Art: Study vs. Brain Drawing
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  1. #1
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    HunterKiller_ is offline Registered User Level 15 Gladiator: Spartacus' Hoplomachi
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    Study vs. Brain Drawing

    There was a thread sometime ago about beginning artists shouldn't produce too much of their 'own work', as in, reference-less works they've come up with.

    I agree with this, and making studies from reference and life is about all the drawing i do now, it's gotten to point where i feel strange trying to drawing anything without a reference (not to mention it turns out crap).
    Is it normal? It is ok? Am i becoming too reliant on references? Is it important for a learning artist to produce their own work at all?
    I'm just a huge ball of worries about my art at the moment.

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    The thing to remember is that you can produce very, very original works while still using reference. Using reference doesn't necessarily mean copying millimeter by millimeter; all it really means is having photos or other art there to refer to.

    Studies from photos and from life are great--they really are. They help us grow enormously as artists. But they're not usually the end goal. As you draw and/or paint from reference, try to build up a mental library of visual elements that you can use later in more original works. When you do those original works, have reference out; just don't copy it directly.

    I recommend switching back and forth between referenced and non-referenced works pretty frequently, with referenced ones getting a little higher priority.

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    Its all about getting a balance I guess as with everything. Personally I draw from my head pretty much all the time, usually doodles etc. Yet I do the odd drawing from life, should do more really. I think what you need to do is say for example you study a mans arm and you draw a shiny metal kettle or something. After that have ago at using what you have learned into your own works, so after you have done that you could draw an arm and mix the metal textures to make a robot arm or whatever. It is good to have your own ideas because that is what makes an artists work personal and of their own. It depends what you want to do in life though I guess. If you just want to copy people buildings etc and be good at that then do that, but if want to be say an illustrator or a conceptartist you need to produce your own original ideas.

    Use life as a guide not as a template.

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    There was a thread sometime ago about beginning artists shouldn't produce too much of their 'own work', as in, reference-less works they've come up with.
    I wouldnt agree with this really, i'd say try and keep a balance between ref and no ref, both are great, but both have their cons.

    ~edit~ what mr man said.

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    try to copy works of your favorite artists or copy from anatomy books, drawing books, etc , and then draw those from memory.

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    I'd suggest to do both referenced studies and non referenced scetches regularily. In one session you could do 2-3 1hr studies of a subject and then try and scetch something similar from mind.

    It's no point doing referenced studies, if you don't ask yourself questions like "why does that surface reflect a color like that?" and "why does the background seem lighter than foreground" all the time. When you do a sketch from your mind immediately after studying a similar subject, u will see if you learned anything. You can go back to your studies every now and then to check out if everything is going on well with your sketch.

    So do these exercises everytime you can - at least a couple of times a week and you will notice some great improvement.

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    As a few people have already mentioned, studies are great, but only if you actually learn from them, hence tghe name - studies. I used to just copy from phots loadsm but i wasnt actually learning anything, so recently ive changed my approach and started to actually learn in detail how the anatomy works, from the skeleton up. Something that's helped me loads is doing many studies, then trying to find a general formula for whichever thing you're studying to give a you a framework for the future. In just a few short months i've found that im able to produce much more accurate drawings just from the head, and I havent even started to move onto the muscles.

    That's all talking about figure drawing though, and whilst making big improvements in that area, the same way of thinking and practising is helping in all aspects of the work i produce.

    "Never have I seen a greater, or a more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother" - The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
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    The best things you can be doing as a beginning artist are to a. work from direct observation, and b. immediately apply what you have learned from your direct observation studies to images drawn from your imagination.

    Sometime soon I plan on putting together some sample assignments for beginners based on these things, if anyone is interested.

    Drawing or painting from photo reference or from someone elseís art is not something I suggest that you spend much time doing at the beginning. Photo-reference in its true sense is *not* copying a photograph, but instead using it to understand a subject. Copying photographs directly is a tool useful only to established illustrators who already know the ins and outs of rendering a 3D form in a 2D space. For them itís a shortcut, but for a beginner, itís a crutch that will hamper your growth.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Studies are for applying various priciples and learning to modify those principles. I think that beginning students shouldn't start immediately with life drawing(I'm making the assumption that before becomming students they've already worked from life and photos and mind, just not in a planned way). They should learn a pricinciple first and then apply it in a life drawing. Perspective would be an example where you learn the principle first then look for it and modify it when drawing from life. I've never heard of anyone figuring out perspective by themself while drawing from life. In other words I don't think drawing from life teaches anyone how to draw from the mind, what it does is teaches how to add variety to various principles and techniques that they already know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HunterKiller_
    I'm just a huge ball of worries about my art at the moment.
    Don't worry.


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    Haha Elwell's got it right.. if you dont give yourself some breathing space you'll just choke up all the time.

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    I was doing the same thing. All my drawings seemed to be studies until very recently. I made myself start doing the community activities at cA and it feels like my whole mindset has shifted. If you are here to learn to be a concept artist or illustrator, you need the practice of drawing from the mind and memory in order to apply what you've learned from drawing from life. I found many holes in my study, just from doing a Creature of the Week.
    Give it a shot :.

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    Thanks alot for the positive fedback everyone.

    Actually thinking about the subject i'm drawing is a habit i'm still trying to get into, and i still do often catch myself just mindlessly copying the subject.

    Making a study, then trying to reproduce it - or something similar - isn't something i do often, guess i better start.

    max xiantu: Thanks for bringing up the community activities. I used to participate in some of the DSGs but i didn't feel that was very rewarding so i stopped, and have completely forgotten about it until now. I should start taking part again.

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    I think balance is best, this includes more planned out studies of anatomy and light, and what not...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedling
    Sometime soon I plan on putting together some sample assignments for beginners based on these things, if anyone is interested.
    FYI, this activity is now available for whomever wants to participate. Click on "Concept Art 101" in my sig to get there. . .

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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