Earl Gibson

Web Developer

Freelance Artist

Tech Enthusiast

Earl Gibson

Web Developer

Freelance Artist

Tech Enthusiast

Blog Post

Where to Get Reference Photos?

December 19, 2022 Design
Where to Get Reference Photos?

Drawing from the imagination is a learned skill that usually takes time to develop. Hence, the reason most new artists end up using reference photos. But where do you get references from? I have seen this question ask a few times, so in this article, I will provide you with a few sources for references.

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Use Your Photos

Photo by Unsplash
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Though it may seem very straightforward, many people overlook the fact that they already have hundreds of drawing references right on their phones. One particular benefit of using your own reference is: you are free to use it and keep all credits to yourself.

This means that you could trace over the image and still claim it to be your 100% original artwork. This topic always leads to heated debates amongst many artists.

Some artist believe that once you use a reference it is not your original artwork, no matter how many alterations you make. On the other hand, others may argue that it is your artwork as long they are major distinctions from the original reference.

No matter which side is right, you can avoid all this by using your own photos. No need to give credit to the original artist, or cite reference photos.

Creative Commons/CC0 Images

Photo by Unsplash

You can find many websites like Unsplash, Flickr, and PixelBay by doing a quick search for Creative Common Images. Try to avoid sites that repost/repin images since there is no way to tell what kind of license was attached to the source.

Most of these sites offer a decent selection of images available for both personal and commercial use. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to read the license agreement and give credit where due. My personal favorite is Unsplash because it’s conveniently integrated with the Affinity Photo app. This makes it very easy for me to incorporate images into my designs.

Books

Photo by Unsplash

Yes, many professional artists publish books specifically for reference drawing. Some of them even offer the same content online. These books contain a wide selection of poses and even instructions on how to draw them. You can browse your local library or support your fellow artist by purchasing one of these books.

Using references is good because they help build muscle memory over time. Nonetheless, they are meant to be a crotch to give you ideas while you are learning or developing your style.

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