Artist proves drawing with references isn't cheating

The difference between the no reference sketch and the study sketch is incredible (Click the top-right arrows icon to enlarge the image)

Drawing from memory and drawing from reference material results in pictures that are worlds apart. However much we think we can rely on our memories to instinctively know how to draw something, this series of illustrations from artist Jack Stroud (aka Jackobo or PetrichorCrown on Twitter) shows how there's no substitute to studying a subject in detail.

Using a lioness as his subject, Stroud demonstrates how drawing from your memory can result in inaccurate drawings as the mind struggles to fill in the blanks of certain shapes and details.

He goes on to show how even a brief look at reference material can radically improve the standard of a drawing. In his final picture he resorts to 'eyeballing' or studying an image in depth. The finished result is a much more lifelike illustration that highlights the shortcomings of drawing without references.

In his Tweet, he writes: "I'm here to tell you the truth about referencing in art! IT ISN'T BAD. YOU CAN'T LEARN WITHOUT STUDYING."

Stroud's demonstration definitely proves this point, so be sure to use reference material in the future to enhance your own sketches.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.