As an artist, one of the biggest questions you may ask yourself is whether to draw from memory or with a pose reference. Both methods have their pros and cons, and it ultimately depends on your preference, skill level, and the specific project you’re working on. In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of both methods, and hopefully, help you decide which one is better for you.
Drawing from Memory
Drawing from memory is the process of creating an image without any visual aids, such as a photograph or a live model. Instead, you rely on your imagination and your knowledge of anatomy, perspective, and other artistic principles to create an original piece.
- Creative freedom: When drawing from memory, you have complete creative control over the image. You can change the pose, the lighting, the composition, and any other element you want to make it unique and original.
- Improves observation skills: Drawing from memory requires you to have a deep understanding of the human body, facial expressions, and other elements of art. It helps you develop your observational skills, which can be useful in other areas of your artistic practice.
- Develops your own style: When you draw from memory, you’re not limited by the pose or the reference image. You can experiment with your own style, and over time, develop a signature style that sets you apart from other artists.
- Limited accuracy: When drawing from memory, it’s easy to overlook certain details or get proportions wrong. This can result in an inaccurate representation of the subject.
- Limited versatility: When you rely on your imagination, you may tend to draw the same poses or characters repeatedly. This can limit your versatility as an artist and make your work appear repetitive.
- Time-consuming: Drawing from memory can be a time-consuming process, as you have to constantly check and adjust your work to ensure it’s accurate and visually appealing.
Drawing with Pose Reference
Drawing with a pose reference is the process of using a photograph, a live model, or a 3D model as a visual aid to create an image.
- Increased accuracy: When you use a pose reference, you have a visual guide that helps you get the proportions, lighting, and other details right. This results in a more accurate representation of the subject.
- Versatility: When you use a pose reference, you can experiment with different poses, angles, and lighting conditions. This can help you develop your versatility as an artist and create more diverse work.
- Saves time: Drawing with a pose reference can be a faster process than drawing from memory, as you have a visual guide that helps you work more efficiently.
- Limited creativity: When you use a pose reference, you’re limited by the pose, lighting, and composition of the reference image. This can make your work appear less original and creative.
- Less opportunity to develop observational skills: When you use a pose reference, you’re relying on the visual aid to guide your work. This can limit your opportunity to develop your observational skills, which are important for an artist.
- Risk of plagiarism: When you use a pose reference, there’s a risk of unintentionally copying the reference image too closely, which can lead to accusations of plagiarism.
Both drawing from memory and drawing with a pose reference have their advantages and disadvantages. As an artist, it’s important to experiment with both methods and find what works best for you. In general, drawing from memory is better for developing your creativity and observational skills, while drawing with a pose reference is better for accuracy and efficiency. However, it ultimately depends on your preference, skill level, and the specific project you’re working on. Whatever method you choose, remember to have fun and enjoy the creative process.