I am one of those art snobs whose goal is nothing less than to be able to draw like the late Kim Jung Gi and only rely on my imagination to create work.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
If like me, you are only at the start of your artistic journey, this mindset can hinder your efforts and be detrimental to your progress.
We take for granted that all the best work is created from imagination and undermine how much research and references can participate to the creation of the most exciting artwork.
Kim Jung Gi himself was not creating art out a vacuum, instead he was digging into a mental library he crafted over years of studies. Years of looking at and analyzing references.
Few weeks ago, my fellow Basque Vis Dev artist extraordinaire Sylvain Marc, unveiled his new Schoolism class and looking at the trailer, I was once again in awe at his very distinctive work characterized by simple bold shapes as statements and intricate details … as whispers. I am feeling poetic this morning. As you can see on the trailer, Sylvain gathered a very large collection of buildings and clocks references before opening Photoshop and this is certainly what makes his work stand out compared to artists using formulaic and generic assumptions.
An other example I would like to mention for the use of references to give more umpf to your work is the character design of 10 years best selling manga: Once Piece.
I am not an avid One Piece reader but I can’t help going back to Eiichiro Oda’s best seller and marvel at his striking character designs.
For a very long time I simply admired the bold designs and once again assumed they were created out of thin air when in reality, real characters and caricatures of those real characters are what the world of One Piece is populated with.
Had I not came across this fantastic post on Quora, I would have never thought about it and just assumed Oda was just gifted by god-like abilities.
There are a ton of examples on the thread so make sure you check out the article :
That’s it for today, I hope this article will incite you to look at references for inspiration and stop behaving like an artist snob!