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Digging for references

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Oct. 2, 2020

For the longest time, I thought that I would be less of an artist for relying on references. This slowed my progress and made creating comics even longer to produce. Eventually, and thankfully, I got over myself and began using references all the time and by jove did that speed things up. I now refer to other works for page layouts, colour palates and poses. So today, I’ll be sharing the top places on the internet that I find references to use.

DeviantArt is an online art community that caters to beginners to pros, from crafters to artists. You can find all manner of resources here as well as post your own artwork. Back in the day, I would read webcomics here as well as drawing/painting tutorials. There is a treasure trove of inspiring resources that get the creative juices overflowing.

The webcomic community on Instagram has been, so far, incredibly supportive. We have met and connected with many artists on various webcomic and art platforms, even some that post their comics directly through Instagram. There is an overabundance of great material from all walks of life. Be careful though, it's an easy rabbit hole to fall down into.

Pinterest Is my go to when I’m trawling for inspiration or a sweet reference. You have the ability to curate your own boards, helping you keep track of all the resources you could ever need for different comics and projects. From DIY, to tutorials,, to sketch sheets and artwork, there is no limit to what you can find on Pinterest. This website/app is, by far, my favorite. If you’re looking for a powerful tool to help speed up your comic work and creativity look no further than this.

What resources do you use to help you make comics? Where do you find your references? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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PaulEberhardt at 8:46AM, Oct. 3, 2020

Working with a mirror for poses, grimaces and gestures is very recommendable, too. In my experience, most onlookers will be very understanding if you explain what you're doing calmly enough.

PaulEberhardt at 8:45AM, Oct. 3, 2020

I've amassed a huge reference dump of pictures over the years, partly from the internet, partly photos I took myself. You can sometimes see me walk around with my camera, shooting ridiculously ordinary things and ignoring the people who shake their heads. I look up lots of things when planning a story, too, and if it's only to double-check. I try not to rely on the internet too much, though, because at least 90% of it has been uploaded by people as clueless as yourself (or more so). Still you've got an unprecedently easy access to all kinds of things right in front of you, and so do your readers. Thus, putting some effort into getting things right is a way of respecting them, and I've never been ashamed of it.

hushicho at 4:33PM, Oct. 2, 2020

It is important to have and use references. With art, we attempt to convey something from our own perspective, and there are elements we need to create whole cloth, from nothing, ourselves. However, there are plenty of elements that should be addressed with shortcuts. They are only slowing us down. References are invaluable for any serious artist. Just a little addition, though: none of these sites is reliable or will be there for you, and none of them is interested in free expression or, really, creativity.

Avart at 7:20AM, Oct. 2, 2020

Google is my first option by default. A good friend once lend me a japanese book with reference poses (in 1995, when internet was only a dream for me) and told me that professional artist uses them all the time. That helped me a lot. Using 3D models is another option too.

bravo1102 at 6:14AM, Oct. 2, 2020

Even a Poindexter know-it-all like me does lots of research. And there are lots of images out there that provide so much detail. Use them.

Ironscarf at 3:38AM, Oct. 2, 2020

I too use Google Images and sometimes other search engines if I can't find what I'm looking for. I also take a lot of reference images myself either of actual objects and settings I need to draw, or for inspiration. If I needed to come up with a futuristic city for example, I'd go out looking for architectural details that caught my eye and then weave those into something new. Streetview can be a lifesaver too.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 3:09AM, Oct. 2, 2020

I just use Google pictures. If I need to draw a van I google "van" and then I just bookmark a picture and have that as a reference to draw from.

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