Sketchbook: I try.
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Thread: I try.

  1. #1
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    I try.

    I recently started working with a tablet again so it's hard to get used to. I'm trying to slow down when drawing because I want to paint illustrations but it all sort of falls apart when I start inking - so it's problematic.

    So this is me exploring, trying out things, but most definitely fumbling and failing. And studying - most important studying all sorts of things. I have a dozen books on how to art and I hope to take something out of them.

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    Last edited by esdue; March 22nd, 2013 at 01:41 PM.
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    Not a lot of time to draw today but I did manage to draw *something*. And I always get confused when it comes to references. I keep getting the impression that drawing something from reference is bad as people like to boast on how they had "no references" used when they post pictures on DA or other blogs - so I dunno. I know the value of using reference but at the same time, constructing something from imagination is as important, no? Bahhhhh. Either way, I'm still finding my footing here.

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    Looking good so far! Post more post more!

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    Quote Originally Posted by esdue View Post
    And I always get confused when it comes to references. I keep getting the impression that drawing something from reference is bad as people like to boast on how they had "no references" used when they post pictures on DA or other blogs - so I dunno. I know the value of using reference but at the same time, constructing something from imagination is as important, no?
    I think you misunderstand what reference is, and how to use it. Using reference is not "copy from a photo", even though some people do use it that way. And make sure you aren't confusing a photo study with "using reference" either. References are research meant to INFORM your work.

    Anything based on some sort of reality can utilize reference to make sure everything is correct. When drawing bones, an anatomy book will serve as reference to make sure they're correct.

    When a person is going to draw a lion, unless they've drawn it 1000 times over, you're going to use reference in order to make sure that the drawing truly represents a lion. And that doesn't only apply to realistic drawings, either. When working on the Lion King, the Disney artists were all sent to study real animals and African landscapes, and even after coming back to the states, they kept a good log of quick reference if it was ever needed.

    On the topic of animals, even fantasy creatures can be informed by reference. When you draw a dragon, it's good to have an understanding of how lizards and bats work, because that's what most dragons are based on. And if there's something giving you trouble, like how the skin of a lizard works, reference on hand, along with keen observation, will help you make sure the end result is what your intent is.

    And photos aren't the only kind of reference. Looking at yourself in the mirror to get an expression right, holding out your hand a specific way in order to draw a character's hand correctly. When an illustrator hires a model to draw from. The artist is using reference.

    The bottom line is that reference is to make sure you're drawing what you actually are trying to draw when your imagination is lacking. The more stuff you know and the more skill you have, the less often you will need reference to accomplish your intent.



    Hopefully I explained that well enough.

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    Psychotime, Thank you graciously for your post! It seems like something so simple and I don't know why I'm having the hardest time wrapping my head around it. My brain thinks of using reference as copying a pose from a photo and modifying it to look like your character, hence the reference = bad mentality I go to so easily? I know this mentality is *stupid*, I mean, I feel pretty stupid about it haha.

    So, I tried drawing a rooster a couple of days ago, pulled a couple of photos and at first tried to understand the rooster by separating it into general shapes and after I felt like a had a certain formula/basic idea I tried to create non-photo derived poses of the rooster based on what I learned from observing them - that's... how you do it, no?

    I feel so silly about this, haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by esdue View Post
    So, I tried drawing a rooster a couple of days ago, pulled a couple of photos and at first tried to understand the rooster by separating it into general shapes and after I felt like a had a certain formula/basic idea I tried to create non-photo derived poses of the rooster based on what I learned from observing them - that's... how you do it, no?
    From what I understand, that's the best way to learn and internalize forms from reference. I remember hearing that one really good test of skill is to look at a reference, and then draw the subject from a different angle.

    It's always good to have a collection of reference for anything you find interesting, so that it can be utilized whenever need be. Poses, lighting, costumes, close ups of materials to understand texture, whatever.

    But it's also important to spend time drawing from real life, because you'll get more out of it better than any photo. When drawing from life you are translating real life into 2d instead of 2d into 2d. You will learn faster but it will be harder at first. If you just copy photos or use 2d reference you never really learn to draw very well.

    Outside of your normal personal work, you should be supplementing it with studies. The misunderstanding about reference makes me feel the need to repeat it. Regardless of style, any one who does representational art needs to understand the real world in order to make what they want from their imagination. The more you know, the better you get.

    Why didn't you post the drawings you're talking about?

    Last edited by Psychotime; February 17th, 2013 at 12:20 PM.
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    Some figure work and painting studies done in February.

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