what's your method of study?
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    what's your method of study?

    When studying other artist style or a reference photo, what is your method of study? I either stare at the picture for awhile or do several quick sketch's. Doing the sketch's actually works best for me. I can really get the feel of it. Do you really learn anything by copying another artist style? I do. I somehow blend it into my own style.

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    Yes and no.

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    When I am studying another artist's style, I tend to look at all the works by that person that I can find, and try to identify the unifying elements of whatever it is that separates that person's works from the works of the other artists. When I have found that unifying idiosyncracy I can use it to simulate that artist's style.

    I am pretty mathematical minded, so when copying a photo reference I tend to use mapping rather than grids. Frankly, I usually take my own reference photos and then cut them until the focal point is in a good place and the aspect ratio matches that of my support. Say the photo is 11 cm by 8.8 cm, that is an aspect ratio of about 1.25:1 which is the same as a 16" x 20" canvas for example. I then pick out landmarks in the photo and plot where they go on the canvas with a pencil.

    If I see the top of a guy's head is 2.9 cm from the top of the photo and 3.8 cm from the right edge, I scale that up to the numbers in inches that will match the scale of the canvas. (e.g. 2.9/8.8 = x/16 therefore (2.9/8.8 )16=x therefore x=5.27 inches (which is how far the guy's head is down from the top of the canvas); 3.8/11=x/20 therefore (3.8/11)20=x therefore x=6.91 inches from the right edge of the canvas.)

    Once I have points drawn for key landmarks in the image I can freehand in the various contours with pencil and my proportions are being guided by the key landmark points I plotted. I only ever really do this when I am scaling up to a really giant sized canvas. It's too much work for if I am just messing around.

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    Elwell's Avatar
    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    You learn to draw by drawing. Muscle memory is as important as visual memory.


    Tristan Elwell
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    You have to draw to learn the medium too. Until you fouled up a few drawings by overloading your dip pen you won't know how to tell when the dip pen is overloaded.

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    I focus more on an artist's sketches than their finished work. I look to see different approaches, how they define body, shape and form before they render anything. I try to incorporate that into my own work, usually by drawing something of theirs first and then making changes when I get a better sense of the process.

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    tomwaits4noman is offline well, that's a pipe of a different color Level 7 Gladiator: Samnite
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    I don't set out to make an exact copy of an artists style rather take elements of their style I like whether its the line work the way they draw anatomy or faces and facial expressions. It helps to bring new elements or new ideas in a piece that I would not automatically have thought of

    Sometimes I draw straight from memory of an image I liked or will loosely use reference, if I want to get closer to the style if its for a brief
    I will make numerous studies.

    I try to avoid stylistic overlapping as much as possible between images - I get bored easily so the thought of having a set style doesn't interest me personally. Obviously there will be some similarities.


    IF I can't nail a pose or design and I use reference
    I normally combine about 4 or 5 elements

    1 or 2 for the pose, a few for props , clothes, and I often use reference for the face if I can't get the design or emotion right but don't directly copy from the source rather use it as reference.

    Last edited by tomwaits4noman; September 28th, 2008 at 08:50 AM.
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    I do not even bother trying to copy other peoples style. I find when I work my own way, I enjoy it more. I love working out how to do something, rather than looking at how another person has. This method is not at all a loss; I do watch many videos, such as: the ones produced by Workshop, CA.org, and others such as Bob Ross's. I find watching people working really fuses in my mind a mixed way to work. I do look at other artists, and admire many, but I do not copy their work as I feel that time could have been spent doing observational studies from life, doing anatomy studies from books, or doing my own creations.

    I guess people learn differently. There is no one way to become good at what you do; just practice and in time the skills will become better.

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    Black Spot is offline Pew, Pew, Pew Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    You can learn a lot about techniques and colouring. I’ve done a load of copies of Old Masters in oils years ago and still find it useful to bring some of those glazing techniques to digital work. It’s having those techniques there when you need them.


    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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