"Why should I use References? Can't I just draw from Imagination?"
I hear you asking. I think the real Question is: "Why should I NOT use References?", they are there to help you!
With References you can learn so much, you can learn about Lighting, about Volume and Shapes, how a Human/Animal/Object looks like under certain conditions (like under moonlight for example). There is an endless stream of learning coming from References.
And yes, you can draw from Imagination! That's totally ok, but you'll have a Hard time doing it if you haven't been exposed to enough Reference Material first. It's like saying that you'll draw an Octopus without ever seeing a single Photo of it!
That's not going to go well for sure. (or well, it can and you'll create an amazing Creature that looks nothing like it... maybe I should give that a try)
"Isn't using a Reference Cheating?"
No no no no no. Again, References are there to help you! Learn from them, study them, ABSORB their knowledge and use it on your future Drawings. They will only help you move forward. (just don't copy them outright and "forget" to credit the original creator)
Alright with that out of the way, here are some-
Amazing References and Resources for Figure Drawing
(1) For Human Poses and Animals, check out reference.sketchdaily.net
In this Website you can select so many things, from Gender and Clothing, to Type of Poses and if you want to see NSFW (Not Safe For Work) poses or not.
You can also select how long you want the image to show before it changes to the next one so you can't focus too much on the samll details but rather focus on the General Shape and Line of Action (Yes, this is a good thing! I would advise you to try the 60 seconds option)
(2) Another site that you can use is line-of-action.com
Here you can also select a wide variety of Models and Poses, you can include just Female or Male Models, Nude or "Decent" and how much time you'd like to draw before it moves on to the next Model.
(3) One more option is to look for References in Magazines, Books, Paintings or even Movies that you like and Practice the Poses they are in.
This will help you improve your Drawing skills while doing something that you're already used to check out.
Extra: Finally you can just grab your Sketchbook, go take a Walk to the Park or sit in a Coffee Shop and draw the people around you.
It's a great way to practice your drawing skills and capture the movement of the Human Figure, you will rapidly Improve your Drawings this way, I assure you.
Just a Final Tip:
Do try to spend about 10 to 20 minutes per day on some Gesture Drawing exercises. If you have more time the better but if you can just fit 10 minutes that's good enough! The most important part is to actually do it in a regular routine. Don't give up!
If you'd like to see more Gesture Drawings examples, check out my Post on Sketching the Human Figure!
And if you're looking for more Tips and Tricks on Digital Painting and Sketching, join my Newsletter below.
What Resources do you use? What has worked for you? Leave a comment below!
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