Technique Study vs Photo Reference

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  1. #1
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    Technique Study vs Photo Reference

    I noticed that when I do a technique study of Line work in my anatomy exercises my line work is much stronger versus when Im doing photo reference. Obviously because the artists I am looking at have already done all the work of creating a form in line. My question is does it really hurt me to do my anatomy studies from predrawn references or must I sort it all out from photo reference.

    Honestly, my taste far exceeds my talent and its hard not to become incredibly frustrated when Im drawing, so much so that it is hurting me more than helping. I cant tell you how many times I've torn out pages out of my sketch book over the years and just walked away from drawing for a lengthy time only to come back worse than when I left off. I wouldn't mind being off in my studies if my line work didn't look so subpar on paper. Digitally I can get the handicap of photoshop of coral painter to give me nice line work, but on paper my lines have no energy regardless of speed and avoiding using my wrist. The only time my linework seems half decent (which helps build atleast enough confidence to move forward) is when Im copying someone else's line work from reference so I'm wondering how much is this really hurting me when I'm doing my skull practice...

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    So you're copying drawings and copying photos... Are you doing anything from life? Are you doing any gestures from life? Gestures from life can help you build speed and confidence, and confidence improves your lines (along with a lot of practice.) And drawing from life in general can help you learn to make your own decisions in a drawing (again, developing confidence.) When you draw from photos or other drawings, a lot of decisions have already been made for you, so you're not fully exercising your eye and brain.

    Also, 99% of developing a good line is constant practice - getting frustrated and walking away for long periods is not going to help in the least. OF COURSE your work will be worse than ever after a long period of not drawing - you haven't been practicing!

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  5. #3
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    Well, I was surfing the CA forums for more direction and found the assignments thread. Started working Assignment one and two rigorously for the past hour and a half and as I let up on my grip and move farther back on my pencil my arm was finding its niche again. I must of spent the past 15 minutes literally dancing around my apartment after I finished and saw some improvement. I will still lifes and life gesturing after I finish the exercises yoitsi put down. I've been drawing for 5 hours tonight and these simple things in the past hour helped 300x more than my aimless tries on the photos/drawing copies. Thank you for the advise I need all I can get. The little things on here that you guys point at to try, as mindless as they seem to me at first, are helping beyond belief and even though I am no where where I want to be to see things get better little by little in front of my eyes is pushing me forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imcostalong View Post
    I noticed that when I do a technique study of Line work in my anatomy exercises my line work is much stronger versus when Im doing photo reference.
    Show samples of both, please. Usually when someone makes this claim it's because they aren't seeing the right things, in photos, others' work, or their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imcostalong View Post
    My question is does it really hurt me to do my anatomy studies from predrawn references or must I sort it all out from photo reference.
    Reference (photo/predrawn) is, well, a reference.
    Ppl use it to count buttons on the jacket, checking hair color etc., but you don't copy it, since those are already planar abstractions of space and don't have depth.
    So, can copying photos hurt?...yes, since you'll probably never learn to understand the space and no, since that doesn't matter in contemporary illustration.

    Last edited by Cola73; March 5th, 2013 at 05:22 PM.
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