Re-drawing photos...


I’ve been re-drawing some photos in magazines.Would this help me improve my skills?If it isn’t,what are the best ways of improving? :frowning:


It WILL help you inasmuch as it will improve your hand-eye coordination, but you need to understand principles behind the art-- things like form, lighting, perspective and muscle masses. With proper knowledge of the basics, you will be able to draw anything.



I’m not a beginner at art.i think i know the basics of drawing;all i want is to make my pics look more life-like :slight_smile:


I find drawing from real-life( as in drawing yourself using a mirror ) to be very exhausting. I’d rather take a quick photo and reference that insted. Saves discomfort for both the artist and the subject! :slight_smile:


Drawing from photographs was the only way i learnt how to draw.

I couldnt draw people in real life.

A photo keeps everything steady. You done have to worry about each time u look at the foto the mouth is in a different position etc.

Draw people you know and Draw people that your not familiar with.

Drawing from a black and white photograph will help aswell. I used to photocopy alot of the people i wanted to draw. Just helps with the shading and tones and lines. Then eventually youll start doing it on your own instinctively and you can draw straigh from a colour photograph and even better, in real life.



yeah,i’s also exhausting for the model :wink: what i ask here is,indeed,would it improve my skills if i redraw a photo?


Oh,thank you! i thought i was wasting my time ^^;


you can say that when you are painting/drawing after a photo you definatly study the photo. You can get good to draw by just looking at things around you I think, but you really don’t mind giving that much attention just to look. When you draw from a photo you study each little detail of what you are drawing. If you at the same time try to understand why the things you draw look like that.

I couldn’t draw clothes and clouds at all, but I guess I learned alot of the basics behind clouds and clothes while painting some from a photo. Now I can paint clouds that I would say look like a cloud without reference… atleast better then what I did before.

I dont think you will learn to draw life like faces, clothes etc without using reference. But you don’t have to copy a photo completely- as long as you understand what is on the photo.
Drawing a cartoon character demands study aswell, but a cartoon character is easier to draw because we have all studied people trough life so we understand the basics of a character, for example that a man has two eyes…


drawing from a photo doesnt allways give you the life-like look. you can have a perfect lighting and shading when copying photo exactly but working with model gives you much more life and dynamics. if you pose somebody and make a picture or use photo from magazine it doesnt look so natural. model sitting in a chair for two hours look more life-like. when somebody sits in front of you he gets tires, he moves … thats not bat, this is also what puts live into drawing. if a model for example falls asleap and almost lays down, dont worry and draw it all into one piece. this drawing can look more life-like than any photocopy, but your probbably asking just for skill gain and getting the realistic look.


You can develop some skills, but it is no substitute for a live model. Even if you can’t get in front of a live model, try and draw friends, family, strangers in the park (- as long as they are not too strange!!).

Even copy artists work you admire - British artist David Hockney once said ( and Im paraphrasing), “copying other peoples art is a marvelous way to learn - teaches you to see though other peoples eyes”

Johannes Itten (of Bauhas fame, and later for his seminal work ‘the Art of Color’) had his students lay tracing paper over reproductions of old masters, and then in a very loose handling, draw the major arcs, curves etc from the reproduction, as well as laying down the tonality of the reproduction. They got to appreciate the fundamental pictoral structure of the works by doing this.

You might think of creative ways of using the photos - ex: what happened just before - or after the picture was taken - and then draw what you envision. Or what about trying to draw using the photo as a reference, but draw fron a different vantage point. Try and draw ‘loose’ rather than ‘tight’.

Just some thoughts



Although Photos are a way to improve the hand-eye co-ordination, I have found that working from life is the way to understand the real dimensions, gravity, muscle structures of people. One method is to keep a small sketchbook with you at all times. Observe and draw what you see around you- on the bus- waitng for the bus, in a cafe- whatever… pick a subject/ victim and go for it, but spend no more than 5 mins on the sketch. Yes, they will move- but not that much- life models move too!
It doesn’t matter if you “finish” the drawing, what is important is that you will be interpreting space/ negative space and translating the 3D to the 2D of the page. After a while you will find you are able to understand and render much more about the mechanics of the anatomy… you will also get very quick at it. The main thing though is DON’T be precious about the drawings… they are sketches…learning excersises, they are the margin workings of a maths problem…not a final project, oh and the best way is to sketch in pen or not to use an eraser…this way you will be leaving in the construction lines and be able to see the “mistakes” and learn from them.
Hope its of some help.


Very good advice I think. :smiley:


Another important thing is that colors and values in a photo aren´t life like because of film process / digital sensor!

So in the end to master a color rendering, life painting/ drawing is neccessary…


Yeah,i think using photos as reference would help better.
And,for that cartoon reference thing,i started off drawing anime characters :slight_smile:


Yes;but i also don’t like using natural colours too :slight_smile: i always want my chars to look impressive;with excessive make up and lightning :slight_smile:


I really wish i had people around me who doesn’t move much.My mom and dad are completely unavailable ^^; and my classmates move too much that cannot stay at one place for even a second -_- still,i’m drawing so much sketches at school;sometimes using myself for reference ^^;


Actually,i loved that idea! :smiley: redrawing my favorite artist’s drawings will help me understand the composition and style they use :slight_smile: thank you!


sighs how i want to use a model,but no-one in my class and my family is available for that job :frowning:


if you cant afford to give somebody few bucks for a 2 hour session or visit some figural-drawing classes (some art schools make it available for public or offer training for people that would like to apply) than you can allways go to café or other place where people doesnt move so much (for ex. museum, once one lady sitted there for about an hour for me)

[edit] i recommend you also to copy drawings from masters. michalangelo’s work is avilable on the internet in fine resolution, also loomis has great anatomy/life-drafing books (try


If you have to, get an inexpensive full length mirror (or even a couple of them!) and draw yourself - I did it for years (in conjunction with going to life drawing workshops)