Monday, September 5, 2011

Why Reference Matters

So I've been continuing with the randomly-themed-sketch thing, but I've discovered that it has a much more useful (but annoying) function than merely staying fresh..  It's doing a great job of highlighting my weaknesses.  With each drawing, before I've even put the pencil down I'm already seeing things I should have staged better; designs and poses I should have pushed further; drawings without personality, etc.  I've been grudgingly adding and adding to the list of things I need to work on, but a few days ago I stumbled across one that really bugged me.

I decided the day's theme would be Walruses and I drew this...
.....As it turned out, I had no friggin' idea how to draw a walrus |:\  That clearly wouldn't do; it's not like I have a huge career of drawing walruses, but nothing bad ever came out of understanding your world better.  This weekend I took some time to go study up at the local library.  Here are some sketches I did looking at photo-references I found in a book on seals.

As I drew these I focused on the focal points, figuring out how things worked and how they related. Then I went from there to a coffee-shop to play a little with what I'd learned.

Still nothing master-quality, but they're sure better than the first one.  They at least demonstrate some awareness of the original source, and once I had a grip of the foundation I got to think less about trying to render a diagram of a walrus and more about what I could have that walrus doing to give the sketch some personality.

Education helps.  When you find yourself totally stuck the best thing you can do is go away, learn more about what you're trying to do, and then attack again with a more enlightened approach.

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