I still don't understand this concept?

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  08 August 2013
I still don't understand this concept?

I heard that it is bad to keep drawing with references for example looking at a picture of rose and drawing it because the rose is flat and will be better if we draw without references which means drawing the rose but not looking at the photo, but looking at it live.
This is because it have depths, and the rose won't look flat on the paper when we draw it out as compared to drawing it when we look at the photo.
But, isn't drawing with references and drawing without it the same, except we are looking at it one from life, and one from photo? I mean, if I were to take a photo of that rose and after that look at it life from the same angle, it looks the same to me, and from photo it doesn't look flatten and from life, it doesn't either. Or, is it because I got the meaning of flatten wrong or something, I don't know?
People also said that looking at a rose or an object/human life will let us know it's form etc because we can look at different angle and draw another angle of it again. But, can't we do the same for photo, since we didn't restart drawing the rose, and using another angle, I know it's form/depth and uses that knowledge that I just gained to draw the depth on the same rose again? If this is the case, then I can understand why we shouldn't draw from references.
But, this isn't the case because people say we will be able to know the depth, and we should draw another rose again with the depth/ new angle that we just draw. Then, isn't it the same as looking at another angle of a rose in another angle and draw it again? As it is not like the method which is highlighted in red, where I didn't restart drawing another rose etc?
Please, I really want to understand this concept please?
Thank you!!

- John New
  08 August 2013
I mean, looking at objects like human or anything with references and without references are the same to me, and I don't understand why it looks flatten?
If I were to take a rose and take a photo of it, using it as references, then I look at the photo and draw. The result of that drawing is the same the drawing that I drew while looking at the rose life while drawing it?
Therefore, isn't it the same? I can understand if some people can find depth and add details into the rose to make it have volume/depth etc, and to find depth, we have to look at the rose from different angle life which we can't do so in photos.
But, they said after looking at it from different angle, we have to draw another rose again from another angle with the depth we just saw and must draw it out.
The question is, if I'm not using the same angle that I just drew the rose in and add depth in it, and I use another angle with depth instead, then what's the difference with using or not using references or not?
I mean, it will be a different scenario if I'm using the same angle of the rose that I first drew, and could find depth in it while looking at it life [without references], and that is the depth that could not be found while looking at it from photo [with references]?
  08 August 2013
First, I think I would amend the advice and say don't only draw from reference.

But, the thing about drawing from a photograph is that when you do so, you can't get any information that isn't there in the picture. Suppose you're looking at the rose, and you see how some of its petals are scattering light through them. But if you can't see where the light is, how bright it is, what the angle and softness of the light are, how much can you really know about just how translucent the petals are?

In addition, a photograph or other reference image is innately limiting in the amount of information you can get from it. Resolution and dynamic range are both terribly limited in comparison to what your eyes can gather from a real object.

Finally, when drawing from a reference, you do not have the option of creating a new image. You can certainly reproduce what is on the page, and while that can be helpful as you're learning some basics, at the end you'll still only have what you started with. Somewhat less, actually, since you're making a copy of a copy.

There's a famous piece of artwork entitled "The Treachery of Images" by Magritte. It is a painting of a pipe with the words (in French) "This is Not a Pipe." It's a little on-the-nose in the postmodern age, but the point is that a picture of a thing is not the thing itself. So if you draw based on a picture of a rose, you are not actually drawing the rose. What you have when it's done is a picture of a picture, not a picture of a rose.
Bryan Ray
  08 August 2013
Other than what Bryan already pointed out, I'll add a few more.

-Camera lenses often have distortion. Many artists aren't well-versed in photography and can't decipher the distortions inherent in many photographs.

-Photographs are often of a frozen moment and can be taken out of the context of what was happening. Not all photographs were taken during that ideal split second.

-You can't direct or move or change the setting of a photograph that's already been taken if you don't like the angle, lighting, expression, pose, position, background, etc.

This isn't to say that it's bad to work from photos. It's only bad if you do it blindly and without proper knowledge of the limitations of photos. If you also learn photography, then you're a lot more likely to understand what it can and can't do, and then be able to work with photos more effectively.
  10 October 2013
I have heard this question before and think that I know the answer.
People can usually draw easily from pictures, but have problems when drawing from life.
It's about the edges and values and the way eye focuses on one single spot at time.
You know that it's good way to create feeling of depth to picture with blurring edges in distance. Near edges seems sharp and clear. As you read this text you see it sharp and clear, but things in background (behind your monitor) are blurred. Next you look to background and it turns sharp and its in good focus while this turns blurred. Thats how eye works. Focusing all the time. Then if you draw what you see, you draw only sharp edges and there will be no feeling of depth. If you look shadows in reallife your pupils in your eye opens and sees more light and you end up drawing your reflected light too light in shadows. Eyes change exposure all the time.
Camera focuses to one spot or few, but one distant. In photo there is one distance with good focus and others are out of it... blurred. If you look blurred part of photo it stays blurred... your eyes can't change the picture. Tones remain constant in photo. Then we draw better edges from photos and we dont learn to do it from life. That's why people say that you should not draw from photos and its bad.
I think we should study life AND photos.
  10 October 2013
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