I see a few folks around this place drawing from photographs, however in every drawing class i've taken that was consider "cheating" or "cheating yourself."
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The problem with photos is that
A) they don't capture all the fine details like the eye does.
B) they don't capture the correct light and shadow all the time.
C) they don't capture the same depth of field that the eye does.
You can find pictures that are pretty good at capturing those things accurately, but most don't do a very good job of it. It's better to just use real life. Photos should only be used when you don't have access to the real thing.
I don't see using photo as cheating. Although I admit it's a bit easier to use photo in some circumstances, because the person in the photo won't move, and you won't be seeing different angles due to the distance between ojbect and your two eyes. However, you may not be able to see things from a different view to understand why certain things look certain way in certain angle.
I remember seeing something about it in an art book from a friend (forgot the artist's name, but it was very good works, someone who drew for National Lampoon's movie), and the artist said there's nothing wrong with using a photo, because it reduces the cost and if old time masters had the choice to do so, they'd use it as well. =P And I do believe that's true.
If one visit artistic forums of any respectable size, one would almost certanily find a section on reference images (containing primarily photoes). As such, if drawing from photographs are cheating, then these forums are engaged in "aiding an abetting" cheating, and many of the professional artists artists are "cheating".
Working from life is incredibly important. It will teach you things you can't learn any other way.
However...working from photos will teach you things you can't learn any other way, too. Knowing how to use photo references is one of the primary skills of professional artist/illustrator.
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"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
well norman rockwell started it alot.
parriash had some photo of trees.
all the illustrators use photos alot but cartoonist tend not too.
all the guys from detroit doing cars in the sixties seventies use lucy to put the image down then did alot of acrylics.
hendel shoots maybe 2000 shots a session.
andrew wyth tends not to cause u cant get that moment that uniques without spending time.
when i work in art studies there probably 30 feet of 4 draw filing cabinets full of stuff.
sometimes we make it up we dont have time but all the guys can do it without photos but some find it helpfull.
i tend not to lucy or trace i stick with drawing from eye.
but references shots with polarids and digital are fine if u got a dead line.
it a free country i just dont like it when they say they made it up and 5 yrs later i see the reference shot.
coping photos identical can get u a million dollar law suit, if u copy photorealism. stealing is not a goal here.
if only i could put my central libary files on cd rom
Last edited by Darrell Bowman; May 11th, 2005 at 07:26 AM.
you're thinking of "verbatim" which means "from memory" i wouldn't normally know this but it was an old floppy disk makerOriginally Posted by Darrell Bowman
i have a similar opinion though, it depends on the aim, although to learn to study life with two eyes instead of one mechanical one is a much greater challenge and i think adds more skills to the artist's arsenal.
let say im working for general motors i need to know what there car line looks like, i cant be making a ford or toyota into a gm car not just for artist liences but be cause there a board of directors with investments in the corporation.
you cant full around with products.
so reference makes sense more so when it ur own reference shots but also
to meet the demands of a client.
one time i saw a illustration and it was 1930 and the person wearing a digital watch. we got to be carefull of stuff like that. hehe true story.
then i saw a illustration a direct copy of another illustration out of a illustrator annual a few years earlier.
alot of it has to do with speed today i cant charge a hundred dollars a hour for a storyboard frame go into someone home and say can u pose for me for ten hours, clients not going to pay 1000 for one frame of art.
Last edited by Darrell Bowman; May 11th, 2005 at 07:38 AM.
There are a lot of tools available to the artist. I'm certain early caveman art teachers said that it was cheating if you didn't put a bunch of ochre in your mouth and spit it on the wall, using your hand to make the shapes (evil, accursed charcoal!).
It's generally believed that Vermeer used a camera obscura (his best friend and executor of his will was the finest lens maker of the age) and many of the masters used tools often considered cheats. It's about having the skills and then using the tools that are available. Is it cheating to use the computer? Some people think so, but never in the history of man has so much bad art been produced, and the vast majority is from computer users. You have to have the skill and in the market place, you have to use every advantage open to you, commensurate with your ethics.
Life is best, photos often have to do, and when you start, this is how you populate your knowledge base. You can't pull crap out of your butt when there's no crap there.
I'm no pro, but I would not say that's cheating at all. You learn so much from drawing from life or photos that is will carry over into your own original designs. Unless you referrence something, you'll never really know what's right. I'm not a big fan of photorealistic paintings or drawings of still life, but I do comment the skill it takes, and skill like that is something essential for any kind of art.
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I think for a beginner, drawing from life is ESSENTIAL. Drawing from photos can never match that because a camera takes a picture monocularly - that is, from one point of focus and so causes distortions your eyes don't, being binocular.
Reference photos are perfectly fine if you already have gained the profound knowledge gained from life drawing - the problem is when beginners use photos in place of life drawing, and that introduces all sorts of inaccuracies in what they draw. It limits an artist, to only work from photos. It's hard to get that really dimensional look from them.
It all depends on how much understanding you want, I guess. To draw anything you want out of your head w/out reference, you need to have a much better understanding of the human body and of objects than photos can give you. So it's all up to each person how good they want to be at that.
dont know when to shut up talking about myself.
well most of the illustrators know how to draw and with the constrants of deadlines and no time left can pulll it out of their navels.
im sure norman rockwell could draw without reference but his paintings sold
well with his reference, so long live norman.
art theft were it be fine art, photo or illustration is not right, someone looses
the royalties on that artwork... same with music.
i got guys right now selling my art and giving the commission to their friend using samples i gave them to get the client.
one guy filled a life drawing class on my samples of drawings and said he now going to teach the class.
life sucks, so i draw lmao.
"well norman rockwell started it alot."
True- Rockwell turned to photos when the trend in illustration became fashionable. In his book "My life as an illustrator" (i think that's the title) - He makes it very clear that he only painted from life for 25 years before turning to photos. He also brought up a very interesting point when working from photos vs. life. He made the example that if he's using a photo reference and a man's sweater is red, he can change it to green with ease. But when working from life if the sweater is red..he finds it impossible to alter the color.
Steve Huston (another fantastic illustrator/gallery artist) - prefers to use photos only on final pieces (from an article I read in American Artist) Not only does he get action and movement impossible from life, but he feels that when working from life the artist is too restricted by what's in front of them. With photos it easier to make creative decisions.
With all that said...both artists have ALOT of life painting/drawing experience which they can utilize when working from photos.
Work from life as much as you can...and when back at the studio by your lonesome do not feel like you are cheating using photos. Doing both will enhance both methods. At least that is what I have discovered from my small experience.
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