Reference Sources

So what does everyone use for reference? I used to spend hours flipping through old WIZARD magazines looking for a picture i liked, and then it wasn't really mine, i was always copying someone elses style, which kinda stunted the growth of my own style. So it was time-consuming AND counter-productive. But i recently found this book "People and Poses: comic artist's photo reference" by Buddy Scalera and its great. Everything i need is right at my fingertips in one book. I still flip through my WIZARDs occasionally, but just for fun. And i also use "The Art Of HellBoy", that Mike Mignola is a Genius.:)

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  • I tend to use free stock images of real people posing in action poses for my comics.. I find a pose I want my character to take and then draw it... and it's still my style I just use the photo as my reference. I usually get them from you just search for what ever you looking for. but recently I've updated my style so I can now visualize the pose I want in my head and draw a quick sketch of my char in a stick figure then I use that as my reference for the real drawing! also have good backgrounds selection as well for references
  • should've posted here first...:-)..anyway I found a guy named Riven Phoenix who takes you step by step through anatomy and poses. Also, I checked out George Bridgeman but found his stuff to be like having to have a PhD to understand. Alot of stuff is basically the same but if you can find one GOOD reference and study it, you can see basically the same formula in the top artists work.
  • I often take pics and keep a digital album of material of people and buildings and such.
    For many years, I have used poseable toy action figures and add a desk lamp for lighting.
    On a good day, my wife will pose for me.
  • i just recently checked out that book from my local library i just flipped through it and i like the fact that in most comics those are common poses,you sould also check out Drawing dynamic comics by Andy Smith it's a wonderful book plus it has a small but useful section on script writing.I do like Mike Mignola he has such an interesting style,it seems so abstract to me.
  • Hello Anthony, I use whatever material I can get my hands on. How to Draw Manga books from authors like Christopher Hart, David Okum, Go Office (the original How To Draw Manga books), other individual resourses I may come across like Anime Insider and Otaku USA magazines, and Disney Animation.

    I'm largely a Manga style artist, due to that is the style God told me to use for teaching the gospel to the children in our children's church program. Although I occasionally use fan art for teaching, like Strawberry Marshmallow, because the kids sometimes identify with the characters. However, they distinctly know my style of Manga art and have more than once pointed it out.

    I reference material often though for hand and body gestures. Expressions. Hair style. Clothing design etc. But my characters are usually first time character drawings. I haven't really taken the time to look closely, but I don't think any of my Jesus characters I have used has been the same. So, referencing is largely up to you and the effect you are looking for. For real time characters, magazines and photographs is what I would use. For Western style I would use DC Comics and such. For the Japanese styles, anime and manga resources. Then again, if your project calls for it, applying all three.

    My God richly bless you.

    Index of /
  • Hey guys!

    References for real-world stuff (houses, cars, buildings, etc.) are readily available online at many of the photographic archives. Just google "photo archives" and take your pick. The Library of Congress has some amazing images.

    I found an interesting book online awhile back on the Bit Torrent network. It's made from notes and hand-outs from a class taught by the Late animator Walt Stanchfield. It's called Gesture Drawing for Animation. I checked back at the site where I originally found it and they've taken it down. Apparently Walt's family is having the material made into a book to be published sometime in the future. The main concept centers around a problem I've struggled with for a long time. Namely roughing out an image but getting stuck on drawing details like fingers, feet, clothing, the face, etc. By doing a gesture drawing first, we can capture the main action before adding details. This aids in creating the figures and their interaction as well as where they are related to the background.

    Another helpful book is (believe it or not) How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. More correctly the John Buscema way. Stan Lee wrote it as tho he is speaking to the reader and is full of his usual over-the-top dialog. Buscema's illustrations along with samples of roughs and pages from various Marvel comics titles put the idea across well. It's still in print and available at most Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc. Tho I prefer to buy books from Usually find great deals on used books there. Including most books mentioned in the discussion.

    As part of a number of talks with pro comic artists I've had the good fortune to meet over the years, they mention to keep on drawing! You can't practice enough. Draw the things you have trouble drawing, esp. things you don't like to draw. Also, never try to learn how to draw comics by studying comics. While I've never been a fan of life drawing, it does force you learn how to draw people. From that basic knowledge you can then know how to stylize and "break the rules" to tell your stories. Look at Peanuts by Charles Schultz... don't think you can get more basic but for what Schultz was trying to get across to his audience, it works!

    Hope this helps.

    Jimmy S.

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  • I love looking at the work of other artists of all styles to get insperation such as various "art of" books or "best illustrators of _ year" books or various comic books, magazines, etc. I'll see a way that someone has used a medium and be inspired to try it or marvel to see a perfectly forshortened arm and itch to practice that. I'll go to books of techniques or mechanics (like a "how perspective works" book) to learn new things and overcome difficulties, but when I acctually sit down to draw and need refference I always turn to life, prefferably people or objects that are actually there and failing that photographs of whatever I need (google image search can be a both awesome and frustrating tool for this). Perhapes I've simply been brainwashed by all my art professors back in college, but I've come to appreciate the difference that drawing from real life refference can make. Mirrors are also my friend, if I can't get someone else to help out by posing for me I'll rig a mirror up and pose for myself. I'll also occasionally use my own life drawings as reference. Example: I was in say a coffee shop and sketched some of the people around me then later for a project I need to draw someone sitting in a chair and need reference and wow here are all these little life drawing sketches I did of people sitting in a coffee shop. Viola! instant reference that was from life :)
  • I'll start this reply with a clarification of what I discerne as style. There is a part of style that derives itself from an artist making choices consciously in order to achieve results that enforce his/her vision of the images that tell the story in the most effective way. In a perfect world this would entail an artist having unlimited mastery over his every fascet in picture making and selection of image and design layout. This never occurs.
    Each individual is limited in his choices dependant upon his knowledge and understanding of the comics medium. As well, I believe that there is a component of talent that cannot be discounted. I view talent as a bag that each individual fills with information and skill level through study and practice. If this is held to be true , then an individual artist may be limited by many factors as to the choices that are made in the creation of their work.
    If an artist never has someone point out the principles of foreshortening for example, no matter what the style that is desired it would be impossible to achieve until the study and practice of this idea was understood and used.
    Each artist is making choices as to the areas of study, the types of images and the timing of the storytelling that they employ. I believe that there are some artists who, no matter how much study of a subject they undertake, they will not gain the ability that another will with perhaps less study and less practice. This is an unfortunate and yet beautifully human condition.
    To bring this to the discussion point (finally!) is that what you reference is entirely your choice, limited only by what you've seen. What the over-riding point is: You MUST understand that every drawing in every style is an abstraction of somone's perception of reality. The true physical reality of nature is defined by the shape, texture, colour and lighting that each surface undergoes and is then coded into a fomula by the artist who draws initially from reality. What continues to happen after that, is the reinterpretation by other artists who see that abstraction and render their own ideas based on the understanding that they have. So, looking at other's work can be an excellent tool to allow you to find specific interpretations of form, light and colour, but only if you are choosing to use the abstraction with an understanding of what initially was the abstracted real image the style was based on.
    So you don't NEED to draw from real life, but you DO need to know how real life functions so that you can abstract it for yourself or borrow interpretations that please you based on truly understanding when, why and where to employ them.
    To me, as an artist this is the most exciting part, to by my own choice create my "style" in order to express the story and meaning of my comic work.
  • I uses reference alot from ripped pages out from magazines or catalogs at recycling center and sometime from my work which magazines were junk mails. You name it, from people pose to things and anything cool useful pictures from magazine or junk catalog. Sometime I looking up references in the Google Image search engine and best part is you can save to cd.
  • I have been to this one site that has some great advice on all stuff for comic artist. but the critiques can be kind of harsh so beware when you post. But there are a lot of great artist there. I would suggest staying away from all the How to Manga series becuase to learn proper anatomy (which I still have to learn) you should draw from life.... A life drawing class would be best or get like sport magazines for super heroes, or a Cosmo for drawing pretty women. A book by Adrew Loomis would be your best bet, or Burne Hogarth. Wizard actually has a series of how to draw books from many great artist so you might want to check them out. They are kind of pricey though. Hope that helps...

    God Bless.
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