First of all, thank you all who've taken the time to favourite, comment, say hi-- what a lovely warm welcome to the world of deviant art! I'm happy that my Phantom drawings have been really popular up here, so guess what? I'm working on another one! My friend gave me an actual clean copy of the 1990 version of Phantom of the Opera (as well as every other possible version) and after watching it again my inspiration has been renewed!
I just wanted to say a few words about these particular drawings. When I was a kid I used to love drawing pictures of my favourite bands and movie stars from photo references and after a couple of years I got pretty good at it. My young mind didn't know anything about "derivative" art or the supposed mortal sin of using any kind of photo reference in your drawing. Once I started taking my art seriously, I listened to a lot of teachers who introduced me to these notions and it gave me quite a complex for a number of years. The notion of copying from photographs, let alone ones that weren't even mine, was toxic to me and I shunned all my former methods of practice for more "serious" methods.
Now, two things-- I've held for a long time, and to some extent still do, that if you are going to use photo references you must strive to use your own material if you are creating artwork that you want to show seriously in your portfolio but don't discount the value of practising from photographs, yours or other peoples'-- leave those value judgements behind and just see what you can do. The tradition of painters has been to copy the artwork of other famous artists in order to improve their own skills, and we can learn a lot from adopting a similar mindset.
The other thing is, people are going to slag on you for using photo references of any kind because a photograph is a skewed depiction of what you would observe in real life-- and you know what? It's true, but who cares? There are so many other things you can learn from practising off a photograph, like negative space, spatial relations, angles, forms, tones. If you can get your drawing looking like the photograph it will doubly work in your favour when you are working from real life.
Revisiting my old method of practising off of photographs has been a lot of fun for me and very relaxing. My skills are getting a good exercise and I'm just having fun with the content. I am not interested in selling this work as the composition and concept are not mine, but I've learned to leave the judgements behind and just have some fun which is absolutely key in improving as an artist. This is just a shout out to any of you who've ever felt conflicted over this topic-- I've been there and learned that it doesn't matter, just do what makes you happy. That's what I love about Deviant Art.
In a couple of weeks I'll post some of my techniques and share with you as well as some of my earliest drawings from when I was just starting out. I love discussing techniques with other artists, I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions with your own work, I'm always more than happy to help.