Sometimes I think it’s helpful to use several different reference sources for a given figure. For this science fiction cover called Space Jockey (Color and Light, page 163), I wanted to show a space pilot who seemed to come from the “Right Stuff” era of bold space exploration.
Instead of resorting to the camera to take photos of a specific model, I tried to construct the character in my imagination by using a variety of charcoal studies on tone paper. Some are done from my own face in a mirror, lit frontally with a clip-on lamp. I also used a couple of my little plaster head maquettes as models. The one in the lower left is the simplified plane head (Imaginative Realism, page 69, based on George Bridgman’s analysis) with a “mouth barrel.”
In the end I only used photo reference indirectly for some of the costume details, but not for the face and hands. This way of working helps steer me to a more structural understanding, away from a purely photographic look.
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Previous Posts: Character Maquettes,
Tone paper studies, Using (or not using) Photo Reference