Originally Posted by ZombieMariachis
Lunatiqu: I like showing people these two images from notable illustrators Rockwell and Elvgren. They convey the point perfectly!
I'm not sure if simply showing these examples help, because the real problem lies in the fact that inexperienced artists have this misinformed idea that they are supposed to be able to achieve that level of realism, naturalness, expressiveness, likeness, and accuracy by working solely out of their heads. At some point, they got brainwashed by the ignorant masses regurgitating the false notion that the only artistic integrity in existence is if you do everything out of your head, regardless of the level of realism you're trying to achieve. They don't know (because no one told them or taught them properly) that once an artist attempts past a specific level of realism and, they MUST use references (be it photos or observing real life such as plein air painting or using models), otherwise, you will hit a ceiling and cannot get beyond it, until you use references. This is true no matter how experience, advanced, or talented you are, but it is precisely this point they don't understand and get brainwashed on. These misinformed people go around deriding any artwork that looks like it used references, and they go and make personal attacks on artists who use references as part of their workflow.
That, is the real tragedy.