That's a very good question What you DON'T want to do is copy what you see. Instead, you want to think about the forms, observe how they fit together, the design, the flow, the rhythm, the texture. Avoid adding too much details on one area. It's very easy to get lost into rendering an area of details, because we already have the reference in front of us. Many amateur artists do this, draw one eye, render it in full, then go on to the next one. That's because they have the reference and they already know what the final study will look like and where the other eye will go. But you should really thing about what would you do if you wouldn't have the reference. Start by sketching out big shapes, observe, analyze. Identify each shape, then separate light from shadow. Only then you can start rendering. Hope this helps
Thank You. It does. I love drawing but I have never been able to be trained. I see a lot of "studies" but I never knew what that meant. I'm guessing you can help yourself understand a subject by finding a bunch of reference and re-creating it using the process that you'd use if you were drawing from imagination. Is that a correct definition of a study?
Technically, yes, it is correct, because in order to draw from imagination you need to understand what you're doing (of course, you need some knowledge too). That's the point of a study. Understand what it is that you're drawing and store enough information that you can use when drawing from imagination.
A good way to check that is to redraw the study from imagination right after you've done it with reference. Or, what I often do, decide what I want to study, for example, I want to learn how to draw a tree, so I draw 3 different trees from reference trying to understand how each tree works. Then, I leave the references aside and draw my own tree from imagination to see what I've learned. Repeat the process a few times and you'll see a lot of improvement.