Every artist, that loves to draw or paint sooner or later needs maybe some reference photos, and a lot of those artists make one major mistake. They go to Google they type for example “Rose” and Bamm, Roses are blooming on Google.
Of course, they pick one or more from the big Google garden and they believe they didn’t do anything wrong.
After they create a replica of that image with painting or drawing they claim ownership over that artwork, and you got an email. Copyright problem.
Photographers of those images mostly set some kind of license terms, and probably that Rose from the garden has a license term. If a photographer sets that this is not a creative commons license in which you are allowed to use for your work, then you are in trouble.
So I advise you to check before you do any kind of download from Google or other search engines because you probably will break a law.
But I will not write about licenses and which kind exists, if you wish to know more about each license you can go to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/?lang=en and learn everything about each one and you will get all information from first hand.
But I will tell you about what I will write, I will write about sources of images and where you can find free reference images for download, and use them without a fear that you will you’ll get a lawsuit. This is a list of websites that I find surfing around the art community and sometimes I have just stumbled on them by accident.
What is a art reference photo?
A art reference photo is like a map to show you where you are going. A art reference photo is any photo that provides an idea of the feeling or color schemes that will be used for an art project. For instance, a landscape can be a source of reference photos for a particular look.
It is a good idea to have a reference because it can help the artist make sure that what they are drawing, sculpting, or painting looks like the object they are trying to replicate.
Artists mostly search for wildlife reference websites, landscape reference websites, and the most popular pose reference websites. I have covered most of them in this list, but I have plan to expand this list even more. Stay tuned!
Free Art Reference Photo Websites
For the budding artist, the internet is full of resources to help you hone your craft. The most important part about being an artist is to keep practicing. There are plenty of free sites that can aid with this! Here are some of my favorite free reference websites for artists:
Website URL: https://pmp-art.com/
PaintMyPhoto is a great art reference website for artists that find themselves in need of reference photos. The website contains an extensive library of pictures taken by artists, which can be downloaded for free.
These resources are easily filtered by search by categories such as people, animals.
With PaintMyPhoto, an artist never has to spend hours looking through new websites to find the perfect reference photo again!
The strength of PaintMyPhoto is in users, which share their photos for free.
This is great because the site is not only useful for people that need reference photos, but also for people that want to share their photos for free. The website is always growing, new photos are being added every day.
PaintMyPhoto is created for artists by artists, and that’s why it’s a free website.
The database of reference photos has more than 170 000 photos, but not all of them are usable. Some photos are of bad quality because PaintMyPhoto doesn’t check the quality of uploaded reference photos.
But among 170k photos, there are many free gems you can use for your art projects.
Website URL: https://www.wetcanvas.com
WetCanvas.com is an online community for artists of all skill levels to share knowledge and get feedback on their work. It offers a forum where artists can post critiques, galleries, blogs, and other art-related services such as commissioning or hosting artwork.
WetCanvas.com is one of the best art communities on the internet because it offers a plethora of features for its members and has a friendly and active community made up of talented and like-minded people.
Since the early days of the internet, WetCanvas has been a place where artists of all levels can share their visual art with other artists for critique.
One of the best features of the site is its vast library of over 35,000 reference photos available to members of the public for download. The images are tagged by topic, making it easy for artists to find what they need.
Website URL: characterdesigns.com
Character Designs is a website that offers nude drawing references for artists, free photo sets, and useful resources. They also provide non nudes models, and all images are high quality.
They are divided into the many different and creative categories: Non-nudes and costumes, nudes, people and events, drawing-painting references, etc. The best thing about this pose reference website that is totally free! I highly recommend this artist gem!
Website URL: posemaniacs.com
Posemaniacs is a art reference website for all your poses, with an accent on anatomy for the female and male body. There are 70 different poses available to view, with the option of rotating them 360 degrees in order to construct a more complete picture.
The pictures are high resolution 3d models, with high details of every muscle that human body has. Images are royalty-free.
Origin of this awesome website for anatomy study is from Japan, and it is popular among artist since 2006
Premium Art Reference Websites
Website URL: Wildreferencephotos.com
Wildlife Reference Photos is a website with professional photos that offer a subscription of five photos for 10$. The site has a variety of wildlife pictures from all around the world, including mammals and birds.
Subscribers will receive high-quality images that they can use as a reference for their work. Wildlife Reference Photos is an easy and inexpensive way to find the perfect photo to meet your needs.
The huge database of 65000+ reference photos on wildlifereferencephotos.com is a great resource for anyone who needs to use an image but doesn’t have the right to do so.
Photos are sorted by category to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
All photos are high-quality professional level, with this site you get only the best reference photos for art.
Website URL: Human Anatomy for Artist
If you are an artist and need human photo references for your artworks, The-Human-Anatomy-for-Artist.com is one of the most popular online sources.
You can find more than 242,000 hi-res photos of various poses.
The website has become popular among artists because it provides them with high-resolution images of humans in various poses.
The site has a huge database of human anatomy pictures and interactive 3D models, as well as an abundance of articles and blog posts about how to use these resources to create more accurate illustrations.
They have advanced filtering for your reference photos, so you can get precise results.
They offer three premium packages to choose from, depending on your needs.
Website URL: female-anatomy-for-artist.com
The Female Anatomy for Artists was created to help instructors and artists draw, paint, sculpt and design artwork of the female form. The website features 3D models of the female body that can be manipulated to create a limitless amount of poses and views.
Many artists find that their work with this website has improved their craft and has opened up new avenues for creativity.
Female Anatomy for Artists is a website that offers an inexpensive way to help artists learn what female anatomy looks like by using images of nude female models.
The interface of the website is easy to navigate with a great filtering system for searching specific body poses, body types, body parts, emotions, etc.
Website URL: Line-of-Action.com
Line-of-Action.com is a great source for practicing figure drawing as it has a variety of poses to choose from. When practicing figure drawing, it is important to understand that the poses serve as a means to create a sense of action and movement in the body.
The pose chosen contributes to the rendering of weight and force, which will be evident by the shapes and forms created by each pose.
The site is best suited for people who are practicing figure drawing and includes instructions on how to draw each pose with links to more information about anatomy, human proportions, and gesture. Be aware, site use female and male models.
But there are also other categories of reference photos for artists.
Available categories are: Figure Drawing, Animal Drawing, Hands and Feet Drawing, Faces and Expression Drawing, Scenes and Environment drawing.
Website URL: justsketch.me
Justsketch is a website that offer app with 3D renders of full-body poses, which are available in reference for artists and educators alike.
The poses come with an adjustable lightning setting and can be rotated to view from different angles, which makes it easier for artist to study the poses and get an idea of how the pose looks from every angle.
Justsketch has a variety poses: sitting, standing, squatting, etc.
App is available as desktop app and mobile app.
The app itself is great for practicing figure drawing, but quality of models are not the best.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use royalty-free images in my art?
Yes, you can indeed use them in your art! They are an excellent resource to use when you are looking for inspiration or, even if you already have created a painting or drawing and you want to add models to the scene.
Which images are copyright-free?
Copyright-free images are ones that you can use, copy, edit, and share because there are no copyright restrictions in place to prevent you from doing so. Copyright is a legal right that an author or artist has to make sure people don’t steal their work. Copyrighted images often have a “copyright” or “©” symbol attached to them to show
that they are not free for public use.
What images can I use for commercial use?
Commercial use is a term that generally refers to any type of use that generates income or profit. More specifically, the term commercial use refers to the use of ideas, images, and other content in ways such as advertising and marketing for profit.
Generally speaking, there are certain types of photos that can be used for commercial purposes with few restrictions. One example is stock photography. Stock photography is a broad category of images composed of both amateur and professional photographs.
Does altering an image avoid copyright?
The short answer to this question is “no.” Altering an image does not avoid copyright. Copyright law grants the photographer or artist the right to exclude others from copying or using their work for a specific period of time.
This means that altering an image does not eliminate the original creator’s rights, but it usually makes the original creator’s work unusable. This is because alterations typically cover up any identifying marks on the photo that might lead back to the original source.
How can I use a photo legally?
In order for a photo to be used legally, one of the following must be true:
-The person who took the photo owns the copyright to it and is therefore able to give permission.
A photographer can use an image of you which they have taken without your permission because they own the copyright.
-The person who took the photo gave their consent for it to be used. The person in question might not always give permission so it would be wise to ask first.
How do artists avoid copyright?
Is tracing art bad?
Tracing is when you put a piece of paper over an original picture and then draw. Tracing is not bad, but it’s not the same as original art because the person who created the original picture didn’t draw it.
What is a reference photo?
A reference phots is like a map to show you where you are going. A reference photo is any photo that provides an idea of the feeling or color schemes that will be used for a project. For instance, a landscape can be a source of reference photos for a particular look.
Is reference drawing cheating?
An artist will often use a reference drawing in order to make their work seem more authentic. A reference drawing is not cheating, it is simply a means to help the artist create something which looks realistic.
For example, if an artist wanted to paint a realistic looking bird, they might look at pictures of birds and then draw the bird in pencil before painting in color. Using reference drawings can be helpful when painting portraits too.
Can you use someone else’s art as a reference?
One can use another’s artwork as a reference if they have given permission for the work to be used. One could also use a photograph of the painting, but it would be best to find an image with no copyright restrictions so that one does not violate any copyright laws. It is important that the artist is credited in all cases of using copyrighted work as a reference.
How do you reference a picture for drawing?
When referencing a picture for drawing, you should give credit to its artist, provide an accurate description of the work, and state the date it was created.
How do I find good art references?
To find good art references, you should look at what other artists have done. You might look at the colors that they use, the things that they draw, and the way that they draw things to see if you can borrow their style. Another place to look is books about drawing and painting.
Is it OK to draw from photos?
Do you know how to draw a tree with a pencil? Well, drawing from a photo is just like that. It’s when someone draws something from a photo they took or saw in a magazine rather than from their imagination.
Can I use copyrighted images in art?
The use of copyrighted images in art is a tricky and complicated topic. Copyrighted images are protected by law, meaning that artists cannot profit off of someone else’s work without permission. This can include using images in paintings, drawings, or any type of art.
How artists can use photos for inspiration without violating copyright?
Artists who use photographs as inspiration for their own work could be violating copyright laws if they use the photo without permission or credit. It’s important to remember to give credit and/or acknowledge the photographer, and make sure that you are not infringing on any copyrights.
Do professional illustrators use references?
A professional illustrator will usually use references to assure authenticity in their illustrations. Many times, these reference materials may be photos, paintings, architectural drawings, or other sketches from the period being illustrated.
Can I draw a picture of a celebrity and sell it?
Copyright laws protect visual artworks. If you draw a picture of a celebrity, you are infringing on their copyright regardless of whether or not they are in it. You would be violating the law regardless of what you intend to do with it. Furthermore, even if the person is in the artwork for “aesthetic” purposes only, they still own the copyrights to their likeness and could sue you for damages.
Can you use stock photos for art reference?
Stock images, or stock photos, are a type of commercial photography that is created and distributed by many different businesses. So long as the photo isn’t altered, it can be used for inspiration in art such as photography and painting.
Most often, these photos are royalty-free images created by professional photographers to be used for advertising and other commercial purposes.
Is it illegal to use reference photos?
The use of reference photos is governed by federal law, which prohibits the copying of another person’s work without their permission. Copyright law protects such work and requires that it be appropriately credited to the original author.
How do reference an image from a website?
To reference an image from a website, you would include the url in parentheses after the title of the image. You can also include the word “figure” or “fig.” before the url if it is an illustration, diagram, chart, graph, map, or something else that cannot be read online. For example: (The figure shows broken earthworms. https://www.google.com/search