The common view is that drawing from photos is easier than drawing from life. This view is rationalized by the fact that the photo has already reduced the subject to two dimensions. Clearly this is true but, in my opinion, it ignores the flip-side of this, i.e. that a photo takes the life out of the subject that three dimensions provide.
A cardboard cutout of R2-D2 doesn’t provide as much information as a 3D model of R2-D2. This same information is lost in a photo as well, or so I believe. And when I try to draw from photos, my brain seems to think so too, because it literally is less interested in the project than when I draw the same subject from life.
I’ve drawn a lot of statues because we’ve got a gazillion of them in Quebec City and I enjoy doing so. But when I drew a Jacques Cartier statue from a photo, my brain wandered, failed to engage in the process and the results seemed to reflect my lack of interest. I think I’ll stick with life drawing.