High-quality photo resources are one of the most important things after tools. In this article, you will find some of the best websites and software with pose references for drawing!
As a beginner, you probably looked at least once at your favorite artist’s illustration or comic book and wondered how he managed to develop such skills at drawing poses. Well, it’s not just their imagination, almost all professional artists use references. So, if someone tells you that using photos as a resource is cheating – don’t listen to him.
Unfortunately, as an Artist looking for resources on the internet, you have to watch out not to infringe any copyright.
In the United States, copyright law states that:
To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a new work or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself. (Source)
The great thing is that there are many awesome sites that support Artists, and create many resources for their use.
List of the best sites and software with pose references for artists:
One of my most favorite sites and my main source for poses. This awesome website uses 3D models of human figures with different genres – man, woman, and a child.
You can rotate the model in 360° on their vertical axis to find the perfect point of view of the pose for your illustration. There are about 1171 poses stacked in categories that represent action, such as “walking”, “dancing”, “floating”, or “holding arms”. If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a “freak” model – a “body-builder’s” model with oversized muscles. It’s a great reference for comic artists.
This site is also a great anatomy source because the model’s texture shows their muscles, which makes the models even easier to copy.
To view models, you need to install Flash Player. (they managed to overcome this issue)
There’s also an iPhone app called Random Pose which provides hundreds of different figures for the tech-savvy artist on the run! Unfortunately, you can’t rotate them 360 degrees but you can zoom the image.
Posespace provides high–quality photos of nude models. Most of the poses are photographed in-the-round so you can create 3D art or choose the angle that you like best for your 2D art.
The photos may be used as a reference for creating traditional art designed for commercial use. A drawing, painting, or sculpture is permissible under these guidelines, whereas a work which uses the actual photos—such as a collage—would be prohibited. However, if you plan as part of a product, class teaching art technique, or other offerings, you can contact them directly and provide as much detail about your project as you can. They license photos on a case-by-case basis.
On this site you have you purchase a pose to have access to its high-quality version and be able to rotate it in 360 degrees. However, When you Create a Login, you’ll have access to the Pose Library with 2 free full-size sample poses.
SenshiStock changed its name to AdorkaStock in 2021
Sarah is a Deviantart.com user since 2007. She publishes photos of herself and her friends in various poses and clothes. During those 10 years she gathered about 2,500 photos on her Deviantart gallery profile.
If you want to use her resources, keep in mind to read the terms:
- You can distribute my photos provided you provide the source and link to your DeviantART account. Any picture found without the given source will be understood as breaking this rule. THIS IS ALSO FOR SITES SUCH AS PHOTOBUCKET. If you place these pictures somewhere, the source must be given. Do not link directly to images on DA servers because this is inconsistent with the site’s terms and conditions.
- At photomanipulations you MUST specify the source of my photos. Printouts and use of photos outside of the website are allowed. The link to this account is the right way to enter the source. In case of problems, please read this FAQ page. Beyond the website, just writing “SenshiStock” is not enough, there must be a working link to this account.
- With the poses modeled on my photos, the source is welcome but not obligatory. Just remember that the FAQ on the DA suggests giving links to the images used to avoid any “confusion and misunderstandings”. The link to this account is the right way to enter the source if you would like to join. In case of problems, please read this FAQ page. Please, send me a link to your work, because I would like to see it and join the collection.
You can support AdorkaStock on Patreon and get access to even more high-quality materials. Choosing to support AdorkaStock through Patreon is a way of saying thanks for all these great resources: patreon.com/adorkastock
In Mjranum-stock’s gallery you can find about 2731 photo references.
He uses in his photography various models, professionally prepared clothes and artifacts, such as knives, swords, and guns. Occasionally you can find in his gallery environment photography and landscapes. There’s much nudity in his photography, so you have to confirm your age on the deviantart.com to view most of them.
Marcus Ranum provides high-quality images and allows the deviantart.com members to use his photos in their artwork and prints – as long as there will be provided proper credits to his website. However, as he stated in his rules If you use his stock as a reference for a hand gesture or a fabric-fold or something like that, you do not need to credit him. Use your own judgment as to how important my stock’s contribution was to your work.”
You can read all terms of using Marcus’s photos here: link
When I was looking through Faestock’s gallery, what has drawn my attention were her stock photos of a model in water, or with a mirror. That are photos I haven’t seen in previous galleries (or I somehow missed them).
She also publishes photos of face close-up, which are a great reference for drawing emotions. Another worth mentioning thing is that she publishes many beautiful photos with various dresses, which are really helpful if you are looking for something that will help you in drawing textiles and other materials. You can also find in her gallery amazing photos of landscapes and environment.
You may use my Faestock’s stock photography as a reference for your digital and traditional artworks. Conditions apply for commercial use. You can read her all terms here: link
LaLunatique joined the Deviantart.com in 2007. Her gallery provides more than a hundred stock photos.
She publishes photos mostly of herself. Unfortunately, she stopped to create new stock photos, but the old ones are available and can be still used as a reference for your drawings.
Software – for poses
DAZ Studio is a free professional and multifunctional software for creating and modeling 3D objects. Users can not only model objects in 3D, but also create advanced animations and digital illustrations. Using the DAZ Studio program, we can create any elements in three dimensions, avatars for computer games and other graphic objects. In addition, the software is ideal for creating illustrations for books, comics or graphic novels.
I this software you can pick your own model, and set up your pose – just like posing a doll. You can also adjust the model’s figure – make it more skinny or muscled.
Here’s an example of some works I created with help of Daz3d. On the left is a raw model from Daz3d, and on the right my artwork:
Anatomy for artists (Sarah Simblet)
This amazing book contains over 250 specially made photographs and 100 drawings depicting the human structure.
It’s an extraordinary textbook of anatomy that facilitates and supports learning the drawing of the human body. Practical tips allow you to protect yourself from the most common mistakes, and excellent illustrations – use the knowledge of physique while creating your artwork.
It analyzes ten works by world-famous artists revealing complex anatomy problems.
The book is excellent for students and art school students.
For more books on human anatomy please visit this article: List of Human Anatomy Books for Artists
Author: I will try to add more websites and software which are really great as a pose reference in the future. Please let me know if you know any useful resources in the comment, so I could check it and add to my list 🙂