The Upside of Photos

Veteran fine artist and illustrator Marshall Arisman spent years drawing from life, but now works exclusively from photographs because of these advantages:

  • You don’t have to deal with the break times a model requires.
  • You don’t fall into the trap of drawing to please the model instead of yourself.
  • Your freedom of expression isn’t cramped by the presence of someone else in the room.
  • You’re more likely to depart spontaneously from a photo than a model. “When I start a drawing from a portion of a photograph—say an arm, leg or back—my drawings become much freer and more spontaneous,” he says.
  • Your end result is always a surprise.

“After many years of drawing from a model, I realized that working from photos gave me more freedom,” he says. “I don’t, however, believe this would have happened without the years of life drawing.”

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