My skull study over 4 Sundays at Sadie Valeri Atelier in San Francisco.
Graphite (2H and H) on Strathmore 400 Drawing paper8.5"x6.5"The challenge is working from life and limited value range with graphite. You really have to train your eyes and mind to compress values and represent realism without getting distracted by details. So much more to learn and improve.
While there's nothing wrong to draw from a photo reference. There is nothing like drawing from life. Life drawing require more artistic vision and constant decision making in order to creat an effective representational image, an illusion of a 3D image. People who can copy photos "perfectly" are not necessarily able to create an effective image from life. The reason being a photo reference is a simplified version of what's actually in life. A lot of information has been discarded, and by copying (following) the picture exactly, the artist has given up some of the decisions. Often, what makes an art work great is the artist's unique vision. So if you decide to be great, then you must learn the critical thining skills. When you gather enough knowledge of image making, then you may choose between life models and photo reference, as long as your viewers get the inspiration. This is just my thought after drawing strictly from life in the Atelier. That definitely has helped me understanding my weak points and going beyond the plateau.
BTW, that was a REAL human skull that I drew from!