Now I've gone and ruined my accordion sketchbook, trying to draw the dog and cat in one of their covoluted sleeping poses - from a photo up on the computer screen, as they always move the minute I start trying to draw them. I got both of these attempts completely wrong.
This was slightly more accurate, though the dog is too small, and his face a bit weird - I painted the big shapes first, then added the lines with my bamboo pen, (which isn't drawing as well as I'd hoped - I have little control over whether lines are thick or thin, or come out at all) and the values are all very bland - the dog and cushion they sleep on are rather similiar in tone, but Kenzo the cat could go much darker.
It's interesting to see today's Making a Mark post about mechanical and optical aids... I find myself feeling irritated and tense when sketching from photos, though they are definitely a useful tool when trying to remember features of a landscape, for instance - as long as I don't follow them too slavishly.
This sketch of Gucci (excuse the undignified pose!) that I did quickly after messing up the Fabriano was much more enjoyable, and I think is a lot more expressive in line and character. So - conclusion, I think drawing from life is my thing. I'll be happy to leave the photo-realism to others - for now, anyway. (I tend to make sweeping statements one week and back-peddle on them the next)