Just a small Friday journal from me about the importance of reference. Even when doing something that isn't realistic, reference is still key in creating images that are striking, but also make logical sense. I have these screenshot examples from when I redesigned Davis Motomiya that I thought might be interesting to share.
The first pass was unreferenced, and I have this nasty tendency to draw hands and heads bigger than they are in real life. This gives off the impression that his is going to topple over.Left is unreferenced, right is referenced from Loomis anatomy. I can't figure out why the image on the right is so blurry (submitted this with my phone, maybe that's why?), but it's fine if you click on it
So what can we glean out of this? As previously pointed out, the head and hands are far too large, the hips are way too narrow (when I drew the behind shot, he literally had no butt). The gap between the legs make no sense, and the clothing creases are all over the shot and give no suggestion of form. I used Loomis' anatomy guide to fix him up and give him better proportions.
Again, left is unreferenced and right is with photo reference.
And here we have another example of my before and after. His face looks rather... odd in that first example. Features aren't placed in the face correctly, nothing flows just quite as it should. It also has no appeal to the character as everything is wrong, and you end up too focused on the bits that don't quite look right.
The revamped versions might look minor, but I hope it's clear just how much reference can add to even a cartoony style image. There's so much to learn and remember about objects, people, animals... we can't possibly be expected to remember them all off the top of our heads, so have no shame in using reference. Your work will be much more improved for it!
Now, if you've read this far, congrats! Link me to an example of a before and after reference picture you have done!