I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil (which is such a cliche thing for an artist to say but its so true), and yet I have had to work hard to rely less on reference photos when drawing people. It’s often hard to remember what a body does, how it moves when it’s at a certain angle, and what correct proportions are.
Yet (as I am am aiming to create mainly picture books), the most beautiful and interesting characters don’t always rely on correct proportions, so long as they exude feeling.
There is definitely a time and place for using reference photos, but incorporating a daily practice of drawing people from imagination is as valuable to an artist as free writing is to a writer.
Here are ten reasons why drawing from your imagination is super valuable:
- You don’t have to spend any time searching for the right photo
- You can see what images come straight from your mind
- You can look out into the world for reference
- You can form your own style of drawing people
- You will create more unique characters
- You will vastly improve your drawing
- You will start to visualize the person’s face on your paper
- After a few weeks or so of daily practice, you will become a happier human being
- Through the people you draw, you can see inside your mind more vividly
- You don’t need any fancy supplies, a good mechanical pencil and a cheap sketchbook will do