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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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  4. #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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  5. #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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  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    Emily G, thanks for this thread! I'm constantly surprised at how 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!
    Thats pretty much me

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  7. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtznCraphs View Post
    It is if you group Old Masters as a whole. But it's been widely accepted that Vermeer was one who did on occasion. To say that any use of it was a myth is the same as saying real artists' don't use photo reference.
    Widely accepted by people who have never used a camera obscura, I'll betcha. I've used one (a reproduction at a museum), and a modern overhead projector, and a photographic enlarger (as a tracing aid)...and light tables, pantographs, grids and pretty much every other device ever dreamed up with for working directly from reference. (In renderings of machinery they want accurate, they want fast and artsy is barely an afterthought).

    I've got to tell you, even with modern projection equipment using bright electrical light sources and good lenses, it's VERY difficult to draw from a projected image. If you turn up the room lights enough to see what you're doing, you can't see the projection. If you turn down the room lights to see the projection, you can't see what you're doing. And the MOMENT you make a mark, you are no longer projecting that information onto a white surface, but a dark one. You ever projected an image onto a dark surface? Oh, and then there's your hand shadow. And keystoning.

    Now imagine doing all this without electrical lights and dimmer switches and focusable lenses, but with candles and tents and pinholes and sunlight.

    I. Don't. Think. So.

    Drawings done from projected images have a distinct 'look' about them (until they're worked over by a decent draughtsman). A jerky, spikey, wavery, hesitant look...like the person couldn't quite see what he was doing. Because he couldn't. Does that sound like Vermeer to you?

    Vermeer's specular highlights are round, just like highlights seen through an unfocused lens, and that's what gave the original bright spark the idea that he worked with a camera obscura. You know what else makes round specular highlights? Paint that is looser and oilier than the stuff we're accustomed to. And that's clearly what Vermeer worked with.

    Ummm...sorry to come completely unstrung here, but every time I read that assertion it makes me The proper use of reference entirely aside, it's just not technically feasible pre-electricity. If you ever get a chance, try it. It's a cinch the 'experts' never have.

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  9. #37
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    Im glad this thread exists. Never has an art teacher told me to even bother looking at pictures for sources of references. It's so obvious now. I'm 18 (Soon to be 19) and have yet to be told by any of my art teachers about this stuff. Guess there are some things that going to college can't teach you about art.

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  10. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by AeonPhoenix View Post
    Never has an art teacher told me to even bother looking at pictures for sources of references .
    pld:


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  12. #39
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    Stoat,

    You are absolutely right about Vermeer's paint. If one uses pure white lead in linseed oil (no additional fillers) and your paint is oilier than what normally comes out of the store-bought tube, the combination of the oily paint and the wonderful natural ropiness of white lead results in very beautiful, and very easy to achieve, white dot highlights.

    I can achieve a tinier highlight with pure white lead in oil than I can with pure titanium white in oil. The secret is the ropey stringy quality of pure white lead. White lead is the best paint of all!

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  14. #40
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    Just adding to the topic:

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    Comic artists

    A hell of a lot of comic artists obviously use figure reference. Bryan Hitch and Tony Harris are examples. As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it's how they use the reference that matters. Hitch manages to imbue a dynamism to his work (Ultimates, etc) , whereas Harris' work (War Heroes) can look stiff sometimes.

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  17. #42
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    Yeah I just wanted to also pass on my appreciation and thanks for the thread. Its really insightful and makes me even more motivated now. Cheers!

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    If your just trying to learn about anatomy or surface materials etc just copy the photos or from life straight up. Once you have them memorized somewhat then get more creative with the references and change it up a little.

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  19. #44
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    Thanks Emily !....these are all great reminders.....and you won't find them at the box stores these days.

    now.....how to get the time and money to do all this.....food for another thread lol


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  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    pld:
    Isn't it sad? It actually wasn't until IMC 08 where I had anyone ever tell me that reference was not only 'ok' but was a very legitimate tool. Well actually, you told me that 1st in the beginning of the year here on CA. But yea, seems the difference between teachers and professional painters on methods seems to be drastically polarized at times.

    Frustrating for me as a student still. The general consensus among my art teachers seems to be that you do life drawing so you can do a painting and not use reference. Everything is so much better now that I use reference for them.

    Thanks for the thread Emily!

    Last edited by Blue; November 16th, 2008 at 11:29 PM.
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  21. #46
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    Hello comic artists!
    If you are looking for some very good photo references try this site: http://www.photo-reference-for-comic-artists.com

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    Think 3D

    Even though we're all 2-D artists here... we should always think of ourselves as manipulating 3-D objects.

    This Rockwell guy seems to be just collaging photos, putting almost all his characters in the same positions and with the same lighting in the picture as in the reference, which doesn't require the 3-D knowledge that a conventionally more 'imaginative' artist uses. I mean, reference should be about collecting a visual library, yes - but of 3-dimensional objects, not collage components.

    If you've got the object in mind, rather than the photo, you're not copying, you're collecting ideas which you can combine, mimicking very closely how the imagination works, but with the added bonus of conscious control over what you're doing.

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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post

    Frustrating for me as a student still. The general consensus among my art teachers seems to be that you do life drawing so you can do a painting and not use reference. Everything is so much better now that I use reference for them.
    the next time an art teacher tries to convince you this, then please ask them what happens if someone commissions you to do a painting of an amazon jungle scene? Are you supose to catch a flight directly to the scene, then wait patiantly while all the animals you need in your picture gradually come around you in order for you to start some real painting, and then fly straight back?, btw this has all got to be done with a week, possibly 2. Of course not, it is totally impractical for any modern day artist to rely on real life painting alone, majority of time useing reference is a must. And the simple fact is if past masters had the same technology then as we do now, im pretty sure they to would have used it.
    just one last thing, i need to do a dinosaur scene, does anyone here know where i can get myself one of those time thingies

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    thanks a lot for this thread, im one of those stupid stupid people that very frequently become "enslaved" by their reference.
    glad to know it isnt a sin to not copy everything directly. im gonna try and apply this more. ta

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  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkseraph57 View Post
    This Rockwell guy seems to be just collaging photos, putting almost all his characters in the same positions and with the same lighting in the picture as in the reference, which doesn't require the 3-D knowledge that a conventionally more 'imaginative' artist uses. I mean, reference should be about collecting a visual library, yes - but of 3-dimensional objects, not collage components.
    If ignorance were fried chicken, you'd be Colonel Sanders.
    (Mind you, I agree with pretty much everything else you've said, but using Rockwell as a counterexample is about as wrong as wrong gets.)


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  27. #51
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    at college we have always been told to use references but when possible to take our own photographs because then you at least own the copyright. the more i do it the more i think using references well is as much a skill as anything else

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  28. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterhurman View Post
    using references well is as much a skill as anything else
    Absolutely. Taking a good ref, and then using it well, is a skill all it's own.

    The "Show Your Reference" from a while back (which I've considered necroing recently) really shows the power of shooting your own ref and controlling those "3d" elements that darkseraph57 was referring to. On top of that, not being a slave to the ref (what this thread kinda already covered) is also critical.

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  30. #53
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    Emily, Thank you for this thread, the comments are good too, you did great research on this. More examples would be great to see... please.

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  31. #54
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    Heres some really good info about how to use references!

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...reference.html
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=62796

    I think this topic is one of the most intresting topics on the forum!

    Tnx for make it!



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  32. #55
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    Great thread, I don't use a lot of reference in my work, but I'm sure going to start. Thanks for this! Magnifique!

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    More from gurney journey...using an example from andrew loomis



    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/06/too-smooth-tones.html


    Using photo reference correctly

    Too-Smooth Tones
    When he translated his reference photo into a painting, Andrew Loomis softened the edges and subordinated the unimportant small forms. For example, he simplified the details under the model’s left hand, and eliminated the delicate tracery in the lower half of the dress.

    To idealize the figure, he made the head of the model slightly smaller in the painting than it appeared in the reference.

    He was also conscious of breaking up the flat tones of the photo.

    “One of the main things that identify a photo as a photo,” he wrote in his classic book Creative Illustration, “is the ultra-smoothness of the tones.”

    Where the photo presented monotonous values, such as in the pillows behind the model’s shoulders, he activated the surface with painterly variations.

    “Note the accents placed here and here of dark against light, to add punch,” Loomis says. “The lights have been forced somewhat to obtain extra brilliancy. The background has been lightened in spots to avoid the monotony of tone in the photo.”


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  35. #57
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    This a wonderful thread as it clears up a lot of misconceptions about using references. Thank you very much for this contribution to the community.

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  36. #58
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    Interesting story on NPR today about Rockwell and photography...

    Behind The Lens: Norman Rockwell's Photographers, A Mixed Picture
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow.../rockwell.html
    The Jacki Lyden recording

    Last edited by Jasonwclark; December 1st, 2009 at 12:32 AM.
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  37. #59
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    Awesome topic and thanks to everyone who showed interest in this because it helped me a personal example,i mostly draw from my memory and imagination.Wherever i go i try to remember everything i see for example a night out with your friends,try and put in your mind anything you like.Use what you saw in your art.Observing and remembering is a key to have a richer memory for your artworks.
    I sometimes use photo reference to observe it and remember it and then draw my artwork based on it if want to do a study.Other times i munipulate it like a 3D model as my mind was a computer and make out my own image.Thanks again for the helpful posts.

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    This thread is great. I have been trying to get this straight in my head for a while. It has reaffirmed my belief in gathering tonnes of reference to produce the thing you want. Film making is a good example; directors as well as actors spend all their time researching the appearance of so many things. This is great. And nice to see the rating up where it should be.

    Last edited by Marine_Blue; March 29th, 2010 at 07:13 AM.


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