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Tutorial-Using Photo Reference
By ThirdPotato   |   Watch
1K 355 43K (1 Today)
Published: August 30, 2010
© 2010 - 2019 ThirdPotato
"How do I draw?"
"Use photo reference."
"................k?" *wanders off not knowing what to do next*

WELL NOW HERE'S A TUTORIAL ON WHAT IT MEANS TO "USE REFERENCE PHOTOS." I realized that there's a big mystery about "reference photos." (or using life-drawing, real-life references, same point) Some people see it as "cheating," other artists say it's a "key ingredient to accurate and/or believable drawing." It's in my opinion that the former thinkers, only see reference photos as a source for copying. Well, pukes, this tutorial will prove otherwise! Now, I'm not claiming to be a great artist or nothin'. I just really like trying to explain what I've discovered through my own experiences.

Stock Image from: [link]

For more tutorials see: [link]
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Comments (336)
AshWolf-Forever's avatar
AshWolf-Forever|Professional General Artist
I sorta do tend to ref one photo but it's good to see this anyway :) Still learning.
Then again I use photos more for poses.
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PizzaPotatoNBacon's avatar
PizzaPotatoNBacon|Student General Artist
:clap: Thank you for this very helpful tutorial.
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Hafanity's avatar
just what i needed !!!!
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ScapeRune123's avatar
ScapeRune123|Hobbyist Digital Artist
So funny and helpful. Thanks for making this awesome tutorial. I really love it!
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Peilinsirpale's avatar
Peilinsirpale|Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, this was so helpful! I've already mixed several references before, but this taught me so much more about them! Thank you for doing this!
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HiroKimura's avatar
HiroKimura|Hobbyist General Artist
Hello Again !
Thanks for the tutorial again ^^
The outcome is here
hiroki-tatsumi.deviantart.com/…
Observing is really cool, thanks for pointing that :)
Reply  ·  
HiroKimura's avatar
HiroKimura|Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, you made my day x)
Well, that will give me lot of doors to open and to draw better :) Thanks ^^
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anti-hero711's avatar
There's a Ren And Stimpy reference in there and I appreciate it. It's where the one learning is being choked and slapped. Lol. Loved Ren And Stimpy when I was growing up!

A very informative tutorial. Nice one!
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ThirdPotato's avatar
ThirdPotato|Professional Digital Artist
XD it was a great show, for sure. Thank you!
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anti-hero711's avatar
Welcome dude!
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medicus-stellarum's avatar
medicus-stellarum|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good lord above. Thank you for this, this has saved my life. I used to just start by copying the body and doing my own face and it usually looks dumb. I feel like I actually know what I'm doing now. 
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ThirdPotato's avatar
ThirdPotato|Professional Digital Artist
I'm so glad to hear n.n
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Gryphinlover's avatar
Gryphinlover|Student General Artist
|''^3 Thank the Lord for this you, who made this tutorial.
Because it makes sense.

Once I actually reread it all!
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racheldeast's avatar
This was the best and most fun tutorial I've ever seen! Thank you so much!
Reply  ·  
AzureGriffin's avatar
AzureGriffin|Student Digital Artist
What a great tutorial ;w; Thank you so much <333
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ThirdPotato's avatar
ThirdPotato|Professional Digital Artist
You're most welcome!
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DarkellaLord's avatar
DarkellaLord|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This tutorial is sooo good=3 It will definetely help me. Do you think, if I analyse references carefully and try to draw every day - I'll memorise all this timey-wimey-drawey stuff?+__+
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ThirdPotato's avatar
ThirdPotato|Professional Digital Artist
but of course! Observation is the artist's biggest tool
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DarkellaLord's avatar
DarkellaLord|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for a fast reply=3
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defhermann's avatar
defhermann| General Artist
I never analyzed a ref pic before waw *.* good job man. And love the magic mike..erm i meant magic math stuff :)
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TrinitySage's avatar
TrinitySage|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't know why, but i can teared up a bit as i was going through this tutorial.

It's like seeing the world in a whole new way, I'll never look at a reference photo the same again and i think this will really help me with my drawing! Thanks so much for the tutorial <3
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ThirdPotato's avatar
ThirdPotato|Professional Digital Artist
I'm so glad to hear! Thank you TuT
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TrinitySage's avatar
TrinitySage|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Anytime, thank you too! <333
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ConscienceMoment's avatar
ConscienceMoment|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been drawing for years and my biggest problem has always been folds in clothing. I always just fixed them until they "looked right". I'm sure a realization of how to do folds isn't the big picture you expected to give someone with this, but boy am I so thankful right now!
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