Category: Software

Use Reference When You Draw, You Will Improve Faster!

Why use reference when you draw? Lots of reasons! For example:

Reference Will Make Your Drawings More Accurate

Hamburger Cat Reference

“Drawing Hamburger Cat is hard.” – Vince

Even if you have a good understanding of how to draw something, it doesn’t hurt to find a reference.  Sometimes the difference in making something believable in a drawing are the very subtle details that are forgotten without the use of reference.

So if you’re drawing cars, clothes with lots of folds, airplanes, a cityscape, etc. It’s a good idea to grab some references just to give it that extra bit of accuracy.

The More You Use, The Less You Need Later

When you gather reference and draw from it, you become more familiar with whatever you’re drawing. In a way you’re very much building up a catalog in your mind of how things look that you can pull upon later. Eventually when you go to draw things like rooms, you’ll have several different chairs designs already in your head. Different beds, lamps, dressers, the list goes on and on. This also applies for hairstyles, clothes, shoes, you name it.

This of course doesn’t mean you’ll stop using references, but the more of it you use now the less you’ll need later.

Using References Isn’t Cheating

I shouldn’t have to point this out, but I’ve heard a lot of beginning artists say this. “Using reference is cheating.” It’s not. Using reference is like using any other tool to get better results. If someone wanted to build houses they wouldn’t say that using a hammer was cheating! It’s not cheating. 

They have this idea that to be a legitimate artist you have to be able to come up with everything from your mind. Also don’t think that you’re supposed to strictly copy the references either, it’s to help draw something better. For example, for a complicated pose you might need different references for different parts of the pose.

All professional artists use reference.

Start Collecting Reference

A long time ago artists would clip out drawings from magazines, make xeroxes from books, take photographs, etc. and file them away into filing cabinets filled with labeled folders of their references.

Nowadays you have the luxury of just using google and finding tons of reference at a moments notice!

But I would recommend that you do start your own folders of reference to use on your computer.

Whenever you see clothes, or a room, or a hair-do, or anything that you really like. Save that picture into an appropriate reference folder so that you can view it later when you need it.

This can go for any tutorials or such that you find as well!

Software You Can Use

Here are some free programs that you can use to display and arrange references while you work!




All that said, what are some resources that you feel help make you a better artist? Respond in the comments below.

Dead hard drive? How to get back to work FAST!

It was a productive week, things were going smoothly, content was being made. Content was being finalized.

All the cards were falling into place. Excellent.

RIP Hard Drive

At least my ballpoint pen is alive.


And then my hard drive died. 


Thankfully, I didn’t lose EVERYTHING. This isn’t my first time dealing with a hard drive being doomed to eternity in Davy Jone’s locker…

The majority of important things I had enough sense to have back-ups of on Google Drive and Dropbox.

But it certainly put a delay on progress and even more so, I will still have to install a new hard drive and every. Single. Piece. Of. Software.

Sounds HORRIBLE. I know, I know. It is. But there’s a helpful solution that I’ve used in the past and would highly recommend for anyone with a new computer

or in a situation similar to mine.


It’s called Ninite.


The Ninite website allows you to choose the majority of programs that you will need to get back up and running.

You select all the ones that you’ll need that they offer and it installs and updates them all in one go, automatically saying no to things like toolbars and without having to constantly click next. All downloaded as a single exe.


If you aren’t sure which programs you should download I’ll share with you the ones that I get, otherwise feel free to scroll past my recommendations.

Web Browsers
  1. Chrome – This is my browser of choice, it’s the one that I feel works the best. Though each tab and window counts as it’s own process which can slow
    down your computer if you have too many open.
  2. Firefox – I like to have a second browser in case something doesn’t seem to be working in Chrome and I don’t want to have that second option be
    internet explorer.
  1. Skype – This would be my only choice under messaging software provided by Ninite. Most people have it and use it even though it has gotten pretty
    bad over the years. Discord seems to be taking it’s place more and more each day and video chat and screen sharing are upcoming features for Discord.
  1. iTunes –  I get it because I enjoy listening to podcasts. If you would like to listen to podcasts or use it for an ipod or iphone than it’s a must have. Otherwise
    skip it.
  2. VLC Player – Pretty good program for listening to audio and watching video.
  3. Audacity – I use this program fairly often for recording and editing audio. If you do either of those things or plan to. Another must have.
  4. Spotify – I don’t like to listen to Spotify in the browser since the page seems to always crash for me, maybe since I have ad block installed. But for listening
    to music for free, great app.

I get all of them, I figure I’ll need them all eventually anyways. These make it so your computer can run things like Youtube and Netflix properly.

  1. Irfanview – I use this program to be able to view gifs on my computer. Just an alternative to Windows Photo Viewer.
  1.  Foxit Reader – Pretty nice PDF viewer.
  2. SumatraPDF – I use this when PDF’s don’t want to open in Foxit for whatever reason and it can open epub files.
  3. OpenOffice – I don’t really use this anymore. But there was a time, and it can be useful. But nowadays I like to use Google Documents instead.
  1. Essentials – If you own Windows, this is a good program to have.
  2. Avast – Probably the best anti-virus software since it’s free. It can be a bit annoying though, if you talks to much, right click the icon on the tray and set it
    to silent/gaming mode. It does have a firewall built in, so if some software such as a game has trouble running, check Avast.
File Sharing

I don’t use any of these personally, I prefer Tixati since it’s more bare bones. But feel free to get whichever you like most.

  1. Steam – A must have if you play computer games, though they do have other software on there as well.
  1. Classic Start – I still use Windows 7 so I don’t need this, but if you use Windows 8 or higher and hate how it looks, this will change it back to the classic.
  1. 7-Zip – For zipping and zipping all types of files. Best program for this out there that I know of.
Developer Tools

I don’t use any of these as they don’t apply to what I do.

Online Storage
  1. Dropbox – Instead of having to constantly sign in to Dropbox, you can just have it installed. Very convenient.
  2. Google Drive – Same thing as Dropbox, very convenient.

You’ll still have to do some legwork going out and getting other software that you’ll need, but this should take care of the bulk.

What are some other programs that I missed that you would say are must-haves to get your computer ready again so that you can resume work on your projects? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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