So, after all that, after all the years of nagging people for good reference pics, did I take my own advice? I started a portrait commission recently. I got the reference photo via email and then printed it out. It was pretty blurry but I thought I could still work from it. Boy was I wrong. I got the basic shapes down (or so I thought) and proceeded to add color. The longer I worked the harder it became. I just couldn't tell what was going on. If you're working on something like a face you'd better have the detail info. Below is the photo I was trying to work with.
Check out this next photo..... what a difference a few more pixels make. Thankfully my client was able to get me a better image. So that's what this little guy's eyes look like! And there are pineapples on his hat- I had no idea what those orange blobs were.
When I went back to work on the portrait I had to re-draw portions of the hat and re-draw all the facial features. It certainly would have saved me time had I waited for a better picture to start with.
This is the portrait in progress. Lots to do yet and I still have a few adjustments to make on the face but it certainly is a lot easier to work with a good photo reference. Lesson learned: take my own damn advice! :)