Today’s Featured Sketch, Reference Photos, and a Quiz

I mentioned last week that I like looking at old images and sketching them. Here’s an example of that from my Sketchbook Project sketchbook.

Part of what makes using old photos as reference material enjoyable is the fact that old cameras couldn’t pick up detail like the cameras of today do. As a result the images they captured were (depending on the light situation) sometimes very contrasty or flat. That may make for a less than good photo, but on the flip side, it makes for a great photo reference by which to do a sketch from.

Why? Because one of the main challenges for many artists is to look at a subject (whether it be a landscape, a portrait, or a still life) and simplify it down to its bare basics - to really capture the essence of the subject using the minimum amount of detail. This challenge becomes much more daunting when working from photographs because it’s very easy to stare at the subject for long periods and get waaay too far into rendering the details of it. Well, old photos (especially portraits) totally solve that job for the artist automatically!

Now in this sketch, I wanted to get done quick, so I really didn’t do any measuring or fussing over technique. But had I wanted to augment this image in some way or just simply play with pencil strokes, it would’ve been very easy to do because of the way the old camera had already distilled the image to its bare essentials.

If you think you’ve seen this sketch somewhere before you’re right. It was used in the intro of a popular sitcom. My question to you is: What was the name of that show?




  1. 'Cheers', now what do I win:) First round at 'The Saloon!


  2. congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.

    oil Painting