Monday, November 26, 2012

Process Post: References

Hi you cool people!

So today's post is going to be a little bit different. Instead of posting a finished piece, I'm going to give you a little insight to my creation process!

So without further ado, let's talk about... REFERENCES!

In the beginning when I was a young, naïve artist (well, moreso than I am now), I had a huge problem with just making things up and not looking at any form of reference. This led to all sorts of problems... impossible poses, indistinguishable animals, and all sorts of other crazy inaccuracies. Only in my college years did I finally figure out the beauty of life drawing and reference images. It can make the difference between drawing a "bird" and a "red-tailed hawk", for instance.

As a character artist, I find myself needing reference a lot for expressions, poses, and details. Sure, I COULD make it up (and sometimes I still do), but I can guarantee that every time I use reference (even if I'm not using the pose/expression in the reference in its entirety) the image is guaranteed to look much more believable. And let's face it - sometimes there's just that damn hand pose you cannot get right!

So here's some examples of how I use references. When doing character pieces, I like to use myself for reference and I oftentimes use PhotoBooth (which comes as a default program with most Mac computers).

Here's a commissioned piece I did last year for my friend J.M. Lee:

For a good amount of these characters I took reference photos of myself, like so:

(It was just dumb luck I had a gun prop lying around!)
As you can see, some changes were made in the final sketches, but for the most part the photos I took heavily influenced the final poses/expressions of the characters.

Where else do I find references and tutorials? All sorts of places! Here are a few of my favorite internet resources:

Anatomical Art (Tumblr)
Photo Reference for Comic Artists (subscription-based, but click here for a free photo pack! Lots of cool comic book poses, some nsfw)
Eye Draw Things
F'Yeah References (Tumblr)
References for Artists (Tumblr)
And, of course, Google Images. :)

Also check out these books!

Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists
Facial Expressions Babies to Teens

You can also collect your own references from magazines, newspapers... heck, I save old calendars and tear the pages out and use those sometimes. Or use your own - take photos of everything and draw from life! Use anything and everything! The world is your oyster!

And if any readers have any reference resources, feel free to post them in the comments!

EDIT: Here's a recent post about references by the amazing comic book artist Ming Doyle!

Well, I hope this post was helpful. Thanks for reading! I will definitely have some new art up next week, so stay tuned!



Jakeh Clark said...

ooh! thanks!

Glen Isip said...

Nice process post (even though there's not really much "process") and good references! I often draw while making faces to make sure I get the right expressions, even if I'm not looking directly at a mirror. I love your work and look forward to more.