A question about reference

5:40 AM, Saturday February 8th 2020

i feel like i've been using my reference wrong i've been using my reference as a way to figure out how my drawings should look like. and on the other hand i've just realized i should be using my references to figure out how my drawings should work in its environment as to follow Construction, spatial reasoning, and communication right now i 70% believe that i should use reference to figure out how my drawings should work instead of how my drawings should look and now i really need a second voice/opinion on this as im still quite confused

right now the question is how should i use the reference to figure out how it should look or should i use it to figure out how it should work in its environtment

2 users agree
3:29 PM, Saturday February 8th 2020

The short answer is both!

Seeing how something looks and how something works in its environment are both aspects to the greater concept of a visual library. I often use an analogy of Lego. Doing studies is like buying a Lego set and building it according to instructions. As you follow instructions you learn techniques and ways they work (how things work in their environment) as well as building up your collection of Lego (visual library/stuff to put in your environments).

When using reference I often look up a bunch of images related to what I'm doing, draw some 1:1 copies to get them in my head and understand how to draw them, then start picking and choosing things like proportion, where props go, overall mood, etc. Hope this helps, and if you want any clarification let me know! It's early and I'm not at my most clear mind yet =)

1:35 AM, Sunday February 9th 2020

following what you said is it fine for me to draw something that looks different from one reference but follows how the object works like in the reference, essentially steering off the reference yet still following the rules of how the object should work based on the reference?

1:24 PM, Sunday February 9th 2020

Certainly! That's how you start to get new ideas and develop your style-which is just a series of conscious choices you are making.

2 users agree
4:58 PM, Sunday February 9th 2020

Definitely agree with what Sven says below!

I always refer back to this tutorial when I'm unsure how to best use reference. The simplified version of it is that you should try drawing the thing without reference first, and then when you hit a road block you should go looking for reference. That way, you're more likely to make more original work than if you found the ref first and copied it. Trying to look for the perfect reference can be a daunting task, and you're unlikely to find anything better than "close enough"

A similar approach is called the Shrimp Method which is intended to solidify your visual library for a particular subject.

Of course, if you're unsure how to approach a reference in the first place, I also recommend THIS tutorial which guides you through how to use references of people. Draw a Box helps guide you through looking at other things as well.

10:34 AM, Monday February 10th 2020

Wow great mini tutorials in terms of photos! Thank you!

The recommendation below is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.
How to Draw by Scott Robertson

How to Draw by Scott Robertson

When it comes to technical drawing, there's no one better than Scott Robertson. I regularly use this book as a reference when eyeballing my perspective just won't cut it anymore. Need to figure out exactly how to rotate an object in 3D space? How to project a shape in perspective? Look no further.

This website uses cookies. You can read more about what we do with them, read our privacy policy.