Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 41
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,347
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 121 Times in 71 Posts

    Ultimately, is it the goal of the Concept Artist to Draw without Reference?

    Is the goal of the concept artist to draw without any photo reference?

    When is photo reference appropriate?


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Austria
    Posts
    10,430
    Thanks
    2,870
    Thanked 2,063 Times in 830 Posts
    whenever needed.
    Sketchbook

    Sketchbooks of inspiration:
    Marc Taro|Maxetormer|ZhuZhu|Jeri|Dobu]


    Always think about:
    lighting! design! perspective! proportion!
    And (self)motivation is still everything.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,085
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Lightbulb

    The goal of the concept artist is to be able to think up new ideas and communicate them effectively at any point in time, surely?

    Being able to draw without reference can only help this end. But being able to draw without reference is not the goal.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    2,925
    Thanks
    410
    Thanked 273 Times in 205 Posts
    we don't have knowledge of almost everything around us that's why we use reference.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Oakville, ON
    Posts
    1,989
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    Sometimes Nose....your questions become too mind boggling to even consider giving an answer.
    ********************************
    There are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and THE TRUTH.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Berlin, Germany
    Posts
    661
    Thanks
    50
    Thanked 103 Times in 34 Posts
    thats a definite YES in my oppinion

    since a concept artist is hired to visualise fantasies of other people (directors etc), the mind of the artist needs to be without limits.

    reference limits the artist by splitting his workflow into studying and then into drawing/painting.

    an artist who has reached a level where reference is not needed anymore / has all the needed information stored in his memory can focus on the art exclusively (technique etc), thus getting more work done in the same period of time...

    Etienne

    "How do you know you're good enough?" "You know." "What if you're wrong?" "You find out."

    *** Help a CA artist! Visit the Critique Center! ***

    MY HOMEPAGE

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,404
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 39 Times in 25 Posts
    Well if you sit in a meeting you don't want to excuse yourself to browse google image search, so i think it's something you need. But the goal ... no. The goal is earning money i suppose, so the more things you draw well the better. Just one unemployed artists opinion.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    3,519
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 122 Times in 62 Posts
    Ultimately, isn't that the goal of anybody trying to draw anything?


  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bulgaria
    Posts
    1,823
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 30 Times in 18 Posts
    Agree with Jetpack. ^

    But I wouldn't say it's the only goal, just that it really helps when you have to pump out work. I know that the more refs I dig up and use, the slower I end up working, and with an actual art job, that would cost me money. That ain't no good.

    Es fließt durch meine Venen, Es schläft in meinen Tränen
    Es läuft mir aus den Ohren, Herz und Nieren sind Motoren


  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,085
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Lightbulb

    Like I said, it's a means to an end, not the goal

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    SWE
    Posts
    2,536
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 1,309 Times in 389 Posts
    I guess the goal is to make an awesome pic as fast as possible... but I definately have more respect for people that draw out of their head, and the subjects I like (mechas and monsters) have little or no ref available anyways.
    Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,347
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 121 Times in 71 Posts
    I've had people like Kevin Chen say photo reference is necessary to take bits and pieces from the photo and add that realism and detail to your drawing.

    But I look at pieces made from Feng Zhu or Carlos Huante, under those Gnomon Videos, and absolutely no reference seems to be used.

    In the Carlos Huante Video he even says, "If you don't use your imagination, then what good are you?!".....which craks me up

    I just found this thread...which seems to be in the line of what I'm talking about:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=31984
    Last edited by NoSeRider; August 29th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Philly PA
    Posts
    3,389
    Thanks
    108
    Thanked 1,478 Times in 470 Posts
    I think the goal is to do the best work possible, and most likely no matter how good you ever are, your work will look better when reference was used. Every pro I've ever met whos work I respected was still using reference after decades of drawing and painting professionally. I never saw it as a flaw or weakness, but as humble acceptance that they don't know everything there is to know about light, anatomy, architecture, geology, biology, meteorology, clothing design, automotive design, botany, and about a million other things that you may encounter in doing a job. Some artists can do amazing work without any reference at all, but most any can do better work with, and it doesn't mean that they are not using their imaginations. That's where you have to find the ballance.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    CT, USA
    Posts
    2,451
    Thanks
    110
    Thanked 1,082 Times in 231 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo
    I think the goal is to do the best work possible, and most likely no matter how good you ever are, your work will look better when reference was used. Every pro I've ever met whos work I respected was still using reference after decades of drawing and painting professionally. I never saw it as a flaw or weakness, but as humble acceptance that they don't know everything there is to know about light, anatomy, architecture, geology, biology, meteorology, clothing design, automotive design, botany, and about a million other things that you may encounter in doing a job. Some artists can do amazing work without any reference at all, but most any can do better work with, and it doesn't mean that they are not using their imaginations. That's where you have to find the ballance.
    AMEN !
    - Dan Dos Santos
    www.dandossantos.com

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,347
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 121 Times in 71 Posts
    Originally Posted by Robolus
    A few months ago I was sitting with Marko in a Chinese Restaurant. While I was talking to him, he started to stare at the ceiling.

    Rob: Hey, what are you looking at?

    Marko: Oh sorry, the ornament there is very interesting, I think I will use it in one of my next Degenesis illustrations.

    Rob: One moment Marko, you can look for two minutes at that thing and then you can use it later as REFERENCE?

    Marko: Hmm, yes!

    Rob: What the f..., I mean... HOW?

    And then he told me that as a kid he thought that his Comic-and Art Heroes would NEVER use reference. The only way to become better was to train his visual memory every day.

    Marko: It´s like a big-store catalogue with thousands of things in my head.

    Rob: (speechless)
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=31984

    To a certain extent, me and Marko have the same philosophy.....I just haven't achieved what he's achieved

    And then he told me that as a kid he thought that his Comic-and Art Heroes would NEVER use reference. The only way to become better was to train his visual memory every day.
    That's the key part, and apparently Marko was a comic book junkie too.

    Marko has photographic memory....usually Engineer type people have that kind of mentality.....my brother is an engineer.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    san diego CA
    Posts
    198
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Ultimately, is it the goal of the Concept Artist to Draw without Reference?


    No. The concept artist's job is to invent a world (based on information from a writer/game designer/production designer/whoever you are working for), and then create visual documentation for it - including characters, creatures, vehicles, environments, etc.

    The degree of invention depends on what kind of project it is. For instance, if you're designing a game based on Roman gladiators, you're going to be relying on historical designs a lot. On the other hand, maybe you are working on a science fiction movie taking place in outer space with a lot of alien races.

    In either case, you need to use reference to help you get the most out of your work. The roman gladiator example is obvious - you don't want to rely on your memory of what gladiators look like, and in fact using reference will allow you to build on what really existed, and put a new spin on it (if the art direction allows for that). Also, since you want your audience to recognize these guys as gladiators (and especially since some of them may know a lot more about gladiators than you do) you certainly better do your homework and gather plenty of reference. In the case of the alien movie, I guarantee you that there are creepier creatures running around for real than you can imagine right off the top of your head. Here again, you gather reference to inspire you, allow you to build on top of these examples and come up with something better than if you had started from scratch with no reference at all.

    Short answer (at least in my humble opinion) - reference is a valuable tool. Drawing without it is not a goal, and is not even a very wise practice.
    Francis Tsai
    TeamGT Studios

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bulgaria
    Posts
    1,823
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 30 Times in 18 Posts
    And then he told me that as a kid he thought that his Comic-and Art Heroes would NEVER use reference. The only way to become better was to train his visual memory every day.

    Marko: It´s like a big-store catalogue with thousands of things in my head.
    Jesus. I need to work on that...

    Es fließt durch meine Venen, Es schläft in meinen Tränen
    Es läuft mir aus den Ohren, Herz und Nieren sind Motoren


  19. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Los Angeles, USA
    Posts
    471
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    My answer? Hardly. Concept art covers a staggeringly broad range. The idea of being able to draw anything from memory is nice, but limiting. For example, I use a lot of ref for all the WWII jobs I work on, 'cause it's important to make it accurate. Nothing pisses me off more than a poorly-drawn nazi helmet, and you can see the fan favorites fuck 'em all the time. There are those on this forum who try to shame others for using ref- that's just stupid. The goal of every artist should be to have the ability to draw anything and everything. Know anatomy, perspective, composition, basic engineering and for god's sake, how to to do a good Google reference search!

  20. #19
    Ilaekae's Avatar
    Ilaekae is offline P.O.W.! Leader, Complete Idiot, Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,129
    Thanks
    8,241
    Thanked 5,581 Times in 1,789 Posts
    Why do I get the feeling that we all have our zippers down waiting for a yardstick to float by?

    The primary goal of a concept artist, or ANY artist for that matter, is to communicate a solution to a problem of some type. Let me be the first to congratulate all of you who can do that without ever looking at a single piece of referenc.

    I myself, being of normal human abilities with 45 years experience and only a 1st percentile IQ, constantly need reference to verify what a 1936 Chrysler, a Pantagonian Two-headed Booby, and the internal workings of a 17th century wooden-geared timepiece look like. I still drink Drano once a day because I never made a note to remember what colonial children's underwear in Georgia looked like, not to mention being unable to recreate 15 typical gynandromorphs only from memory.

    Knowledge is good. A great memory is good. Being a bit too much of a pompous ass to admit that you don't know what a pump valve from a 1879 2-8-8-4-2 steam engine looks like isn't. It simply proves your're a moron going downhill towards a blast furnace at 300 mph on a greased piece of 19th century non-vulcanized rainwear (which I can draw from memory...)

    Get real, people. This is work. If it means farting upside down in a bat sanctuary wearing a frilly pink dress to get it done, do it. Don't tell me that it's not cool/professional to refuse to use a major tool to get my client's job done. He/she doesn't give a shit that I created that authentic replica of the Roman mint from memory, just whether it was done on time, on budget...and RIGHT.

    I'm being paid $2.39 an hour to be a creative genius, not a fuckin' magician showing off his parlor tricks.
    Last edited by Ilaekae; August 29th, 2005 at 12:56 PM. Reason: addition

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Southern CT, USA
    Posts
    565
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo
    ...Every pro I've ever met whos work I respected was still using reference after decades of drawing and painting professionally. I never saw it as a flaw or weakness, but as humble acceptance that they don't know everything there is to know about light, anatomy, architecture, geology, biology, meteorology, clothing design, automotive design, botany, and about a million other things that you may encounter in doing a job. Some artists can do amazing work without any reference at all, but most any can do better work with, and it doesn't mean that they are not using their imaginations.
    NoSeRider,

    I think there are situations where you can work without reference. When doing rough pencil concepts or storyboards, you probably want to work with a minimum of reference as this stage is meant to convey a direction rather than a fully-realized concept. As you start to get tighter, if you feel comfortable working without reference, more power to you. Most of us are more likely to get stuck without looking at something to guide us somewhere along the process. When that happens find whatever reference you need to make the piece better. Most professional artists will tell you that it's the results that count, not how you got there.

    Also, do not allow anyone make you feel inferior about how you create art. Recognize that anyone who does that is just being a major-league asshole.
    Mark Hannon
    Art Direction & Design
    Online Portfolio

  22. #21
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Hudson River valley, NY
    Posts
    16,201
    Thanks
    4,875
    Thanked 16,685 Times in 5,021 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Francis
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by chukw
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    ...
    What they said.

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

  23. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    645
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 54 Times in 51 Posts
    Some very good advice and info in these posts.

    Yes the final goal to me in concept art would be to have an image look as if it came strait from someones imagination.

    Now just a little opinion of mine. I was in a rather large bookstore some time back and came across an airbrush mag. It had a beautiful girl in red leather hotpants and top on the cover. At the bottom it read "This is not a photo". Look as hard as I may I could not find one spot where I could find a hint of a painting in this picture. Is this good or bad? Unless the painting was lifesize or bigger or put on a building or motor vehicle I just couldn't see the point in not having a photo instead. It was so realistic that it seemed to be traced ( or outlined) and tried to be made into the same photo referance. I just didn't understand where any creativity came in on this. The thing just didn't do anything for me.

    I don't know. Maybe someone will post up and open my eyes up a bit here.
    BP

  24. #23
    Ilaekae's Avatar
    Ilaekae is offline P.O.W.! Leader, Complete Idiot, Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,129
    Thanks
    8,241
    Thanked 5,581 Times in 1,789 Posts
    Your eyes are already open, BP. I clean ovens better than my wife, but it doesn't do a damn thing for my creativity...

  25. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,347
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 121 Times in 71 Posts
    Why do I get the feeling that we all have our zippers down waiting for a yardstick to float by?
    Well, I have to use a 12 inch ruler and I'm not an engineer....so sometimes the truth hurts when the girls start to snikr.

  26. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    nickel city
    Posts
    307
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Keep in mind there is a large difference between using reference as a means of research, and using it to directly copy from.

    Unless you memorize cultures/mechanics/environments from day one I don't see how anyone can create new ideas that people will relate to without giving it some substance. No offense to those that dont use ref, but if it's an integral part of making your designs stronger, why ignore it?

  27. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa/San Anselmo, Calif.
    Posts
    3,391
    Thanks
    135
    Thanked 418 Times in 161 Posts
    sometimes i get the feeling that people ask these kinds of questions because they think its the secret to drawing like marko or one of these guys.. thats not the reason they're good..

  28. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    with Dagon
    Posts
    1,016
    Thanks
    167
    Thanked 473 Times in 187 Posts
    I totally agree with the sentiment that has been posted so far that in the end it doesn't matter how, or with what you made your image as long as you/your client is happy with it.

    Visual Memory is still basically a kind of reference. Especially when it comes down to talking about someone like Marko who seems to have a much better visual memory than most of us. Is there really any difference in taking a bunch of mental notes and being able to remember them clearly for use in a drawing or taking a picture of something for use later as reference? The little conversation with Marko that was posted where he remarked that he liked a fixture and was going to use it in a degenesis illo...How is that different than seeing a picture of style of helmet and saying, that would be cool to use in my next knight painting, so I'll right-cick and save ? He didn't magic the fixture out of his ass, it was something that really existed, he's just better able to recall it later. What is important, in terms of being an artist, was that he noticed the fixture, and imagined a place for it. Marko uses reference...it's just his freakishly good visual memory instead of the pics the rest of us use. Its something to aspire to, but theres no sense in lifting a car to change a tire just because some people can.

    Also, imagination isn't about knowing alot about anything, infact it isn't about "knowing" at all. You could know how every skintone looked under every light condition, and all of the varieties of facial structure, but that doesn't have anything to do with creating interesting looking characters. Imagination is about reassembling what information you do have in an interesting and, hopefully previously unseen manner. That's really what makes someone a great "concept" artist

    my 2 cents
    Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagn

    The Sketchbook Lives AGAIN!

    Darkergreen, My environment, and concept art portfolio

    "Its all Fish-Men in the end anyway" -Sara, my wife

    "Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure."
    Bertrand Russell

  29. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    856
    Thanks
    37
    Thanked 24 Times in 15 Posts
    I agree with a lot of what's being said here. Personally I have.. issues when dealing with reference, but on the other hand have gigs and gigs of reference which I go through when I feel uninspired. Sometimes using ref helps you get the job done, but it's usually best to only look at a pic for a few seconds and then reinvent it. Just my 2 cents.

  30. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Oakville, ON
    Posts
    1,989
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    I think most people covered it.

    If you can draw something without references, then its because of experience or familiarity with a subject.

    Ultimately a concept artist's goal is to make ideas workable and believeable. Being a "know it all" is the job of an encyclopedia.
    ********************************
    There are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and THE TRUTH.

  31. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Southern CT, USA
    Posts
    565
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist
    Sometimes using ref helps you get the job done, but it's usually best to only look at a pic for a few seconds and then reinvent it.
    If that works for you, great but you can't standardize the creative process for other artists. One artist may indeed need only a quick glance at the source image while another artist may need to refer back to the reference periodically while working and yet another may need to keep the reference in view throughout the process.

    The only thing that counts in the end is that the finished piece looks great and no copyright laws were broken.
    Mark Hannon
    Art Direction & Design
    Online Portfolio

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The official draw from reference daily thread
    By j.s. sabastian in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: March 20th, 2011, 07:46 AM
  2. Goal: Concept Artist, Location: Vancouver
    By Julio Nicoletti in forum Education & Schools for Artists
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: March 14th, 2011, 11:07 PM
  3. Best school/course to choose in Europe beeing a concept artist as a goal.
    By Icecold in forum Education & Schools for Artists
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: February 8th, 2010, 05:21 PM
  4. Draw more from reference???
    By Avetice in forum Artist Lounge
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: February 6th, 2003, 01:07 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Designed by The Coldest Water, we build the coldest best water bottles, ice packs and best pillows.