Our resident artist Khabbie has provided an original drawing, along with lessons for aspiring illustrators. Kahbbie is also the host of our monthly Figures and Fantasies event, held on the first Monday, during Sass After Class
Hello everyone! I’m Tina, my art alias is Kahbbie and today I’m gonna briefly go over how to use references in a piece plus some tips and tricks that I use to make art and have fun while doing it.
Before I start with the how-tos of using references I’m going to say that doing so is great when you’re starting out or when you want to up your game a bit. Take a photo of your hand when you can’t figure out hands and so on.
For this piece I took a couple pictures of the packaging of Tom of Finland toys as they all have individual art pieces of gay men specifically for the poses because I love the way the characters interact.
Firstly lay out your basic shapes based on the reference. If you’re working with paper don’t be afraid to sit down with a printed copy of your reference photo and trace over the shapes and details to get a feel for where everything is before you draw it out.
Secondly, adjust things that aren’t working for you. I was having real trouble tilting back the head until I decided to just draw it neutrally, plus I adjusted the legs so that the strap on would shine through. If you’re drawing from reference to improve stuff that’s challenging simply give it your best shot, but if you’re just drawing from a photo you liked adjust whatever you want. It’s your art.
Thirdly make it your own! While it’s good to study by replicating the way other artists do things developing the skill to change things while having the piece still work is also an important skill! As you can see I changed the gender, skin tones, clothing, the general positions of arms and legs, the time of day, how zoomed in out view was, how much of the motorcycle can be seen and how much detail we can see and added a background while still maintaining my goal of keeping the general pose and the feeling of warm cuddly sex in an unconventional spot that the original photo has.
Lastly don’t be afraid to scrap an idea and try again! As you can see from the process video for this piece I had a different reference and pose in mind but found it was interesting enough to me so I erased everything and started again. A great art teacher once told me that sometimes you need to destroy your art to make it better and I find that advice works whenever I get stuck.
Go forth and enjoy your art!