drawing from photo...

Is it "illegal" to draw from reference photos? Well it depends. If you are posting your sketches on Urban Sketchers blog or FB wall, it is :D). Drawing from secondary sources is not bad at all, but you must not be caught copying straight out instead of reconstructing from it.

Besides, a photo is also not a 3D representation of the actual location or object, or in other words, the photo is a flattened version of your subject. So drawing from it does not help you to train yourself to see and organize the 3D space onto a 2D plane. So flat out copying does not benefit you if you are trying to grow as an artist.

But it is not a waste of time drawing from a photo. As there are many things you can learn, unlearn and relearn at the same time: simplifying shapes, organizing tones, reconstruct chiaroscuro, shifting focal point, redesigning composition and so forth... I could go on and on....

Here's one I draw from a photo my wife took just before dinner. I sketch with a Pentel brush pen on Fabriano sketchpad... there is some tooth on the paper surface so the brush strokes have some textural quality to them.

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