Toys As Reference Material

Grandpa’s Tractor (cropped) Acrylic/mixed media

Gathering the right reference material for your artwork can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have easy access to the real thing. There are only so many sources to look to in your search for the right information (Internet, libraries, museums) and sometimes those results are unsatisfactory. I try to look for alternate sources to obtain the pictures that I need for a given project and one of those is using toy versions of the object in question.

 Over the years I have purchased and photographed a number of scale model ships and cars (you have to assemble them first) as well as replica toys as small as Matchbox cars.

For the above project, I found a set of three John Deere tractors to use. I picked the one that I liked the best and then set it up at the angle and lighting condition I wanted for my painting. I always draw out my idea sketches first so the photography goes smoothly and fits into my design.

Using a macro setting, I zoomed in as closely as I could and took the photos I needed. I then made final drawings and painted from my “toy reference”. I could never have accurately imagined the angle of the overturned tractor without using this process.


See full post here: LIFE NEEDS ART2011-03-25.