Using References Without Constriction

After a week of downtime I’ve stretched my arms, cracked my knuckles and returned to the drawing board!

Remember that Mannequin Model Introduction I was chipping away at… 4-5 months back? I’d drawn up some wicked-cool sequentials as an example, to show how even the most complex illustrations begin with a bare-bones foundation.

Well, this is the next and the last frame in that sequence! After narrowly dodging a fatal blow dealt by the mutated fiend she’s found herself in a tussle with, this sassy deva whips out her firearm and shows him whose boss!

Obviously, she’s packing a lot of attitude, sexy and all round bad-assery! But what I want to divert your attention to for the moment is the reference sheet I’ve thrown together to her right…

This is how I use references!

It’s okay to lean on references to nail a pose, or create a comp, whether in be for a study or an original art work. References are drawing tools. Just like the ye-old pencil, paper, ruler and rubber.

But I’ve found that using references in this way tends to confine any cool ideas I’ve got, to the reference. And I find myself, drawing within the boundaries it sets.

There is a way to use references however, that lets your ideas roam free - a way that allows you to use reference material in the context of your idea, instead of the other way round.

This pic is a good example that shows you how I’m doing that.

As you can see I’ve established my own pose and composition, I’m directing my own scene here. But the references I’m using are helping to sculpt it out – to articulate it. This causes me to use the references more as a source of inspiration than direct form of observation.

For the most part, this lovely lady is done and dusted. But the piece as a whole is still in progress.

The next time you see it, those vague scribbles in the background will have transformed into an intricately rendered background. Can’t wait to show you how that works out! ;)

I’d love to hear your opinion and thoughts on this piece – Most of it I’m happy with at this point, but I’ve had to do a lot of tweaking around the hip and bum region to get it looking right. Still not sure if it’s all 100% spot on just yet.

Enjoy - And keep on creating.