The use of reference can make or break an illustrator. I’ve seen how the use of a reference photo is the difference between really stellar work and mediocre work, even when I’m working in a more cartoonish style. If I want my characters to move with believability and have facial expressions that grab the viewer, then the use of a photo reference is essential.
I remember when I first started working on children’s book illustrations, I thought photos weren’t going to make a difference because these are more cartoony drawings anyway. No one will know one way or another, right? Wrong. The best thing I ever did was to hire a young girl to pose for me and watch her move. All the drawings worked out 100 times better after that.I used to be able to find possible subjects/models all around me a few years ago, but after my hip operation, I've noticed I stay closer to home. I don't get out and make contact like I used to. Consequently I haven't the same model base I used to draw from: families from church, friends and neighbors. This is becoming a problem I hadn't really noticed before. I even found a site where people can hire models from (Model Mayhem) and that would be great only I don’t have the kind of funds it would take to hire anyone. Mostly I have gotten models to pose for me in exchange for a drawing or painting, mostly friends.
Anyone have similar experiences? I’d love to hear about it.