I realised recently, after watching the following videos that I've been stuck, for a long time thinking 'oh I don't need to look up research for drawing I know what it looks like' or 'I don't need reference for this, if I just draw it how I want it'll just be my 'style''. After watching these videos it was apparent how much of an idiot I've been!  Sure we all want all of our work to be in our 'style' but if we don't draw from reference first then you're screwed, because everything has key features or characteristics that make it what it is.

Before I move on and talk about/post the videos, I highly recommend that you subscribe and check out other videos on each of these channels because they are absolutely full of handy and some vital information for creatives and freelancers in general but more so illustrators and character designers.

First up is Will Terrel's video on drawing from reference. The way he develops his sketches from reference drawings to character design sketches in his own style is something I used to do in college but kind of grew out of. It's a great way to learn what makes up a certain creature or object and then turn it into your own.

Jake Parker is someone I look up to and share a lot, and that's because not only is he a lovely guy, but he is so talented and passionate about what he does, it really shows in his work and videos. Here is one about him telling you how to build up your creative bank, which again is about building up reference so that when you do need to draw something, even without any reference in front of you, you won't have a problem.

Using these techniques is now going to be part of my daily warm up. What I've done for myself and what might be a good idea for yourself if you want to try it is writing down a list of all the things I'd like to get good at drawing and swapping them over every few weeks. So for example I've currently been concentrating on dinosaurs, some other items on my list include females, robots, insects, plants etc.

I've been doing it for about a week now, so I sit down in a morning, draw some dinosaurs from a book or from the internet and then after 20 mins or so I spend another 20-30 mins developing a character of my own from the sketches I've made, usually multiple characters which relates back to my earlier post about experimenting.

Here's a couple of examples of reference sketches:

And here's an example of what I created from those:

If you have anything to add or would like to let me know your thoughts please leave a comment below!