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I got a few questions for those who use SAI Paint Tool.


A friend of mine draws a lot and I've heard about this program. Problem is I can't find the original website and I got some other questions.


What is the original website for this? (I've seen two!)

Once you purchase it, does it keep itself up to date without having to be repurchased? (Probably a dumb question, but yeah.)

Also, how much does it cost for this program?

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I wasn't sure where to ask this but are there any more signature contests and if so where and if not can we start them again? 

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I probably won't get an answer since the thread is super inactive but I've hit a total roadblock and have no idea how to word my question for google, this is basically by only option.

how do I draw this from the front.png

lifted from Wyndbain's dragon creator because it was the only similar image I could find (this is a link to their deviantart)

How do I draw a flat, crest-like frill of a similar shape to this from total front view? (There's one facing down on front of the neck on mine to which is a whole other can of worms) I've got no idea how to make this flat structure work from total front view. basically all I have are some dangling/upwards-facing spikes with zero sign of webbing.


Edited by blockEdragon

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   Unfortunately I don't think you could see webbing all, if you're doing a full frontal pose. I don't know of any ways to show the frill - or any other relative flat object - when viewed from its thinnest side like that, since it's basically the equivalent of looking at a piece of paper on its side. Flat things are usually reduced to lines simply showing where they'd be, if those lines could be seen at all. The thicker struts holding the webbing together - or spikes, or fingers, or what have you - are usually all that's seen since their thickness hides the thinner webbing behind it. What I'd do is adjust the pose so the webbing is visible somewhere else on the body; so like for a headshot, I would turn the head so the dragon is looking over its shoulder, which would make parts of the neck frill switch to a 3/4s or side view, which would show the webbing. Otherwise your front shot of the head is just going to show spikes going from front to back, then disappearing. Alternatively, you could have two sets of fins on the head or neck running side-by-side, and angle them so the webbing can be seen just a bit.

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2 hours ago, Lost_Unicorn said:

Is it bad to use references when drawing? Is it not looked down upon?

Absolutely not. References are the best way to actually get better with drawing. Anyone who says otherwise isn't going to get far with their art.


I'll give a little example on why exactly having reference is beneficial to you in form of a story. Lets take a horse as an example, because horses are nice. Also because I have just perfect way to demonstrate this due to going through old stuff, so I have couple horse-like drawings that actually demonstrate this perfectly.

I'll be using the generic "you" during this example.


When you don't use references, you are heavily relying on your imagination on what horse is like. You just draw a horse, probably end up with the generic simple horse with short mane and long bushy tail. Take a moment to draw horse-like critter out of imagination at first. Depending how often you draw horses, it can end up with quite interesting results or being something you feel proud of because you recognize it as horse...


So I'm gonna whip out this bad boy Ponyta as a sample. Totally me being proud back in  2006 because I drew Ponyta, heck yeah! I'm rocking it and I remembered the details!


KUCteA6.jpgSee it totally is Ponyta!


Fast forward couple years, you have better imagination, better understanding of anatomy... maybe draw another horse-critter. Oh, friend has something nice whipped out as a nice character, I'm gonna go and make them happy and draw their character, using just the character as reference to not forget those details. Fanart!

And I'm whipping out this one as another sample. Sure I used basically spliced sprite as a sample... but hey, it's totally okay to use this one image only to make it good enough. 2008 me still has it in imagination department for those missing details.


rtXjVoX.jpg Hey it's still totally accurate to my reference. Heck yeah, happy friend!


We are on fire! I can totally draw horses! Horses are eaaasy!


Then comes the moment when you regret the previous attempts when you relied solely on your imagination.

We have a person asking you to draw a Gypsy Vanner.

...back then admittedly my mind went blank and was "what the heck is Gypsy Vanner?" and had to go to Google, only to realize it is a breed of horse. And this was a dear friend to me, I can't just go and butcher something that majestic! And it's her OC that is complicated.

Only one thing to do.

Time to whip up the references.



And with that... came the biggest amount of progress and amount of anatomical data into my mind, making myself personally facepalm at the old art of horses. Never again something like a horse without multiple references. Or anything for the matter.


With this... it is only going to make you more professional to use references. Never settle with only one reference when it comes to subject. Get loads of them, study them, apply the knowledge you gain from the references. And if anyone ever is going to look down on you about using references, on my behalf you're free to smack them on back of their head mentally and continue improving yourself. That kind of cretins don't deserve your attention at that point.

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Posted (edited)

@Moonlightelf Thank you for the response!

I have drawn this together with my friend, using given reference. We/I have the received the comments that "refs bad" and "you drew it from a ref, so it's easy, anyone could do that". The last one sounds fair to me (also it was sarcastic but not malicious), so I am not sure how to feel about the whole thing.



What is the correct way to use references?

Edited by Lost_Unicorn

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@Lost_Unicorn A great artist named Devin Elle Kurtz just posted about references on Twitter. At first she wrote that she usually answers the question "do you use references" with "always", because the memories in her mind are also references, then she clarified (copying the tweets here):



I ended up deleting the thread about how I "always use reference" because I don't think I expressed myself very well. Ultimately, I just want students to feel empowered to use reference both for active learning & studies, as well as during the drawing/painting process!


I used to feel scared as a teen every time I heard a professional say they hadn't used reference for something. So my approach now, even if I drew something 'from my head', is to lead with "I did use reference, I always do; for this I used my visual memory from past studies!"


I always elaborate whenever I can, and let them know how I went about building that mental library! 9 times out of 10, while I paint I have huge sheets of reference pulled up for every painting I do too! Photos, videos, Google maps screenshots, 3d models, you name it!


Hopefully that's a little more clear, my goal is never to mislead students; the opposite in fact, I just want to express how much I depend on observing reference & the world around me, even in situations where it's not as obvious as doing something like a direct photo study!



Source: https://twitter.com/DevinElleKurtz/status/1394133417176928256



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There's nothing wrong with using references, the best artists ever used references; like Da Vinci did a lot.

Maybe since the drawing is so good they thought it might have been traced; which isn't ok, but it's clear if you look closely there's so much creativity and unique flair to it, and it doesn't even line up with the reference either. 


Sure, drawing from a reference makes it easier, but that's only because the human brain cannot possibly hold the intricate anatomical details of everything in existence within itself. If you like to draw one thing all the time, then it's possible to memorise to a point of not needing a reference... for some poses, for one or two things. Eventually. MAYBE. (So yes your memories are technically a reference, but it's rare and unlikely to have memories clear and accurate enough to substitute a material reference.)


People who don't really understand art or it's creation process tend to gather together to circlejerk about how references are bad, meanwhile never improving their drawings or learning because they refuse to study their subjects. Don't listen to them, your art is great.If you want some critique on improving it we're all happy to help there, but don't worry about the reference thing, reference whatever and as much as you need to.


It's polite to credit references you use heavily though. :) 

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