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From Photo to Drawing

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From the author of

From Photo to Drawing

by Janet Ashford, author of The Arts and Crafts Computer

Artists have used photographs as drawing aids ever since photography was invented, although they’re sometimes reluctant to admit it. In fact, the great French painter Ingres (1780-1867) lived just long enough to see the first photographs and commented: “Which of us could achieve this exactitude ... this delicate modeling ... indeed, what a wonderful thing photography is--but one dare not say that aloud.”

When I first began painting, back in the early 1970s, I often used photographs as sources, laboriously transferring their lines and curves to canvas using a grid system. The computer makes it much easier to use photos as a visual reference by making it possible to import a scanned photo into a drawing or painting program and “trace” on top of it. It's also possible to trace by hand over a photo that you’ve printed on paper, as I’ll describe on the following pages.

I advise you to take advantage of this powerful tool. As the cartoonist Robert Crumb said, “You say you can't draw a straight line? Don't let those artists fool you; they all use rulers!”

Capturing a photo image

Beautiful fruit trees in bloom attracted my eye as I walked through the village of Mendocino in April.

I took a close-up shot with my digital camera and decided to use it as photo reference for a greeting card design.

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