Shop Talk

Open Discussion: How Much Do You Research Before Making Art?

This week’s open discussion focuses on your own creative process. How much do you research, read, or study before you start making art? Do you look up reference images? Do you research your proportions, lines, or geometric layout? Do you read up on your subject to get a better understanding of what you’re depicting before you begin?

Or alternatively, do you think that going in cold is a better way to go? Do you make artwork entirely based off intuition?

"Pandora's Box" by Lili Batista

I think that it can vastly improve the quality of a finished design or illustration if you research your subject. Taking the time to understand how the components of your work of art fuse together to make a finished product is always a good practice. For example, seeing the way an animal you’re drawing moves in the wild can help you capture its attitude and mannerisms better.

But what do you think?

Let us know in the comments below if you do much research before making new work. Do you print out inspiration images? Do you have anatomical or botanical reference images? What about reading up on techniques and tips before sitting down in your studio?

Please share your experiences with researching and preparing to make work in the comments below.