I have an originality complex.
Commonly I draw without any reference imagery other than what is in my mind. It has it's benefits, and it's limitations. Working from reference is SO important as an artist. Everything I draw is technically pulling from the visual library within, which is just an archive of experiences stored in memory.
I think drawing from the mind is the best way to develop a "personal style" as it is a direct draw from your personal perception. However, using reference images for drawing/painting from life teaches us so many valuable lessons. I am no anti-reference artist or originality elitist by any means. In fact making a habit of drawing directly from reference is one of my current goals as I return to my work and develop a new flow. I simply always encourage artists to focus on generating something original, to leave a legacy all their own.
Here are some of my sketchbook pages from reference.
I have so much artwork including sketches that I love, but don't show very much. In an attempt to keep my website and portfolio tidy, I leave out a lot of work.
I am going to share some of it here so it has a place to be seen. Most of these sketches are actually collected from very beat up sketchbooks, and compiled digitally for composition and cleanliness. Lately drawing has taken a backseat to rebuilding a life and all that that entails, but I am getting back to it slowly but surely.
Remember that even if you only draw one little doodle, play that instrument for ten minutes, write one paragraph, go for a short walk, or whatever you are focused on, a little bit each day builds something great over time. A habit. Building habits that lead you toward your goals is imperative in actually reaching them.
Explore your heart and mind. Not every day has to be a masterpiece. The masterpiece is all of them put together.
P.S. You can also see more archived artwork on my discord channel. Check it out: