The Importance of Reference

Last updated on January 7th, 2021 at 11:56 pm

Last Updated: January 7, 2021


Whassap, y’all? I hope the long weekend was productive and that y’all weren’t relaxing too much! It’s just after Labour Day, and we all know what that means – it’s go time! Back to school for some of us, the last cottage weekend for others, but for me, I took the name of the holiday rather literally and busted my ass on trying to get a lot out of the way.

This involved things such as:

  • scanning in a ton of half-completed, likely-never-to-be-finished sketches
  • uploading a number of photos that have just been sitting around doing nothing
  • using FreeMind to develop a mind map of all the random ideas that I often seem to have floating around
  • sketching like a fiend so that I could get rid of a ton of reference material that I seem to carry with me everywhere

And then Damn Terry Dam went and said, “Reference material is always a good thing to carry”.

Okay, yes, I totally agree with this statement, but what I think Terry didn’t realize is who exactly he’s talking to. When it comes to getting a job done, I tend to get a little OCD at times and really go over the top.

A couple of years ago, I’d put the word out to a few communities that I was part of online that I was looking for donations of old magazines so I could slice pages out of them for reference material. This was gonna be on top of the magazines I was already getting rid of for the same reason! I figured I’d just be able to draw things out one page at a time to improve my skill and the range of things I’d know how to draw.

Great plan, but I severely underestimated the response I’d receive from my peers!

A box full of reference material

This is the box that holds all the reference material I gathered from that exercise:

The Big Ol’ Box of Reference Materials

So as you can see, it’s quite a bit. In fact, I had problems even managing to squeeze it all in said box. So I’ve got my work cut out for me as I’ve now gotten to a point where I’m actually attempting to go through the box and USE the reference. My method goes a little bit like this:

  1. Grab handful of sheets from box
  2. Stuff in whatever knapsack I’m carrying with me that day
  3. Pull a sheet out on the subway/at the girlfriend’s/during lunch
  4. Sketch like a madman
  5. Recycle reference page
  6. Return to step 3 until all sheets are gone
  7. Then, return to step 1

Eventually, I will get through this box, and at that point, I’m hoping that my work will be far more awesome. But until then, I’ll follow Damn Terry Dam’s advice.

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By Casey E. Palmer

Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff.

When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him.

Because a boring life’s not a life worth living!

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