Everyone keeps asking me how I do my faces. I've always had a love for doing faces, but had never been able to get it right... the eyes would be crooked, the nose would look broken, the mouth was too big, too small, etc.
I finally decided to try doing faces that weren't necessarily realistic. That way, I could do them the way my hands wanted to.... and they didn't have to be perfect! That's the great thing about art, once you understand it! It's NOT PERFECT. It's NEVER going to be perfect. So what we need to learn, is to accept what we can do and learn to work on what we feel is lacking.
Looking for some way to create my own style, I wanted to see how others did their work. I looked around Pintrest and one artist's work that I kept being drawn to was Jane Davenport's. Her ladies are ethereal and soft and yet sultry at the same time. So, I bought her book.
I practiced and practiced. And practiced. I did measurements as she suggested until I was able to draw my faces to look somewhat like hers. And I kept at it. Every. Single. Day.
What happens when you keep working on something? Your hand and eye start to work together. You begin to see the differences over time. You start making changes where YOU feel they need to be made and over time, those faces no longer look like anyone else's.... they become yours.
I definitely recommend Jane's book. I definitely recommend practicing, every single day. It doesn't even have to be on faces, it can be just scribbling as you listen or wait. Every time you pick up your pen or pencil and draw or squiggle, you're building muscle memory in your hand. Your coordination gets better. It becomes YOUR art.
That is what it all comes down to. You can use references to learn. You can copy someones work for your own learning.... and keep copying what you love. This is something I saw the other day and can't remember who said it, but he said something along the lines of 'Copy what you love... copy, copy, copy until you find yourself in your art'. This doesn't mean that you copy until you can replicate someone else's work and start taking credit for it... it means to develop the skills and your own techniques to make your own art. THIS is what makes you an artist.