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HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trisketched HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trisketched
To all my fellow artblocked, stumped, and confused artists, here's a kinda long guide on how to work around your stumps! And it's also basically the answer to why some artists are good/awesome and how you can work your way to become as good/awesome/even better than them!

Some works used in this aren't mine and are used for reference purposes and are credited as such.

Keep practicing yo! and excuse my writing

EDIT: Holy man, thanks so much EeNii and Elandria!


Color and Harmony
Flow and Rhythm in Lines
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-09-08
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ART LOOK NICE: Reference n Style by trotroy It can't be said often enough that using great references makes for great art! Check out this fun and useful tutorial on the subject! ( Suggested by EeNii and Featured by Elandria )
lavendemour Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Student Digital Artist
great tutorial, thank u so much
do u have perhaps a nice site when I can find real life references? 

thank u! 
trisketched Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Student Digital Artist
Google is your good friend, try "art reference" or "photographic reference". Here is good too, just check out the reference section!
sreenivas9alapati Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Brilliant advice. Thanks for putting this together.
KeiraBreeze Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015  Student General Artist
That was literally the most wonderful thing I have ever read thank you
Kawaii-Getsu Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I always thought having to use references made me a bad artist... Thanks so much for this post!
trisketched Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Quite the opposite! A great artist knows how to use references effectively by learning and adapting with it
Kawaii-Getsu Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
alvringer Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for making this! :D
Atrision Featured By Owner Edited Oct 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great information sir :)
VividThought Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2015  Student General Artist
That answers one of my biggest questions when it comes to how good artists are without using refs.
This tutorial not only made me feel better so I could improve, it also helps me see things in a different perspective now!
narnia-awake Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Super helpful!
Cloozy Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2015
Ipod Photo Cache ! What a great artist !!! x)

Joke aside, that's a really good work !
NarutoUzuSakuraHru Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2015
you have great tutorial!! thank you for making them !! you rock!! ( in the good way :)naruto gif Sakura Haruno 
trisketched Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you too! C:
gafAntonina Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2015
I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your tutorials. They seem to finally explain me what is missing in my mindset to draw good. Yeah, I always knew there's a huge gap between me, who can't draw at all and my desired level of drawing, but after reading your tutorials (especially the later ones) I kinda figure out what I should fill it with.
Although, this road of artistic self-improving is so long for me that now I'm quite scared to even step on it... sigh, hope to overcome this as well one day :-)
MyMakersDaughter Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I love this tutorial so much! Sometimes I think I need to draw from memory, or it means I'm not a real artist, but that doesn't make sense at all! I like the idea of taking different things from different refs. Thanks so much for the tutorial!! 
TaintedTruffle Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm actually afraid to use references cause i don't want tit to look to similar than be accused of theft ._.
trisketched Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Student Digital Artist
There is a difference between using a drawing to copy directly, and using a drawing to get an idea how something is drawn.

i can't blame you though. Theft is a very sensitive topic on this site. If you want, you can just make studies and you do not even have to post it online!
JA-sining Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
i squeak like a little girl every time I notice somebody is a fan of Loish. hahaha anyway. great how-to. learned a lot. salamat! 
trisketched Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Everyone needs to be a fan of Loish. Walang anuman! 
JA-sining Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
hahaha. lupit talaga ng gallery niyo sir. gustong guto ko po ang style niyo. pano niyo po ba na-develop?
trisketched Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
haha salamat yo. Experiment lang ako ng iba't ibang style. You can see all of them in my Tumblr dumps
duckwagon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2015
Things like this give me that ol' "THIS IS SO INSPIRING #and also overwhelming and discouraging and confusing and where do I start??# *sob*" feeling.
Reference has always been a hard subject for me. Same as life drawings. Or thumbnails.
I get perfectionistic super easy and lose my way, and I always get stuck on 'Where do I find X??' or 'What do I look for??' and whatnot. Like stupid simple things, but still.
trisketched Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I know that feeling oh so well. Take it easy and do it one step at a time! It gets overwhelming sometimes, relax and have fun with it C:
bugg08 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for making this. I'm going to save this for inspiration. I get so down about my work not looking great that I stop. I've just recently started working on a reference a day after talking to another artist that I know in RL (she is really really good, and often draws from photos). Sometimes I don't finish in one day, but I can at least find time to do a little work on a reference piece each day. 

Thanks for the inspiration & support that you have provided with this tutorial ^_^
trisketched Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I'm glad you've found help in this! Thank you too and best of luck to you! ;P
Ishowa Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Student General Artist
Hahaha! This was very interesting to read! Thanks for posting <3 Will definitely keep this advice in mind!
ProfessorSheepie Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Superveloz Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2015
actually, drawing from memory is kind of a mental reference xd
Flurriestone Featured By Owner Edited Jun 16, 2015   General Artist
0/10, denied Demonic Summonings.

but in all seriousness, this series is great.
Black-Card Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015
Well, I'm gonna have to watch you now!  lol
MisterLegendary Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Student General Artist
what about if you become a slave to reference? Where you use reference but your visual library doesn't expand and you are stuck relying on reference for every little thing thus limiting your compositions and perspective to what you can find reference of. 
trisketched Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I think a good technique is to take a certain aspect of a reference (ie texture, pose, color scheme, elements, subject) and then draw the rest with your imagination. You don't have to actively try to replicate that aspect, just take inspiration from it.
RogerEisen Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2015
Thank you. This is simply essential.
darko0x Featured By Owner Edited Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for help us to improve our drawing :) (Smile) 
ImbecileMutt Featured By Owner May 25, 2015
Dude. I found this extremely inspiring for someone who spent so long going "NO REFERENCES," but is now realizing that is less than realistic.
This deviation is so easy to read with those cute little jokes and doodles. Thank you for making this available to everyone!
trisketched Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for the kind comment and I'm glad you found it very useful! :aww:
VincentVermeulen Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks. that was a very interesting and useful post.
Neelai Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For many many years I refused to use references, and wanted to draw everything from my memory. That was stupid. Progress was slow or non existent. Today I use a lot more reference and I hope to improve faster than before.
Thank you for posting this. I'm sure it will help a lot of people :-)
trisketched Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you and that's really great to hear! :aww:
Hntpo Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really interresting and encourages to use references, thanks :)
ColdHeartedCupid Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I have so many references that every gadget I own is low on memory XD 
trisketched Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Yeah i know what you mean LOL
ynne-black Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Student General Artist
Yeah... being inspired by artist can cross the stealing bridge quickly, but referencing from nature? Seriously, why people still believe it's wrong to understand what you're drawing and see how it work? :/
NicoUris Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Men I love this "tutorial":)
CheezayBallz Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
It makes me sad that so many people think that using references is cheating. There is no cheating in art (well, except you steal, trace and copy like an idiot lol)
Even the greatest artists use references. You can't draw everything from memory.
I could draw a horse without problems, but it would somehow not look right, so I look at a photo and know how to draw it better.
Using a reference is definitely a great way to understand how things work. 
trisketched Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
amen! It's actually difficult for newer artists to tell the difference between blatant copying and referencing
j-rocky Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
IrkenConfederate Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your wealth of knowledge will not be wasted! Thank you, very much.
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Submitted on
June 8, 2014
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