Should I Draw from Life or Photographs?

I believe and I am sure most art teachers will tell you that drawing from life is always better than drawing and painting from photographs.  I think particularly if you are learning to draw then drawing from life is essential.

Of course there is nothing wrong with drawing and painting from photographs and while working on illustration commissions I have in the past used many references from photographs an images.  Sometimes it isn’t possible to observe the subject in life.

The main disadvantage of drawing and painting from photographs is that they are two-dimensional.  This prevents the observation of volume and space. Observational drawing from life is also advantageous because you are observing light first hand so you can make those connections like where the light is coming from and seeing how it hits an object.

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How can I Develop Ideas for Artwork?

Sometimes being given a topic is easier than having complete freedom to draw or paint what we like.  If you have no guidelines then I would suggest drawing and painting what interests you.  Sometimes we aren’t sure what interests us, so then it is best to take some time to observe life, nature, the weather, everyday life etc. and see what inspires us.  I always find that going out helps with this, it is hard to be inspired when you are sat at home or  in a classroom with the same four walls!

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