how do you find a good reference to a pose you have in your imagination?

  • One option is to take your own reference photos! I'm often posing like an idiot in front of my webcam to get something like a hand position or
    an expression looking right. Or if I'm struggling with a tricky pose I'll get someone else to take a photo of me or I get my very patient boyfriend to pose for me.
    Like @Jordi-Ventura said your reference doesn't need to look exactly like what you have in your head it's just a guide. So if the character you're drawing looks nothing like you you can still use a reference picture of yourself or a friend just to get the bare bones of the pose down. Then you can find some more reference if you need it for the details like hair, clothes or proportions. Hope that helps!

  • @arielg You could also just pose yourself and take a picture where ever possible.

  • For the most part drawing a pose from your head is a very high tier skill I think. We are all so familiar with the human form that if it is the slightest bit off it can really stand out. Because of this it is very challenging to draw without reference. For a lot of people I think drawing without reference is a big dream goal but read into the work and processes of great illustrators and you will find that they almost never go without reference. Norman Rockwell was obsessive about his references. His work is so amazing because he always had such good reference!

    So my advice is don’t push yourself to go without reference too much. It can be great practice but can build bad habits if not balanced with using references. I like to start by drawing very roughly without reference and then I will pose myself for reference and see how far off the mark I was. My first reference source is the internet, if it’s a really tricky pose I’ll try to do it myself or ask someone I live with to pose for me. There are also some action figure-like tools for reference that can be really helpful in a pinch.

  • Also, are you sketching as loosely as you can?

    Try really crazy loose quick sketches.

    Are you trying to go too real?

    If so, that can be difficult.
    One technique I like to use(from my own brain) is, go really cartoony, really simple, and look at it from there.
    Pencil on paper is my one and only. I mean, my basics.
    Go back to basics!
    Going back to basics almost never fails.

    The only other thing is, post it here!
    And allow yourself to be critiqued.

    Embrace failure, and go forward, my friend.

  • @jsnzart hehe. if you'd see what i'm trying to do lol. there are like 5 lines in every attempt. i'm trying to do like line of action that depicts the emotion through the pose. its not about loose its that i dont know well enough anatomy and probably perspective to realize how this is turned, and how the weight is balanced etc.
    not trying to do anything beyond that at this stage. also that's the stage i want it to be.
    no use to post it here if its not the pose i want.

    its a kind of familiar pose. i might find it. thanks for the support. i embrace the failure-it is my compass.

  • @Annabishop
    that's the best i think. because i know what i want in my head. I should probably get those timer camera apps.
    but also its kinda clumsy, because i'm not female. but what's important is the pose/gesture. so yeah. it might work! i hope

    did you ever use this method on your works?

  • @arielg I use the timer on my phone's camera app a lot! Nothing fancy.

    Yes, I do this all the time. Even if my final character doesn't end up looking a lot like the reference photo, sometimes the reference is just a good jumping off point. I think it's also a good way to decide on a pose if you're not sure how the character should be positioned. Get into the mindset of the character (e.g. surprised, angry, searching for something, curious etc.) and see it like acting a bit. Yeah it's a bit embarrassing especially if you share a work space, but I just roll with being the weirdo haha.

  • @Neha-Rawat
    thank you, yes, its a good idea

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    @arielg I attended a webinar for my local SCBWI chapter, and an Art Director from Simon and Schuster was the guest presenter. She told us that she used to take pictures of her own facial expressions and poses and send them to the artist in order to capture the exact feeling and essence she wanted from the illustration. And provided visual examples.

    Using reference is a thing. A quite legit thing.

    I've taken to paying for collections of pose reference on ArtStation and various others I've found over time that sell reference packs on Gumroad. Interestingly, there are some useful profiles that focus on pose reference on DeviantArt, but the better ones there often link to their own pay-site collections. Also the rabbit hole that is Pinterest can sometimes proffer interesting resources that lead off-site as well.

    For non-pose reference my standbys are the public domain sites like Pixabay, Pexels and PXHere, but one has to be careful of those--sometimes they're not actually public domain and all kinds of trouble can ensue. They curate similar subject matter in groups and that can sometimes help. I would personally rely upon Google more, but the ability to keep the reference material as reference and not outright copy it is beyond my capacity right now. So using anything on Google scares me, except when I specifically set search parameters for non-copyright results... I'm just not good enough to use reference confidently in the right way yet, so I shy away from the temptation. But that's just me.

    Some other sites that I have found useful in one way or the other: Pose

    These may not help you immediately right now, but perhaps they might be useful in the future.

  • great resources! thank you very much, although i haven't found what i need still in there, i am sure to use this in the future.

  • @arielg best to set up your own poses. Just like this one I did to get the right angle for a Unicorn painting I was doing.
    unicorn ref.jpg

  • I want to order myself a full body mirror for poses. But also cause i look amazing

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Coreyartus That is gold!!

  • @davidhohn Holy crap, that site is amazing! 😱

  • Moderator

    If all else fails look in the mirror... or take a photo of yourself. I’ve had to do this many times and it works. Even if it’s for a person that looks nothing like me in size or shape. You just need a general idea of how the bones bend and you’re good to go. There are a couple of great courses in svs that deal with poses. Highly recommend. 🙂

  • Moderator

    @davidhohn @TessaW That Earthsworld resource actually comes from Brooklyn Walker's Introduction to Gesture Drawing course here on SVSLearn. It's hidden at the very very very bottom of the Additional Resources tab. I agree it's golden. There isn't a single person on there that isn't a walking character!

  • Moderator

    I was conversing with Earthsworld and told him he was gathering a following of art students here. This was his response:

  • One other thing that might be helpful are these types of figures.

    Using a desklamp on a hinge and getting some lighting information when you snap a picture has been pretty useful.

  • I don't think this has been said and I haven't checked out the suggested sites, which may be a better solution, but if you search in Google for Poses, instead of trying to look for a unique pose, you may find what you're looking for. That's helped me in the past. Also, it helps to learn if you find a close pose and modify it a little.

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