When I create new illustrations and patterns, sometimes I need a reference image to draw from.
Drawing from memory is not easy. Although it can create compelling images (because they are so far from what the accurate visual is, haha), it's good to have a visual to refer back to and get details from.
This doesn't always mean drawing precisely what you see; most of the time, it's just picking details and getting a rounded idea.
Of course, if you are looking for photos, there is non better than your photography; the best part is because you are drawing from the photographs, they don't have to be of excellent quality, photos taken on your 6-year-old iPhone are fine. Or you could ask family and friends; my partner's mother sends me lots of beautiful flora and fauna to work from, which is really helpful.
If I don't have the right photograph myself, I have a few places I like to go for reference photos. My first stop is Unsplash; there are other websites like this where you can download and use photography for free. Please note: You can not use the images as they are and sell them on the work, but you can draw from them and even use collaging parts.
Now you are probably thinking, what about Pinterest!
Pinterest is incredible, but not for drawing references. Instead, Pinterest is a site I use for my mood boards or a place I go to find new artists to drool over.
You can not use these images on your blog posts, as headers in your graphic designs, or even draw from them without finding the original owner and asking permission/ crediting them!
You need the authorisation from the original artist/creative to draw from their work. It's the same for words; you can't take lyrics from well-known songs or quotes without permission.
There are rules and guides when it's ok and when it is definitely not, so if you're not sure, you can go to ACID to read up on the topic.
There is a fine (but very real) line between being inspired by other peoples art and copying or using it to boost your work. Sometimes it's entirely unknown and sometimes ignored, but it is a big issue either way.
If you are a customer and are unsure about this matter, ask the artist to be educated on the subject before you buy.
As well as Pinterest, Behance is a great place to find new artists and be inspired, so be sure to check out the incredible work there too.
Another tool I use is POSE; as you can probably tell from the app's name, this helps me draw figures and work out poses.
However, I don't draw full figures often; it's a great tool.
You are looking for colours; Coloro is an excellent website; there are options to "Nearest Neighbor" of colours and create and download colour palettes; the downside is I can get lost just playing with colours for hours on end.
Finally, when I showcase my work, staging real mock-up scenarios to photograph is the best option. Still, if you are looking for a digital mock-up to feel how your designs look like IRL, I go to the creative market to find unique templates.
I sometimes create them in photoshop myself, but purchasing a bundle from the creative market saves me time and hassle.
I'm sure I have more resources I can share, so I will do another blog soon.
Before I go, I want to stress to creatives to check where you are sourcing your references from and if you are purchasing templates or clip art, make sure you have the correct licences.
This is a growing issue, so also ask the artist/creative where they got the artwork from and to see licenses if they didn't create it themselves.
I am always open to share the background of my work, I don't always create mood boards or have reference photos, but I will have found my colour palette from somewhere or have an artist who inspires my drawing.
Don't buy prints, cards, logos or graphics without checking this first. You don't want to be accidentally stealing someone else's work.