FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   Log inLog in   RegisterRegister
photo reference
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> (Web)Comics Theory: ART
Previous: PostScott's comic class at MCAD Next: PostAnyone heard of readers confused about...  
Author Message
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 12:56 am    Post subject: photo reference Reply with quote

recently I have discovered the awesomeness of using photo reference in my work. A while ago... maybe about 5-6 months ago, I tried using photo reference for the poses of the character "Fistonica" in a one shot comic: "Team Imagikon" (http://www.vince-coleman.com/teamimagikon.html ... you have to scroll down a few pages to get the action shots with Fistonika. They were pretty much all taken from Japanese action hero poses).

But check out the backgrounds. They are all pure imagination, no photo reference. Interesting stuff, but lacking something? Design wise they look cool, but basically they are a bunch of black spaces and lines.

Now check this out:
http://www.vince-coleman.com/bastarts/portfolio/kimono_final_web.gif
http://www.vince-coleman.com/bastarts/portfolio/samurai_web.gif
http://www.vince-coleman.com/bastarts/portfolio/zeus_web.gif

All three of these drawings were based on photo reference. The kimono wearing lady was taken from a DVD, the samurai from a photo in a magazine, and the Zeus (or was that Zues?) was taken from a photo of a statue of Po.... Po... how do you spelll his name? The Greek sea god. Poseidon?

I'm not trying to brag here. You could say that ALL of this work sucks. But even still, the point is the noticable difference in quality between the stuff that uses photo reference and stuff that doesn't.

The DVD player has opened up a whole new door for me. Want to do an action comic? Just go out and rent an action DVD and sit there in front of the screen drawing cars going over cliffs, etc. A samurai comic? Rent some samurai DVDs and you've got INSTANT sword fight scenes!

At least, this is what I am thinking as of right now.

But I have two questions to all of you out there:

1) Is this ok? I mean, bottom line is, if I'm having fun with it and producing comics that people like, and I don't cross any copywright laws, then everything is cool. But, like, is this an example of "an artist doing what he ought to do, drawing from life," or a cop out? I mean, Kirbey and all those dudes... they didn't have DVD players. In my eyes sitting in front of the TV, putting the DVD on pause, and sketching away seems so perfect I can't believe I have never done it before!!! But what is the general concensus out there on this? Not that it would make me stop. Having too much fun. But what do people generally think of this?

2) How many people out there are using photo reference heavily in their work? First of all, how many visitors to this forum use photo reference? And secondly, does anyone know about the so-called "pros"? I used to just assume people like Jim Lee or Mike Allred or whatever (personal taste aside, these guys all fit into the "pro" category, right?) came up with all of that in their minds. Maybe using a few rules of proportion and perspective along the way. So for the longest time, I have been tackling comics that way. And not doing THAT bad, but certainly failing in some big areas. Like, if I have a scene that calls for a few people floating around in some cloud dimention, I am good. But if all of a sudden I have to do something like draw a person sitting on a couch or driving a car, I am absolutely lost. I mean, my attempts at putting people in natural poses sitting in chairs, standing in a room, etc., are so, so, so incredibly sad. Yeah, I have a copy of "how to draw comics the marvel way," and I know there is that chapter where they show you how to draw the inside of a room with nothing but your imagination and a ruler, but I just can't do it. But, slap a photo or DVD image in front of me, give me a few hours, and you've got a realistic scene. So are people like Jim Lee, Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, etc., making extensive photo reference use?
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ragtag
Consistant Poster


Joined: 22 Jul 2001
Posts: 139
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see no problem with using photoreference, drawing from life is not allways practical. I often use photo reference for sketching. A great source for images is www.corbis.com , they all have a watermark across them (if you don't pay for access to the site), but that doesn't make a difference if you're just using them for reference.

When I was at the 3D festival in Copenhagen earlier this year, concept deisgners Feng Zhu had a lot of photo reference photos, some logos and neonlights he even copied and pasted (twisted and adjusted) straight into his image.

Cheers,

Ragnar
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, that corbis thing is pretty cool. an artist's dream. Yeah, the watermarks are no real setback if you just want to sit in front of the screen and draw what you see...

I have to say, though, the more I think about it, the more in love with DVDs I am. Now is this horrible? Basing a character's face on an actor and just following its emotional permutations through a whole movie. One time I read somewhere where an artist, I think it was Brian Hicks, based one of his characters on some actress.

I am thinking of totally basing a new character on this dude from a movie I have on DVD called "GOJOE" (the japanese name is "Go jo rei sen ki," which means "5th street spirit war records." It is funny that they chose to write "go jo" as "GOJOE," not knowing that they made a piece of Japanese history sound like a GI Joe cartoon!). I am so totally excited about it. You can just follow him through the whole movie, and go, "ok, here is him looking sad, which is what I want for this scene.... and now here he is looking angry, which would be perfect for this scene.... ok, and now we have a shot of him walking, which I need over here..., etc. etc." Of course MY story has absolutely nothing to do with the GOJOE story, so it won't be just copying the whole thing. But you can totally sellect images from the movie, and they will all hold up in a different story if you rearrange them right.

Looking for photo reference in magazines and on the web is cool and all, but sometimes it is difficult to find the poses you need. If you know you are going to do a western, though, for example, it is so much more likely that you are going to find at least 80-90% of the poses you need in one movie alone. THIS is why I think DVDs are so cool.

Which really makes me think.... there are artists out there working in super realistic styles that I really admire, and always thought of them as existing on a different plane of existance. Take that guy who was drawing for Queen & Country for a while. I don't know his name. Or it could be a woman.... Anyhow, this person, whoever he or she is, was drawing these awesome sketchy ink drawings for the book. And I was just stunned at how realistic everything looked! Was he/she just coming up with this stuff in his/her head? Maybe I ought to write a letter and find out.

It looks like that artist totally based everything on some movie (or more than one movie, maybe). I mean, it is just so darn realistic looking. But at the same time, it has such a great "painterliness" to it. Which is difficult, but NOT IMPOSSIBLE to do if you sketch from life or photos. Or a DVD.
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I see no problem with using photoreference, drawing from life is not allways practical.


Drawing from life is cool too. I know it takes a lot of drawing from life to get to the point where drawing from photo reference is even an option. But even drawing from life was "cheating" for me in the way I used to think. I used to think that for COMICS, everything had to come from your own head. Which meant that yeah, practicing sketching and stuff by drawing from life and photos was cool and all, but when you were actually drawing a comic, you had to just pull stuff from your own head. I guess I was caught up in the whole Hogarth / How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way "you don't need reference material" kind of attitude. Weird.

So now that I have woken up to the reality that using photos or DVDs or whatever is a real option for drawing comics, and I am just totally excited about it! These artists that all seemed to exist on a different level of existance.... these great artists.... how many of them were drawing from life or photos or whatever? Like, if someone lives in an apartment in a comic, was that apartment based on the artist's apartment? I am just burning to know!!
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Guest






PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use photo reference heavily in my work. Why? Maybe I use photos references because I do not have confidence in my art skills to do it by myself. Perhaps I have seen how it has improved my art greatly. I often feel like I have to defend myself in doing so ... but why should one feel guilty?

It is only in comics do we have a problem with this. Like it has to be all from our heads. That is great but in any other art form most artists use either live subjects, still lifes, or photo reference. Why is okay for a famous painter to use photo reference, but not a comic book artist???

Personally, the thing I despise more then comic artist being accused of ?cheating? by using photo references are the people who do not and have no idea what they are doing. I remember in college I was in a student group with a bunch of artists. Back then we were all into anime and superhero comics. So you would see these heroes running around some metropolis fighting crime, although not one of these artists knew how to draw a decent building. They all looking like elongated blocks with squares for windows. And why was there not any people walking on the streets when all this is going on? Where were all the parked cars and litter on the street? I used to plead with the group to take a field trip to the outside world to look at real buildings. I mean you have to realize that there are different types of architecture, different kinds of windows, how real store fronts look like and know that there is actually stuff on top of buildings, like antennas, air conditioning, vents, pipes and etc instead of drawing a flat roof with nothing there.

The real eye opener was to read about my favorite artist Alex Ross. He demonstrates that he could draw and paint superman in his sleep from doing him in so many projects, however there was always something he can learn by bring out a model and taking pictures. Sometimes you might notice something different in the lighting. Maybe there is a looking on the model?s face that you would not have thought of. The point was, he was a professional and he was not going to be egotistical enough to believe that he knew all he had to know about figure drawing.

The thing is, I admire people who are able to pick up a pencil and do a photo realistic illustration from their heads. That is all great, but for me I am too detailed oriented and too perfectionist too unsure about my ability not to use photo reference. But that is not wrong. In fact drawing from life is a good idea. Because the best way to get perspective, lighting, and structure right is to draw from the real world. The real world does not fake it.

Vince, your art that you displayed is really good. In fact it was fantastic. The things you notice when you are looking at a photo that you might miss otherwise really makes the illustration look real. Real people are not perfect, nor is the world we live in. You have to have the crows feet under to person's eyes or litter on the street to make it real. NONE of the "how to draw comics" books tell you how to do it. All of them are so busy telling you how to draw the same muscle bound hero over and over again.

The question is, where to get your photos. Over half of the photos I use are photos I took myself. They are sure-fire ways to avoid copyright issues. However, it is not every day where you can find samurais walking past your house in duel. Sure you can get your friend to hold a stick and just pretend he is wearing the right cloths ...or you can look on the internet. Beware, just because it is posted on a royalty free site, does not mean you do not have to worry about copyright. In fact you have to pay those stock photo places a subscription fee. You can get away from it if you change the image enough that it is no longer the photographer?s artistic image and now something different, but to me it makes sense to pay them or do it yourself.
Back to top
losttoy
Understands reinventing


Joined: 02 Apr 2002
Posts: 429
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoops, took to long for me to write that last post that I must have gotten logged out. That last post was by me.

I want to add that I find it risky to use a DVD and rearranging it to tell a different story. Regardless how well you pull it off, there is the issue of copyright. Further, why use a director?s vision when you can use your own? In fact in using our own photos, you can direct your actors to any pose or emotion you want at whatever lighting and angle you want.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
However, it is not every day where you can find samurais walking past your house in duel.


thank God for that!

seriously, i have more to say in response to your post, but I gotta go now.
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why is okay for a famous painter to use photo reference, but not a comic book artist???


...yeah, that is weird, come to think of it. Weird. And all this time, I was trapped by good old Stan Lee and John Buscuma's "How to Draw Marvel the Comics Way" or whatever. I wonder if the whole not using photo reference thing was a natural extension of working against tight deadlines in an inhouse publishing studio? Though you just know good stuff like The Spirit and whatnot were products of lots of photo reference. So just when DID the whole anti-photoreference thing crop up, and why? It seems to me that lots of early American comics were a LOT more realistic than today's stuff, so maybe it is just our generation that isn't into using reference?

Or maybe a lot more people are using reference than I thought...?

Quote:
And why was there not any people walking on the streets when all this is going on? Where were all the parked cars and litter on the street?


...yeah, that pretty much sums up all my comics up until now. Funny story.

Quote:
The real eye opener was to read about my favorite artist Alex Ross.


Ok, you are going to kill me, but for some reason I seem to be the only person out there who doesn't like Ross. In fact I hate him. But I do have to respect him for his attitude towards drawing from life. As an artist, I am interested in what he is doing technically. And reading his interviews, etc. As a fan I don't really like his stuff all that much. Not... "painterly" enough for me. I really want to see him push himself creatively. He seems to be caught too much in the technical side of things to really get out there and jazz things up a bit. Not that I could even stand in the same room with him when it comes to technique, though, so yeah, like my opinion counts.

BUT, don't you think it is funny that one of the artists I don't particuarly like is almost the main representative of hard core reference use in mainstream comics? Putting aside indies comics for a second, and just thinking about mainstream stuff, it seems odd that there are so few people out there who are "known" for working from reference. Just the fact that it is a special thing, and that it is something "different" about Ross is weird. In my ideal comics world, he would be just another guy in the studio filled with tons of brilliant, genius painters all working from reference to create crazy, jazzed up, intense work.

Quote:
Because the best way to get perspective, lighting, and structure right is to draw from the real world. The real world does not fake it.


Yay! When you say stuff like that it gets me all excited!! I am looking forward to more drawing from life! Today I spent the entire day working on the design aspect of my new portfolio (placing titles on articles, deciding color schemes, etc.), which was a lot of fun and all, but it isn't NEARLY as satisfying as learning about a new kind of shadow or an interesting wrinkle in someone's clothes while sketching from a photo or life. Whee! Tomorrow it is back to the drawing board!! Yay!

Lots of artists just get better as they draw comics, so from here on out that is what I am going to do. I used to sketch from life for practice, and draw from the head for comics. Now I will be sketching from life and photos for comics, so doing comics will be like drawing practice. How cool is that?!

Quote:
The thing is, I admire people who are able to pick up a pencil and do a photo realistic illustration from their heads.


Not me! I hate them!

Quote:
Over half of the photos I use are photos I took myself. They are sure-fire ways to avoid copyright issues. However, it is not every day where you can find samurais walking past your house in duel. Sure you can get your friend to hold a stick and just pretend he is wearing the right cloths ...or you can look on the internet.


Copyright issues aside, for creative reasons I would love to use photos I take myself. But yeah.... period pieces are hard!! And stuff like fighting... yeah, I am with you in spirit on not being bound to a director's vision, but at the same time, the director is either and expert on fighting working with excellent stunt men, or he is hiring really good people to do it all. In good films, anyhow. Either way, what is going on on the screen is much better than what I can do in my head. At least for now. Who knows, maybe in, say 40 years or so, I'll be the king of drawing fight scenes from my head. But for now, I'm gonna have to say goodbye to the Hogarth method and just start watching more DVDs.

I haven't really checked on it, but I seriously doubt that there will be any copyright issues. Actually, I don't even know where to check up on this. Anyone know?

But really though, I think that if you are drawing what you see on movies, there shouldn't be a problem. IF you are infusing it with your own vision and only using the movies as building blocks. But maybe there comes a risk when you start basing characters and stories on the same movies you are using for reference. Even then, I doubt anyone would take you seriously. Or me, or whatever. I suppose it would only become a problem when you wanted to go ahead and make a movie out of your work! Whee!! When you get all Mike Mignola on it and put your own Hellboy onto the movie screens around the world! You know, I just gotta say, Hellboy is coming here to Japan and I am thrilled! No matter how it turns out, just having the dreams of one cartoonist travel across the seas to movie screens over here is something to aspire to. And all that money!! Whooooo boy! Think of all the graphic novels Mignola is buying right now, this moment! If your stuff goes to the screen, you could even own your own comic book store! And hope it doesn't go out of business...

where was I? Oh yeah. Reference material. I love it, now.
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
losttoy
Understands reinventing


Joined: 02 Apr 2002
Posts: 429
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am not sure about Japanese copyright, although American copyright you can get in trouble even if you cross media. I guess I have been to enough GDT classes in college where the first lecture was always about copyright. However that was years ago and it would be better to send you to the source ...

U.S. Copyright Law
Japanese Copyright Law
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm... ok, I read through the portion on using copyrighted material in the FAQ section, which led me to the "fair use" page.

Interesting. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is said about the world of novels, movies, and comics. Which got me thinking...

It's no surprise that comics aren't included, but what about novels, movies, etc.? How many times have you read a book that reminded you of another story, or seen a tv show that was so obviously based on something else.... or what about the Hollywood Action Formula which a lot of action movies seem to use? Why doesn't the Copyright office have anything to say about any of this? Can you perform a cover of a song not yet in public domain on your cd... or in a live concert? In music, it is pretty clear and simple: yes. Though if that's ALL you did, chances are you wouldn't sell and record companies wouldn't give you contracts. But legally, the answer seems to be a solid yes. No one in their right minds would ever think about sueing (is there an "e" in sueing?) someone for doing a cover of their song.

"Covering" a story is a little bit different, yes. You can't just go out there and read a novel, and then write "your version" of it (unless we are talking fan fiction, which is all free anyhow, as far as I know). But taking ideas from novels and putting them in your own novels seems to be fair game.

And the same with tv shows, movies, etc. No one really owns a copyright on love or war or bar fights or best friends getting in an arguement or any other story element.... So I guess all of that is pretty fair game. And it is literary tradition to be "well read" and base your work on other works, or more correctly said, insert your work into the flow of literary history. Same with art. Art, meaning paintings, sculpture, etc., has "commented on" art of the past for centuries.

So if I break out the Bad Boys DVD and draw up some action scenes based on that DVD, isn't that what I'm doing? Seen from one point of view, yes. If I make a lot of money off of it, and someone somewhere thinks they can get a piece of it, then I guess I could be in trouble.

I don't think that I could make that much money to really show up on the map, though. And who is really going to even be able to say how much of what I used was taken from DVDs? If I change the clothing of the people, change their facial expressions, heck, give them whole new faces, etc., who would know? If YOU were in charge of things at a movie studio and YOU found out that some cartoonist was working from your company's movies, what would you do? I'd feel a little funny about it, maybe. I'd like it if he called me and thanked me. But I wouldn't ever think of sueing him.... It wouldn't even enter my mind.

Rights and laws aside for a moment, is it realistic that anyone is going to feel that going to court is the way to go?

Who knows. 5 years on down the line you could see something in the newspaper about me facing severe penalties for drawing from DVDs.... which would up the price of my comics, maybe? Especially if I went to jail. So buy everything I publish now, while you can get it for cover price!!
_________________
Vince Coleman
www.vince-coleman.com
comics and stuff...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Eric F Myers
Understands reinventing


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 352
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2004 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe a lot more people draw from picture and life then you think.
As for myself, you can tell in my art work when I draw from life and photos.
For example, take the card I did for Zwol's 52-Pick-Up Jam. Who does that look like to you? If you guessed Bob Marley you win.

Now in the bizarre story Blood of the Bean every panel, except the first and last, were based on a photo or from life (my hand in panel 2).

In the comic Truck I had no idea how to draw a small pickup truck. So every shot of the truck, and the toy, are based on photos that I found on the internet. Even the crash.

More resent is the western I'm working on Duty. Any panel with a close-up of a hand is really my hand that I drew from at an angle or from a mirror. The rest of it is drawn strait from my head.

Everyone has to draw from life at some point in order to add some realism to their work. As for the pro comic artist, once you've drawn a big super hero guy a ten thousand times you'll need very little references to draw him again for the ten thousand and first.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> (Web)Comics Theory: ART All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group