Vegetable or Fruit? Tomato or Tohmahtoh? I never knew how beautiful artichokes can be. While researching artichokes, I discovered the artichoke flower, and I had to include it in my sketch of French artichokes. How did I discover the artichoke flower? Answer- Google Images. If you’ve never tried looking on this site for reference images, then you NEED to go there.
How to use Google Images:
- There’s two ways to get to Google Images…When I go to Google on my desktop, up in the top right corner of the screen the word “IMAGES” is next to my name. If you click on that word, it will take you directly to the Google IMAGES site.
- You can also go to the Google website and you search the word “images” Google IMAGES will come up as the first option. Click on it and a world, no a UNIVERSE! of images will be at your fingertips. I go there very frequently when I have a project in mind to obtain reference photos or begin to wrap my mind around a subject and various ways to treat it. That’s what I’m going to have you do today.
When doing realistic artwork, it’s my assertion that you should always be looking at a reference of some sort. Every time I draw from inside my head without looking, things quickly go wrong. Objects simply don’t appear as I imagine they do. Does this surprise you? If you have trouble drawing, try LOOKING more carefully at your subject. I bet you’ll see improvement in your work. (Make sure you put your glasses on, haha!)
The other day I had you draw a Teacup from life. This can be a challenge. You have to sit still. Often, it’s helpful to close an eye (to keep the slight perspective difference between your eyes at a minimum). Composing your subject can be difficult. You have to answer a host of questions just to get started: where to put it on the page? how large shall you make it? Will it go off the page and where? Will you draw the entire object? From what perspective will you draw it? Whew! No wonder it’s hard to know where to begin sometimes!
Photos are great, and to avoid any controversy, the best ones to use are your own. This avoids lots of issues. But let’s face it, we don’t always have photos of what we need. That’s when Google Images is a goldmine, but CAUTION! How to avoid getting in trouble for copying someone else’s work:
Drawing from a photo reference immediately answers some of the problems that need to be addressed when starting a project. With that photo, your perspective is already decided upon, and your image has already been composed and sized within the frame. This is why photo references can be so helpful. This is also why images are considered intellectual property. The photo artist has composed, cropped, and captured a unique perspective on the subject. If you use someone’s photo as a reference, you must keep in mind that you are copying someone else’s work. However, it’s not black and white. The lines are gray, and I try to use a common sense approach. If I use someone else’s photo, I try to make it so that the photographer will not recognize their work in mine. I personally do not think it is wrong to be inspired by other artists. I do think it’s wrong to copy, unless you are in a class or beginning as a painter. However, if you are going to enter shows or sell your work, many art organizations who host juried shows will reject you and possibly embarrass you if they withdraw an award due to copying. Be very careful how you use other people’s images! The general rule for me is this: If it’s someone else’s image, I don’t enter it in shows. If I’ve copied someone else’s painting, then I also don’t enter it in shows and I personally feel it also should not be sold. Do you see the lines getting grayer here? If you are working with a teacher and you copy their painting, I would suggest you check with your teacher and get permission prior to entering or selling. This will help you avoid any future awkward moments.
|Impermanence by Sheryl Luxenburg. The stock photos she used to derive her painting are below.|
These stock photos were combined for a painting which won the AWS gold medal in 2008. If you’re curious, here’s an article that tells what can happen even if you buy the license to use an image. Sheryl Luxenburg had her award withdrawn and is now banned from participation due to violation of the AWS show’s stipulation that work must be original: Innocent mistake led to controversy: disgraced artist and Statement by AWS regarding controversy over Impermanence-2008 Gold medal withdrawal. We all need to make sure to avoid that kind of situation.
OK, I’ve gotten a bit wordy today, but some days I just have a lot to tell you =).
Here’s your Challenge for Day 28 of our 30 Day Challenge:
- Go to Google Images and research a vegetable or fruit and find a reference or a few references. If you want to draw artichokes, it’s allowed, despite the fact that it’s really a flower! 😉
- Print out your favorites and then use them to create a drawing. You may use your weapon of choice, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. lol
- You may draw, color, or whatever your little heart desires for this sketch. You’ve earned it after 28 days of dedication!
- Take a photo of your sketch and send it my way. I’m enjoying the exchanges I’m having with those of you who are sharing with me. Here’a a few of their sketches from Day 27 Draw a Chair:
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