Many of my students would of seen me use blurry references before. I would usually have three copies of a reference right next to me as a drawing aid.
1. Print one would be of the outline of the reference.
2. Print two would be of the actual reference in colour.
3. Print three would be a coloured blurry image of the reference.
www.picmonkey.com/The outline print is usually printed in black and white on regular printing paper. This outline will help you transfer your outline onto your drawing paper.
How do you get your outline ?
I use a website called picmonkey which has filters that can help you change your reference into an outline.
Drag and drop your reference into the home screen of the website. On the left of the screen you will have a whole bunch of editing options. Click on the little wand symbol (Effects) and scroll down until you see an effect called "edge sketch" select effect and your image will change to an outlined image, you can adjust some of the settings with in the effect to achieve the desired results.
My actual drawing reference is very important to have close by because I would be observing it the most while applying what I see to my drawing paper. This reference can be purchased at iStock photos.
I often have my main reference on my iPad but for my live tutorials I would print them on matte photo paper.
When you have transferred your outline to your paper and you are ready to start adding colour it can be quite intimidating to look at your reference because there is so much detail. Where do you start?
You start with your foundation colours without worrying about the details. The easiest way to ignore the details is by not seeing them.
A blurry reference is the easiest way for you to get your foundation drawn. It stops your eyes from seeing the details and makes the starting process less intimidating.
This step helps my students so much, especially the beginners. A drawing is a process, it needs to be broken down into gradual steps. Starting with an outline, then progressing to a foundation containing values and shapes and then slowly working in the details.
To get a blurry reference like this you can also use Picmonkey. Drag and drop your image into the picmoney home page. On the left, click on the effects icon which looks like a wand. Scroll down to the effect called 'Fancy Focus'. Drag the focal point off of the photo and adjust the first to settings to 0% and the third setting to 100%. See image to the right.
The two effects described in this blog post are unfortunately effects the are paid for. You might find free ways to do this and that is great, whatever works for you. I choose to pay for these effects because I use them all the time. For those who follow my tutorials on Patreon, I will always supply the outline and blurred reference for you.
From blurred to detailed
Happy drawing everyone,