Tips for Working from Photos

Unless you are an expert photographer, use photos as reference tools only. Draw from actual objects whenever possible.

Use a viewfinder frame to help you modify the composition of a photo before you begin drawing. You can make a viewfinder frame with heavy paper and two large paper clips.

Free Lesson:


If you want the face in a photo to be at a slightly different angle, you can tilt your photo a little as you tape it to a piece of paper and then add a mat to hide the tilted corners of the photo.

Free Lesson:


Whenever you plan to draw from photographs, take lots of pictures of the potential drawing subjects from several different angles. You need to be familiar with a subject from all sides before you can accurately draw its forms.

About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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