Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Tip

References are a key element in getting realistic results whether you are sculpting or painting. You can make the most of your clippings and articles by sorting them in organized binders. The photo above shows my core go-to set of binders that I keep right in the studio, but I have oodles more. The categories shown are a great starting point and you can always add as you see fit! The binders not shown are mostly breed and performance specific.

Some tips for setting up your binders:
  • Get good quality plastic sheets. Poor quality sheets tear easily and ultimately are more costly. The sheets I use now are heavy weight diamond clear produced by Avery and something similar by Xerox.
  • Be liberal with your use of dividers! You can also use templates to set up and print labels. The dividers won't be visible unless you put them in sheet protectors. Cut the sheet protector down the outside edge as far as necessary for the tab. Then tape the edges back up to secure it in place.
  • Set up a structure within each tab that is consistent and easy to follow. I start off each color section with foals, then adults. Within each section, I progress from light to dark and as much as possible put similar shades on each page.
  • Though you could tape pictures to each side of a piece of paper, use two sheets in each divider. It may seem wasteful at first, but you'll see why this is important in next week's installment.

Large pictures, like ones that come from calendars or coffee table books can be kept in binders with a little extra work. (Yes, I cut up many of my books! Nice as the books are, going through a library of unorganized photos became too much of a pain for my purposes.) These photos typically show great details and are often very interesting for a variety of reasons. First, if the photo itself comes out of the book in pieces, tape it up on the back or in places where the tape won't interfere with the horse. Then, cut a slit in the sheet protector just big enough to slip the photo in. Tape the photo down on the inside, and fold so that it fits in the binder. It is best if the slit is to the outside of the page so that the picture can be opened outside of the book, but it is always better to arrange the fold so that it interferes the least. In this case, the page opens to the inside of the binder.

Next week, tips on how to display your references!


Josie said...

Thanks for this tip Mel! I've always kept my reference photos (at least the smaller ones) in a 4x6 index card box, but this method looks much easier to flip through and find what you need. I see an upcoming winter project!

Mel Miller said...

It is definitely a project alright! But well worth it in the end. I'm dreading the gigantic pile of new pics I have to add now. :-o Good luck with yours!