zaterdag 14 november 2015

Reference, your best friend!

Hey there everyone!

In my previous blog post i have talked about how important it is to use references, and in this blog post i will dig deeper into that subject.

When doing realistic art you want to be referred to the ''real world''. You have to translate what you see from reality as believable as possible. There is no direct guideline for this, since everyone has their own goals in realist art (ie, painterly, photoreal etc), but there is a fundamental knowledge that everyone must know, and without observing anything that is related to your interests/goals that is not possible.That means looking a lot to reality is a must, and knowing how to implement your reference is even greater.

When you practice these ''fundamentals'' you mostly come to understanding that you want to make your own stuff, and you make sure it looks cool. How do you do that?

Again, reference usage. Compose your image from various little things, that even might seem uninteresting at first sight. There are alot of interesting fiction, clothing, artifacts, animals, shapes etc to be see found everywhere, not seen at first glance. Collect a few (thousand) of those, and now you can gladly say you have got a Visual Library.

I will show you an example of how  i used my visual library for my artwork ''Zumokuta, Dying Lotus''

Here are a few reference images i used (i do not own any of these. If your image is uncredited please let me know and i will add your name)

I used this image from Game of Thrones as an inspiration for the necklace of the samurai

 This one i used as a reference for the Eagle (I have almost never drawn one before so this came in really handy)

Samurai armor for the corpses littering the ground

Japanese Oni mask used as reference for Zumokuta's. Gave my own twist to the mask by filling the eye holes with makeshift Engineer goggles. Small details like this can create a unique personality.

Image by Fenghua Zhong. Used as inspiration for overall atmosphere of the image

As you can see, i managed to use the essence of the reference images above to implement and morph them into a piece that is entirely unique to me. I was not afraid of letting the real world as well as other artists inspire me and make my work easier and more efficient as an artist, and another great part, is when i am using reference like this, i am naturally studying at the same time, Win-Win! However, don't do this instead of focused studying please, haha.

Also, when using references, you should know how to properly implement them in your artwork. This can only be done by failing a lot and grinding the fundamentals. I will show you an example of where i used reference like this starting out the wrong way.

Here are two images i attempted to combine directly to create a character with a frog-perspective. Left is an old toy of mine, right is a promotional photo from the series Spartacus.

This is what i managed to come up with at that point. (let's not mind all the mistakes for now) The most prominent mistake is that i used the two reference images above without proper fundamental knowledge, thus i didn't see that these images both had a complete different perspective. When translated to a real horse, the toy POV of the toy is MUCH lower than the Spartacus' As if you would have viewed the horse from a ditch. The Spartacus image has a Frog Perspective. Combining the two means disaster, as you can clearly see in the image above. This results in the rider looking unstable; like he is falling from his horse, towards the camera.

After some great advice from the lovely community i tilted the camera on the horse to make it fit more with the reference from Spartacus. This is the result. The image feels more natural and flowing:

So this was this weeks talk about using Reference and the Visual Library. I hope you enjoyed it and/or learned something from it. Please join the conversation below, let me know what you think and share your personal experience with the subject.

I am Joel Chaim Holtzman, you can find my work at . Until next time!