i-have-a-hunger did this for me and it’s reeeeeally interesting! For these Improvement Hell exercises, I’m choosing not to do quick traces over my photoref to establish proportion and scale (a la Norman Rockwell, which I will frequently do especially where architecture is involved), because I want to see where my observational skills lie, and I want to be able to USE a photoref but not be a slave to it. I want to be able to trust my eye (and hand) to correct photographic distortion…clearly I have a ways to go on that front!
Photorefs are invaluable to us as artists, but so is style. I struggle with the application of style. One way to thwart this is to let your brain translate what you’re seeing in the photo, sans tracing. Style is as much about mistakes as accuracies. I know I love tall guys and long necks, fingers, torsos (all for the aesthetics, I swear you guys), so lookee there! My dude’s torso is clearly stretched. Is this wrong? I’m not so sure.
My end goal, when it’s all said and done, is to develop a visual shorthand that is clearly mine and isn’t quite so dependent upon photorefs. I am NOT poo-pooing the use of them; I just want to be able to trust my eye-balling better. (Huh-huh…she said “poo-poo” and “balling”…)
First, let me preface this by saying anonymous comments are cowardly. I hates them, my precious. If you’ve got something so very snarky to say that you can’t put your name on it, EFF YOU, chicken sh*t. *ahem* That being said, I’ve never received an anonymous comment. :D I wonder why?
A perfectly lovely, bright, generous on-line artist bud-of-mine got a perfectly asinine anonymous comment: “So you draw over pictures. Quite obviously. WELL DONE. What talent you fucking have.”
Clearly, stupid mystery commenter is stupid. Artists, since the advent of photography, have traced over photos to get general proportions, and then re-sketched over the rough linework to create their own interpretation of things. Norman Rockwell. Maxfield Parrish. Donato Giancola. Me. Just to name a few.
Do NOT think that artists always sketch over photos, though. We also draw freehand, work from life, study anatomy, doodle cartoons, exaggerate gestures for emphasis and emotion. How DARE you rake us over the coals for looking at a photo?