I had to make this journal for a few reason..
One big one is that I'm really baffled when people get caught tracing work, and their argument is "Oh they must have used the same reference / You can't copyright pose"
Yes. This is true for some folks. For how I do work? I do not use references. I should. But I don't. This is why later I'm often squinting at my own work trying to figure if I made that person too thin, or is that hip too lumpy or the hell happened to that dislocated arm D:
The reason I don't use reference material is I personally am stubborn. I never wanted to be in a position where my work was up for debate because of reference material (figures/bodies).
So. How do you do it?
No. I'm not joking.
I scribble the heck out of my work. I squint, scribble, erase and smudge, (sometimes throw in scream or plea to the gods) and scribble more. I do the flippy thing too -- IE through program or holding it up to the light and peeking through the other side to see if it looks ok.
What do I mean?
This is a good example of scribbling.
I generally start off with a head and draw a line for the spine, line and balls for joints and limbs, and fingers.. screw fingers. Fingers you get in the way :/
After I get somewhat near of what I want, then I go to inking and cleanup
After that. Slap colors on:
So what goes into a pose.
How do you get better?
Screaming at your paper doesn't work. Tried it.
A lot of it comes with just getting confident and feeling like you understand the body enough. Watch people in real life. Gesture and figure drawing classes when/if you can. Draw from real life. (Gesture drawing really is so great. It's scribbling 10-30 second figures from what you see)
After you get that down, it's more or less scribbling things to shape.
True, you hit snagfalls. Back in my early days, I hid hands and feet when I could.
Referencing is not bad. Referencing is NOT copying however. Please see Shattered-Earth's amazing tutorial:
She deals with stock photos and provides countless wonderful material for people to use and learn from.
People have said gesture/figure drawing classes are referencing (from real life). Yes. But again, these are learning tools. You eventually gain knowledge of how figures move and become comfortable enough to where you do not need to rely on these tools to create believable forms. They're a path to get you from point A to point B.
I do believe, as a whole, many people do not know how to reference things properly -- Referencing is not copying what you see (minus for Gesture/Figure drawing.. .as that's a tool learning anatomy on the fly... Gesture drawing = squiggle people.)
I'm also a firm believer you do not reference/copy other people's art. While you may gain some knowledge copying someone else's work - you're also learning their mistakes as it's their interpretation of how a body moves.
Copying something, be it a photo or other people's art, is not referencing. That is copying.
Hope this helps!