Today, I took photos of a few of my coworkers. I'll use them for revising my sketches of Ron. I'm really uncomfortable with photo shoots. I mean, I enjoyed art directing them when I worked for a children's publisher and Crayola Kid's Magazine, but shooting casual photos for drawing reference is awkward for me, to say the least.
When I received the contract to illustrate The Legend of the Valentine, I'd only lived in Austin a few months. Before moving here, I'd used friends or family as models, sometimes a talent agency. At the time, I didn't know anyone in Austin, and my book advance didn't allow for hiring professional models.
I needed an African American male, about the age of 8, and an elderly grandma-ish type, so I grabbed a handful of my books and went to the library. There, I saw a kid who fit the description of my character, so I asked him if I could speak with his parents.
When he returned with his mom, I showed her my books and told her I was an illustrator. I explained to her that I needed a model for a book I was illustrating, and that I'd like to take pictures of her son to use as reference for my paintings. I offered to pay for his services, in addition to getting him a copy of the book when it published.
She took her son by the hand and walked away, looking at me like I was an ax murderer. All she said to me was, "No." I never did that again.
Now that I've been in Austin awhile, I use friends or coworkers. Still, I'm not a very sociable, talkative person at work. So to suddenly approach a coworker and ask to take their picture, when I normally wouldn't say anything to them, is very uncomfortable. Luckily, they know what I do, and are always more than willing to help.