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HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trotroy HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trotroy
To all my fellow artblocked, stumped, and confused artists, here's a kinda long guide on how to work around your stumps! And it's also basically the answer to why some artists are good/awesome and how you can work your way to become as good/awesome/even better than them!

Some works used in this aren't mine and are used for reference purposes and are credited as such.

Keep practicing yo! and excuse my writing

EDIT: Holy man, thanks so much EeNii and Elandria!


Color and Harmony
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-09-08
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trotroy It can't be said often enough that using great references makes for great art! Check out this fun and useful tutorial on the subject! ( Suggested by EeNii and Featured by Elandria )
ImbecileMutt Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Dude. I found this extremely inspiring for someone who spent so long going "NO REFERENCES," but is now realizing that is less than realistic.
This deviation is so easy to read with those cute little jokes and doodles. Thank you for making this available to everyone!
trotroy Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for the kind comment and I'm glad you found it very useful! :aww:
VincentVermeulen Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks. that was a very interesting and useful post.
Neelai Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For many many years I refused to use references, and wanted to draw everything from my memory. That was stupid. Progress was slow or non existent. Today I use a lot more reference and I hope to improve faster than before.
Thank you for posting this. I'm sure it will help a lot of people :-)
trotroy Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you and that's really great to hear! :aww:
Hntpo Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really interresting and encourages to use references, thanks :)
ColdHeartedCupid Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I have so many references that every gadget I own is low on memory XD 
trotroy Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Yeah i know what you mean LOL
ynne-black Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Student General Artist
Yeah... being inspired by artist can cross the stealing bridge quickly, but referencing from nature? Seriously, why people still believe it's wrong to understand what you're drawing and see how it work? :/
NicoUris Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Men I love this "tutorial":)
CheezayBallz Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It makes me sad that so many people think that using references is cheating. There is no cheating in art (well, except you steal, trace and copy like an idiot lol)
Even the greatest artists use references. You can't draw everything from memory.
I could draw a horse without problems, but it would somehow not look right, so I look at a photo and know how to draw it better.
Using a reference is definitely a great way to understand how things work. 
trotroy Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
amen! It's actually difficult for newer artists to tell the difference between blatant copying and referencing
j-rocky Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Student Digital Artist
IrkenConfederate Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your wealth of knowledge will not be wasted! Thank you, very much.
trotroy Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome! :aww:
pandafroghat Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
These HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE are so helpful! so much knowledgeI think I've fainted. 
madelaine02 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
This is really helpful! I was really thinking that referencing was a bad habit to get used to. Thank you for making it :)
Renewalazar Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Wow... This was really great! Thank you for posting!
BeetheGatekeeper Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This... all of this. I've made posts myself (lil ones anyhow) encouraging people to reference because I keep seeing people apologize for using reference photos. I don't know if they don't understand the difference between that and blatant art theft...  or if they honestly think that even though the old masters went literally WAY out of their way to learn how to correctly render human anatomy, there is now somehow shame in having to look at a pose or texture or a photo of a rock at sunset in order to know what they look like... If I have to draw from memory in order to be considered a serious artist, then I'll happily be a crummy artist who feels good about her work.
trotroy Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Amen! I hope more artists do this
FlamingBulbinArrow Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This will make my life so much easier, thanks for drilling it into my head when no one else would! XD
trotroy Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I believe using refs aren't empasized enough, but when it is, it is seen or even used as copying
FlamingBulbinArrow Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I'm glad this little doodle cleared that up, at least for the people who read it XD
trotroy Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Hope so! C:
AnnDreamy Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you, it`s very helpful tutorial :D
jounetsunoakai Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
i think a lot of ppl who said this tutorial is teaching you to be art theft is failed to see the difference between referencing vs plagiarism  :P....reference is only to remind you with texture, shape, color composition, etc like want to draw an eagle, you browse looooots of photos of an eagle, understand their colors and shape then start drawing WITHOUT making it similar with the pictures you reference, make the angle different, give your style, it to reminds you how their feather looks, how their beaks looks, how their claws looks etc. which is exactly what this tutorial is trying to tell you. copying/plagiarism is taking one photo then drawing the exact pose, composition, ideas, angle, shading etc. its not wrong if you want to copy a photo UNLESS you grab a camera and take  it yourself. although i can say the picture with a kid and a dog can be considered as copying, but  its not wrong to reference 90% of a picture element if you clearly say its a STUDY and link the artist who made it, also not claim it yours, but i think its better if you keep it in your private folder.  it depends on how ppl take it/understand the tutorial but its clearly not telling you to YEAH GO AHEAD TRACE SHIT AND CLAIM IT YOURS. in my opinion this deserve the DD because its reminds me to not being lazy when i forgot how an object looks like and start referencing. yeah some ppl may take it in the wrong way and think plagiarism is ok but other ppl stupidity is not his responsibility
Silkkat Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Awesome tutorial. I learned a lot here. This is very helpful and well put together. 
Inarmsofamity Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I get so much shit from people I know for using references so it makes me wary to have one out when I'm drawing because they'll see the initial thing and be all OMFGGG UR COPYINFGGGGGG THATTTT even know I change it so much it's unrecognizable.
It really annoys be especially because I feel like the pressure on me is double. I'm always having to prove myself at school because last year a girl who doesn't like me got upset that I was ranked higher than her in art classes so she spread a rumor that I copied and even traced all my art, everyone believed her, so now I can't even so much as look at a reference without someone trying to say I copied it.
trotroy Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Oh man, I just got to this now. That's terrible and immature of them :/ You can take my advice with a grain of salt, but you shouldn't be prove yourself to anyone. Always do it for yourself first. Peer pressure can be tough, it takes a lot of tough skin to not care about such pressures.

I hope you're doing better!
secondchildrenASL Featured By Owner Edited Sep 16, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Quoted for truth ù_ù
ThePurpleTabby Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Student Filmographer
This is true on so many levels.
Xanna-HappyHeart Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

thank you?
EveLivesey Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Professional Photographer
I'm sorry but I think you should make it quite clear to people that if they publish their 'copies' that they need to credit and link - you are putting them at risk of having their work taken down or worse still - being subject to litigation by the photographer (if the photo is copyrighted or if it has a creative commons license that requires credit and a link).
joeyzsrk Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks . It's very helpful XD
CountryShiba Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist

thank you.
LostbunniesofWendy Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Useful advice! People out there, come and see this!
Tsabo6 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
well said, sharing
ipoco Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
very nice! I will use references more often :)
thronic Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Thank you for this post! But I don't get what Picasso meant! Hm...
I-lovefood Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
that's a good read, wish i had this when i started out lol 
Onishadow Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
but where is the line drawn at "referencing" and straight out "sampling" xp haha
PuNK-A-CaT Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Student General Artist
For a long time I've felt like I'm cheating using references, so glad to know that they are real tools, not a cheat!
kubuk13 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree, good advice !!
Princessvegata Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I use a lot of references. I have some folders where I printed them out and stored the pages. I use mostly references for  poses of my drawings, sometimes Landscapes for Backgrounds. Its a great help for me. When I used a reference, I mostly tell it in my drawings.
Vladinovitch Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
as I say to about this "tuto" : Exelent in fact. Simply simple, simply logical, so simply brillant
dusk1234 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student General Artist
I definitely agree that references are great, sadly I do not usually work with them even though I should. My drawing teacher made similar points the other day. She had us draw from memory an eye and then had us take a mirror and draw our eye so we could see the differences between the two. Using a reference will definitely help in the long run. I have never thought of making a folder of references though, I'll start doing that now.
neophobica Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Great advice :)
LadyAway Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Advice for people reading this: if you think it's cheating, use references for your personal studies only and don't show the results to anyone. Then use your new skills to create something without a reference.

You can't create anything realistic if you've never used any reference. As long as you don't redraw a work of somebody to get praises (that work will be at most 10% yours, so you steal the praises from the artist), it's totally OK to study everything—reality, photos, style of others. Just use it as studies, not a material to boost your artistic ego (drawing a horse from reference doesn't mean you can draw it, but draw 50 horses from 50 references, and you should get the skill)
Chiyosen Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Student General Artist
Oh my gosh. Thank you for making this. :XD:
First of all, school was giving me serious stress. DX This gave me a good laugh.
Second of all, I kind of lived thinking "referencing is the same as surrendering your style/self-reliance." But now I see I was wrong. X3 Thank you.
vanillaorangelatte Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very wise words, and nicely done, thank you)
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