictures.

    Is it ok to take photos from online and copy the main character (a face or a person or something) ? Is simply removing it from whatever environment it was in or cropping it differently enough to make it safe? Or, do you need to do the hair / costume change thing?
    In U.S. courts, the test is if a reasonable observer could look at the original and the copy side-by-side and tell that it is a copy. I do not think removing a character from an environment or changing hair/costume would be enough.

    It is much better to take your own photos. Look at other people's photos for stuff that is hard for you to get access to, but don't copy them too obviously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emily g View Post
    Can you point to any example where someone said that? I wrote in my first post that "There is no rule that says “if you change it X%, then it’s ok.”"


    In the examples from the book, Norman Rockwell hired his own photographer and he owns the pictures..
    Ohhh! I thought those were random pictures he was using for reference. If he owns them...well, he can copy anything he wants from them. How is there a "correct" way of using his own material? Trace, copy, even cut and paste...it's his 100%!


    It's such a tricky subject. I would think if you use even just the pose...someone could tell you copied it (like those disney movies where they "borrow" animation parts from earlier movies and just put different characters / backgrounds in their place).

    Haha, i wish there was a lawyer on the forums ><

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    some more rockwell photos stolen the fantastic mr gurneys blog.

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...nd-camera.html










    should probably add that rockwell shot all of these himself and thus he owned all copyrights himself.

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    This was very helpful! Thanks!

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    I'm so glad this thread was stickied. I was feeling really down about not being able to pull out miraculously dynamic poses straight out of my imagination. This makes me feel much better about using references to help.

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    Might want to add this to the sticky.

    Question:
    So a friend of a friend asked me to do a painting for him. However is not going to be free and when he asked me to do copy from an existing painting I said I will think about it.

    I want the money even if I don't enjoy much making copies. But legally speaking, is this legal?

    Answer:
    It's legal.

    Copyright law protects reproduction... not one-of a kind originals.
    For this reason, you can make a painting of Superman and sell it, but you can not make prints of the painting and sell them.

    The ability to paint what and who you want as a one-of-a-kind work of art (regardless of profit) is protected by the First Amendment.

    Long story short.. you're fine.

    - DSillustration

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    I think, that this site could probably help you with photo references photo-reference-for-comic-artists.com

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  26. #51
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    I was lately thinking about reference. It might be that I'm just lazy but probably deeper reason for not using it is not knowing how. I got used to freedom of drawing entirely from imagination and having something fixed is a bit distracting.

    What do you think about turning photo into something like this below? The idea is that with some sort of puzlle I could reconstruct image in my head but more in my own way. The whole thing is turned black and white to avoid being too influence by photo colors but I included small thumbnail just to get the general mood. Of course it's exclusively for landscapes/environments beacause I couldn't cut figure into pieces and use it efficiently.



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  27. #52
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    Jim Gurney shows an example of Robert Maguire's use of photos:
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...oto-shoot.html


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  28. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhrazz View Post
    Might want to add this to the sticky.

    Question:
    So a friend of a friend asked me to do a painting for him. However is not going to be free and when he asked me to do copy from an existing painting I said I will think about it.

    I want the money even if I don't enjoy much making copies. But legally speaking, is this legal?

    Answer:
    It's legal.

    Copyright law protects reproduction... not one-of a kind originals.
    For this reason, you can make a painting of Superman and sell it, but you can not make prints of the painting and sell them.

    The ability to paint what and who you want as a one-of-a-kind work of art (regardless of profit) is protected by the First Amendment.

    Long story short.. you're fine.

    - DSillustration
    Actually the above isn't true. Here is the law

    The U.S. Copyright statute, Title 17 of the United States Code, protects original works of authorship which includes original artworks. Section 106 of the Copyright Act reserves to the author, or creator, of a work, the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies as well as to prepare derivative works. The definition of copy in the Copyright Act includes any "material objects... from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or other wise communicated...".17 U.S.C. Section 101.The definition of derivative work includes "a work based on one or more preexisting works." Id.

    A deliberate attempt to copy another artist's work would comprise either a copy or a derivative work under the Copyright Act, probably depending on the copyist's ultimate skill in executing their efforts (if the reproduction is truly precise, then it's probably a copy, whereas if it only winds up looking like it was based on the original, then it's probably a derivative work). But regardless of how well the copyist executed their efforts, the right to either copy or produce derivative works from an original artwork belong solely and exclusively to the original creator of the artwork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    There's a huge site about the impressionists' (and pre- and post-impressionists) use of photography here. It's in Spanish, but the navigation is pretty easy to figure out, and there's a small sampling in English here.
    awesome link. thank you!

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  30. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    What do you think about turning photo into something like this below? The idea is that with some sort of puzlle I could reconstruct image in my head but more in my own way. The whole thing is turned black and white to avoid being too influence by photo colors but I included small thumbnail just to get the general mood. Of course it's exclusively for landscapes/environments beacause I couldn't cut figure into pieces and use it efficiently.
    You're overthinking it, methinks.

    When you use a reference there's no need to take anything more than you want from it. You could range from sticking relatively close to the photo as Rockwell did, to collecting a collage of several images that you then draw into one unified image, to studying someone's eyes to get "that look".

    With those trees you posted, if you wanted to make something from that you could go in several directions. Maybe you like the mood of the lighting but not so much the composition, so you could move around the trees in your drawing. Perhaps you like the composition and lighting but don't want to be so literal and "realistic", so you abstract the form of the trees. It is possible that you are more interested in the light leaking through the leaves in the upper right corner, so you crop the image and focus on the branches and leaves.

    A hundred different artists could come up with a hundred very different interpretations. It's not about what the photo shows, but what you decide to take from it and how you choose to represent it.

    There's really no need to literally cut up a reference, because when you are selective towards your ref it will be "cut up" by your mind anyhow.

    Don't let the reference steer your work, direct from your imagination and use the ref to fill in the "blanks" (leaf patterns, bark, foggy lighting, branch structure, grass texture, whatever details you either can't think of or aren't confident about).

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  32. #56
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    I just have to put a fly in this lovely ointment…

    I think this thread is a bit dangerous for many young souls who visit CA.
    They have already got a wrong idea, such as “…many young artists seem to think that reference is some evil crutch that "real artists" don't need. The truth is not only is it ok, it's a damn good idea, and if you aren't using reference you are doing yourself a major disservice!” (J Wilson)

    Emily G, what you’ve said at the very beginning of the topic is so much true and this should be the main point of the thread:

    “Because of his excellent drawing skills, Rockwell can use the reference as the basis to create…” – which means, don’t use tools until it’s time to use them!!

    The point is, yes, the tools (like camera etc) could be used, but only when you’ve already developed as an artist. A professional artist.
    What we see nowadays is, instead of that approach – a pure copying of photographs, or kind of “altering” them, made without any good drawing skills, without knowing anatomy...
    Great masters sometimes use photograph as a reference, but many of you comprehend the word “reference” wrongfully.

    Remember, great masters used their imagination because they trained their hand and memory during all their lifetime! (And prior to that they were making lots of life drawings and lots of copies from previous masters' works.) If you’re great, you simply know what you’re doing, and then you only use a reference when you really need it.

    And excellent examples of Fechin and others mentioned here - only prove my point. This kind of level artists could afford any kind of tools in their work. I wouldn’t even blame them for using Photoshop, but I doubt they’d ever need this at all.

    And Loomis (my opinion of his “system” is for another thread) - his point is hilarious, “…working from a photo… is no more cheating than for a carpenter to work from a blueprint…”
    Yeah, that’s absolutely true – if you want to become a carpenter, not an artist!

    And if you’re talking about a copyright issue of using some well known (or less known) photographs for your own artwork – that’s another topic.

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  34. #57
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    I must differ with you on the point that one must wait until they are "ready" before using a tool.

    It is very valid, useful, and even important, I think, to attempt to use a tool before properly understanding it so as to put your limitations into perspective. How does one know where they truly stand, unless they have failed as well as succeeded?

    To try and work from a photograph and then fail to make a drawing as engaging as the photograph itself, let alone any master painting, can be illuminating. Why and how did the drawing fail? One who never approaches a tool before they are ready, who only moves from one small success to another, never enjoys the benefit of seeing their shortcomings so clearly.

    To unquestionably follow success is very tempting, but no one wants to follow failure and it forces one to engage with their artwork critically.

    However I will give my full agreement in that making the most of a reference takes immense expertise, and that one could provide for every example of a misguided artist who eschews reference a counter-example of an artist who does in fact use reference as a crutch.

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    Wow, this really was helpful!! Also it was very kind of you to spent time writting it for us! : )

    It's interesting how made the same "mistake" by just "copying" most of the poses my references showed without even thinking to change it a little. And yes, this is some kind of "becoming a slave" to that "one-way-possibility". Thank you again for sharing! : )

    It was very helpful!

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    This is a very helpful thread, I agree! Thanks!

    What about caricatures of famous people?
    Loads of people do them! I've done plenty,...for myself or a friend for nothing, and I've never been comfortable about putting them or more caricatures on my site or in my portfolio. Most photos of famous people were taken from a pro photographer or someone. So, the photographer owns the rights, right?
    I see (on the net)some pro illustrators get commissioned to do caricatures, but I'd say someone in that deal has asked for permission or something,...not sure.
    Butt!!!,...lots of people have caricatures of famous people in their portfolio or on their site!???
    I really really would love to do heaps of caricatures, and have a laugh while building my portfolio!
    How?

    If that doesn't make sense,....just ask a question back! :-)
    Thanks!

    Last edited by jsn; January 29th, 2011 at 06:16 AM. Reason: spelling
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    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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