Drawing from reference is a great way to build your skill as an artist. Hiring a model to draw from isn’t cheap, but the Internet affords the next best thing – tons and tons of great photo reference.
Whether you are interested in gesture drawings (quick pictorial representations) or a pose for careful and methodical study, the list below represents some of the best sites to find poses to draw from. NOTE: Some of these sites are Not Safe for Work, as they feature people sans clothes.
Quick Poses is on the top of my list. You can choose between gesture drawings (timed poses) or random pose studies (not timed). There is a healthy selection of both clothed and nude models to choose from. For timed drawings, you can choose between a range of values, from 30 seconds up to 120 seconds. The site also includes tips to improve your study.
Pixelovely has figure drawing poses, plus animal poses. Within each category are sub-categories. For example, under the animal category, you can choose the species of animal – and whether or not to time the session.
Neofox, on DeviantArt, has a wealth of links to specific sections on his page for life drawing. Practice heads, hands, feet, expressions and poses. He even includes links to tutorials to learn and practice from.
Human Anatomy for the Artist is a subscription site, but the site specializes in royalty free images that are of high quality (4992 x 3360 pixels) and is updated every 2nd day.
FreshDesigner.com features an awesome collection of solid references for both figure and head drawing. What I really like about this site is that the author, Chris Legaspi, explains what makes a figure drawing reference good to study from. For example, you want to avoid references with multiple light sources – or images with flat light (no shadows). Chris also lists several excellent reference pages.
As you can see, there are lots of terrific resources to choose from. Now get drawing!
Update: If you have an iOS or Android device, don’t miss my review of ArtPose and Artpost Female Edition, which lets you control the pose, build, camera and lighting for both male and female models.