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The BASICS : Using References by Shattered-Earth The BASICS : Using References by Shattered-Earth
If you like this tutorial or do not like it, please take some time to tell me why so I will know how to make any future tutorials! Thanks :D:heart:

USING REFERENCES


Disclaimer: Some will disagree with me on how to use references, which is totally normal. This is just how i believe is the best and more beneficial way to use them. If you disagree and have a better tutorial feel free to link in the comments with your (polite) argument, i won't delete them if they aren't flamey or antagonistic XD. Alternate viewpoints to consider: [link] [link]

This is just born out of seeing what a lot of beginner artists do, which is straight up copy a photo and re clothe it. Sure it's legal and like stuff to do this, especially if you credit the photo, but it's not IMO the best way to draw with references. This is not the same as studying from a photo or doing live modelling sessions. Studying is not passed as original art and the goal is to learn and get close to the original. Drawing from the mirror or a live model is also different because of the way your eyes work. You have to actively decide how to flatten the 3d image your eyes receive into one 2d flat image you draw and this exercises your brain in ways photos will never do.

Just copying a single photo for what you have problems with or the entire pose isn't going to be as helpful as examining many, this attempts to replicate what having a live model would do, that is give you dimensions and 3d form to learn from. I believe it's the best way to use references and I believe it'll be beneficial to many beginners.

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Stock images are taken from *SenshiStock and ~Nemesis-19 as well as google to illustrate my point. If you have any issues with this please contact me via note :)

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Given 2014-07-14
The BASICS : Using References by Shattered-Earth  References are an invaluable tool, learning how to use them well can make all the difference to your artwork! ( Suggested by FlyQueen and Featured by Elandria )
:iconinkary:
Inkary Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can't stress enough how important and good this tutorial is. Thank you!
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:iconkilo60:
Kilo60 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
OSCAR WINNING. :clap: :clap: :clap: 
Reply
:iconsuper-aaron-360:
Super-Aaron-360 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this.
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:iconsilverphoenix-11:
SilverPhoenix-11 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2016
YEEE :D this is v helpful!
Reply
:iconshoopinette:
SHOOPINETTE Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Student Digital Artist
lol your tutorial is so much fun! You sound so funny!  and strict in the same time.  Thats how i like about a teacher/tutorials^^ Thank you for this tutorial, I learned so much from it. Yayy!! Cant wait to read your other tutorials "-"
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:iconshabawaba:
shabawaba Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2016
Thanks so much for this! I was worried if I used a reference when drawing it wouldn't be my own work or whatever, but now I look back on when I started drawing and think about this, and most of it is so true. If I had never used references back then I would never been able to draw human anatomy ( on paper, I still draw with a mouse on computer....so its.......challenging...) like I can now. Tanku!
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:iconluminaraunduli:
LuminaraUnduli Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2016
I learned...nothing. sorry but i'm not good at anatomy? What now?
Reply
:iconlyguani:
Lyguani Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2016  Hobbyist
well....that confirms it.  Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconenvarchy:
Envarchy Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
THIS POST IS SO IMPORTANT THANK YOU
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:iconnerevars:
nerevars Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I have a question. 

What if we draw the exact same pose just because we like the pose and we got an inspiration from the pose? 
So, we use a reference because we like it, not need it, but got an inspiration of it.
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016   Digital Artist
what is the question though? What if that? What result are you trying to question?
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:iconnerevars:
nerevars Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Ah sorry.

What I want to ask is that what if we draw the exact pose as the references and draw the story and setting around it that makes it unique?

Is it still acceptable?
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2016   Digital Artist
i guess it would depend on what you mean by acceptable?

like you were just drawing it for fun go ahead no one cares what you do for fun. but if you were drawing it to sell or to say you did it all yourself, that's questionable. 
Reply
:iconkinimihucashi:
KinimiHucashi Featured By Owner May 18, 2016  Student General Artist
Ohhh thanks, this is actually a much more time efficient way to use references XD I use myself as a reference like 90% of the time when I'm too lazy or if I can't find a "perfect" reference... I'll be sure to apply this in the future :D
Have you got some more tuts, I love your commentary XD
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:iconorgetzu:
Orgetzu Featured By Owner May 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
You've probably already received at least ten billion comments over the past few years or so about how wonderful this is, but I just wanted to add in my two cents about it. This tutorial is /perfect,/ and is exactly what I've tried explaining to people. My brother keeps talking about how the only thing he needs to do is find a good pose image and copy it and he can do that pose, but that doesn't seem like the right way to me at all. Yes, it can be helpful in some ways, but it's still not good enough. You can't just copy.

My personal way to like to do it is find nice poses, and try and figure out how everything works together. Usually I draw an almost exact reference of my reference image, and then incorporate all the details I learned into my own way of doing things. How the legs work, how the arms bend around, how everything connects and flows together. I have to take in everything about the pose so I can learn better how the thing actually moves so I can create my own poses. I don't want to just be reliant on finding something good enough. I want to /create/, not copy. And I'm glad, because while I still have a lot to learn, this type of approach has me able to actually make pictures that are my own, and aren't just basically edited photos. =)
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner May 13, 2016   Digital Artist
HAHhaaa it's true i have but i always appreciate it if i've helped someone!

The problem with saying you only need to find good poses and copy is one day you're going to get a job where you need to execute a pose/angle that someone else wants, and you're gonna be stuck if you can't google the perfect replica of it. There's only so many photographed poses out there, and at a certain point googling for it is going to take longer than it is to just sketch it out yourself.

There are certainly situations where professionals use photos (especially ones they took or have the rights to) to speed up deadline heavy processes, but they only way they can even choose the right photos and adjust them to what they need is if they have the experience of making their own poses etc. first. You'll never learn that unfortunately if your only experience is finding photos and copying them X_X
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:iconorgetzu:
Orgetzu Featured By Owner May 13, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yep. Such is the problem so many artists had, and the problem I myself went through at one point. But it was so frustrating to be unable to draw things on my own, so I just broke away from that.

Mhm. Like sometimes I'll pose for myself if I can, and sometimes learning more about poses has helped me to find new good ones to reference. And I've internalized a lot of the poses I've seen, so I can more accurately do them, or things like them, without reference. And I drew a picture a couple of days ago that I never would've been able to draw without practicing and seeing how people actually work. A person doing an awkward hand stand where they haven't quite figured out how to actually get their feet all the way above their head. And it's great. =)
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:iconursedrah-tahru:
Ursedrah-Tahru Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2016
Oh sweet Jesus, everyone in that picture has terrible trigger discipline. 
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Edited May 13, 2016   Digital Artist
Hey, untrue! All of them are actually shooting or right about to shoot. (aiming at their target and about to shoot!) None of them are "posing" so their finger would naturally be on the trigger :)
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:iconursedrah-tahru:
Ursedrah-Tahru Featured By Owner May 13, 2016
Uh most of them are actually posing and not about to shoot anything tbh lmao there is no context to most of them. And a lot of them are just people posing with firearm replicas with no concept of trigger discipline. 
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Edited May 13, 2016   Digital Artist
They are obviously posing for a movie or photoshoot, the pose they are depicting is someone about to shoot. How obtuse are you? Further more the hypothetical image is of someone in the middle of shooting so obviously you'd need references of how an index finger wraps around a trigger. I get it, you want to show off your ~gun knowledge~ but you're making yourself look stupid as fuck, especially since you accused nemesis-19 (And me) of not knowing what trigger discipline is. 
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:iconomnipotrent:
Omnipotrent Featured By Owner May 1, 2016
LOL
Reply
:icondcofjapan:
dcofjapan Featured By Owner Edited Apr 8, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
someone told me you should switch the should with the shouldn't..what a load of..
well at least I understand and think this is a great tutorial.
copyartists will be stubborn copyartists.
I should stop trying to explain this to "their kind".
I think straight up copying might be a good start but eventually you gotta take those training wheels off and learn how to propel your own bike.
Reply
:iconalcyonesong:
AlcyoneSong Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a fantastic tutorial. Bottom line is the take away. Thank you for posting this!
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:iconvhewitt:
vhewitt Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2016
Really useful. Thank you.
Reply
:iconpurpleblu:
purpleblu Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
FOR EXAMPLE, while I was searching Google Images, i saw this picture(real life photo) and i really like the pose and it inspire me to create my own version of it... What if i just want to copy the whole pose at the same angle but i do the anatomy, body proportion, shading, clothing, hair, etc? I find it really hard to invent a pose in my mind. Someone please answer me, what do you think about this? Is it degrading for an artist? Pose arent copyrighted, right?
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016   Digital Artist
Poses are not copy right, but you are doing a disservice to yourself to always rely on someone else to come up with the pose for you. You should use those poses to practice, and exercise your mind to get better at drawing poses. What happens if you need to draw something for someone else (like a job) but  you can't think of a pose and have to tell people to wait till you can google one?
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:iconpurpleblu:
purpleblu Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok i get it but What do you think about deviants who uses stock photo or their own photo (with their own pose) to copy the pose for their artwork. Ive seen someone who said that when he copy the pose from his photo, he eyeballs the gesture and work from that.
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:icondcofjapan:
dcofjapan Featured By Owner Edited Mar 7, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Those people will never grow is all. Well..they will grow but at such a slower rate :/. technically it takes longer to actually build the visual library but eventually you will get to the point where you can skip that because you already have been drawing people in different poses with a gun thousands of times. Through actually practicing construction instead of just copying freehand I have found that I am 10x more creative.
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:icontherainhascleared:
TheRainHasCleared Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016
Oooh thank you! I've been copying photos (not tracing) when I draw, and I notice I always have to go back to the picture each time I draw. 
Reply
:iconmyfadingkathryn:
MyFadingKathryn Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
i don't wanna do all the hardwork ( ,-_-)
*wanna cut my hands off everytime they draw something wrong//

damn it i'm a lazy bone Worried/Blushing Sans Emote 
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:iconroman11777:
roman11777 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Could you do a tutorial on shapes?
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:iconmycreativeinsanity:
mycreativeinsanity Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is not a bad way to use Reference however Norman Rockwell used references and he basically copied some almost exactly like the pictures he had and the man is a great artist however if he is not to your taste so did Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, Gil Elvgren, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Disney studio and Studio Ghibli if you like girls like Betty Page the women was a living Reference and they did not just take a photo and slightly referenced the pose that she was in they drew her almost exactly like the photos check out Olivia De Berardinis she has done beautiful work of Betty page I think tracing is where people go wrong do not trace the proper way to use a reference is by looking at the reference and drawing what you see, and there is no eventually you'll never need a reference again no one is impressed by peoples freaky anatomy unless that is what you are going for so please use a Reference when you need too.
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016   Digital Artist
All these people either hired models to pose for them or hired models to photograph, or bought photographs (paying the photographer and model) for their work.

Literally my entire point is to reference when you need to, that's the only way you learn new things. You will reference for the rest of your life you try new things. That's how it works. 
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:iconmycreativeinsanity:
mycreativeinsanity Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Actually no all of them did not hire models to pose for them or paid anything they might have paid for a photo but it was like a couple of bucks not until later in their careers did they start paying people to model.

In your tut you are basically saying coping the photo is not a good thing you draw it as poop all I'm trying to say is that a new artist shouldn't think it as poop they should copy the pose and I don't mean trace the pose but try to get the pose the way they see it in the photo and then as they are comfortable then move on and then try referencing photos the way you suggest that is all I was trying to say sorry for being so long winded the comment was not directed at you but I sent a friend to it and made my comment for them they have really bad anatomy and refuse to use references the point was mainly for them so sorry :D
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:iconmoeazy:
Moeazy Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the best way is to do a bunch of studies of poses and stuff while learning anatomy,construction, etc... but when you are working on your own personal pieces you should limit your references as much as possible and instead rely on the visual library that you built from your studies. 
Reply
:icontomboyandie337:
TomboyAndie337 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This was pretty cool and funny. :giggle: If you got a burp for support, it can't be anyone else but me. ;) *burps*
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:iconfomle-chan:
Fomle-chan Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I remember i saw a documentary about a comicon in mexico. One guy wanted to get a job as an illustrator in Dark Horse, marvel etc. The comic manager looking at his work asked if he used references for many of his comic stripes. The artist replyed yes, and the manager said: come back when you dont need any references. That just tells me that when you practice enough you can do it without anny references! I stil use references on parts i dont draw very often. Like weapons and some armors, as well as action poses, but i really dream of the day i know i can draw it with no help :))
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016   Digital Artist
you made that distinction, not me. 
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2015   Digital Artist
Haha, while there's definitely a level where you over rely on references, i don't think there will be a level where you NEVER use references. Using references means you're learning and as an artist, we should always be learning :) If you find you never have to use references, it means you need to extend out of your comfort zone, and keep growing! 
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:iconmoeazy:
Moeazy Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Not really. If I don't use references when i'm actually working on personal pieces but do studies here and there and rely on my visual memory i'll still progress as an artist. 
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016   Digital Artist
okay but doing studies = using references so... 
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:iconmoeazy:
Moeazy Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
There is a difference between doing studies to build up a visual library and working from imagination on personal pieces vs using reference while you are working on personal pieces.
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2016   Digital Artist
you made that distinction, not me. 
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:iconmoeazy:
Moeazy Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's not something I made. There is an actual difference. Reference means you are referring to something hence the prefix refer whereas study is a copy. Anyway, the tutorial is helpful although you mentioned that you should do the "study" in your head which seems pretty advanced. I can draw from imagination but only poses I've already drawn, I can't absorb by simply looking, although I've seen manga artists who do use your method of study. Perhaps, it will come easier with practice ?
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:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016   Digital Artist
Dude i'm not saying there ISN'T a difference, i'm saying i never made a distinction when i said you never stop using references. If you are still using references in your practice time to learn you're still using them. you're the one making a big deal of it when i never did. 
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(1 Reply)
:iconnocturnal98:
Nocturnal98 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Great advice and information! Thank you for providing this, it will help me a lot!
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:iconcookiewolfz:
CookieWolfz Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks!!! I am going to start doing this now!
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:iconripepperoni:
ripepperoni Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student General Artist
AGGRESSIVE-TONE TEACHING GETS SHIT DONE
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