Friday, January 4, 2008

Fairburn Sketches

The Fairburn System of Visual Reference is an impressive collection of photo reference. The nine books in the system are divided in three set, Children, Faces and Heads and Figures and Hands. Each book has thousands of images of people (activites) photographed at several angles.

I was surprised to see recently that these books are still being sold (Figures and Hands is out of print). More surprised to see them sell for $200 a set!

I bought my complete set many years ago. I've had mixed feelings about the investment over the years. The books were published in the 70s and the "models" look like rejects from Welcome Back Kotter. Bell bottoms and leisure suits can ruin a reference photo.

This collection of sketches is drawn from the Fairburn System. The books aren't perfect, but 25 years later, it's still the best thing out there.

8 comments:

JOHN B. WATSON said...

Glad you posted those. It's not often that we get to see your rough sketches. Most of your sketches look like finished illustrations! I hear ya about the Fairburn books. I wish I had invested in them when they were all still available. Maybe I'll buy the 2 sets that still are this year. Your sketches are competent studies of those reference photos. It would be REALLY cool to take the same head studies and do more catoony versions of them. Think about it. I did sketch last night (nothing post-worthy.) I'll sketch something else tonight before I go to bed.

Mrs. Chili said...

I've got some cute kids I could send you photos of to use as references....

Kizz said...

I'm surprised that someone hasn't tried to replicate the books online (with more recent photos). It'd be one heck of a project but clearly very useful.

JOHN B. WATSON said...

Did you finish the 3 illustrations of the girl in the winter clothes? They are very appealing. It would be great to see the final versions of them--soon!

Anonymous said...

these different facial expressions are excellent and show a lot about the character illustrated. i think that you are an amazing and very talented artist. keep up the great work!!

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