Five years ago, I shared my findings on the best online pose sites for figure drawing. Based on my site stats, that post, “The Best Online Pose Sites to Practice Figure Drawing”, remains one of the most popular posts I’ve written. It’s time to revisit that topic, to see what’s changed in the intervening years.
I’ll start off by saying that references are the lifeblood of good artists, whether it’s anatomy or an object (common or obscure). Not sure to draw a 1920’s zoot suit? No problem. There’s an image for that. Dedicated sites to references are usually much more effective than a Google search. In fact, outside of searching for a celebrity image to draw from, I rarely use Google. Many times I’ll use Pinterest, and a few of my picks are directly from highly curated sources on that platform.
As a discerning artist, I prefer quality over quantity.
This time around I’ll not only share my favorite figure drawing reference sites, but I’ll also share resources to find other references, large or small. Some you may already be familiar with, but hopefully there’s a surprise or two in there for you. I’ll emphasize sites that offer free resources first, over sites that hide content behind a paywall. Final note: As these are figure drawing references, more often than not you’ll run into models posing in the nude. If that bothers you, you shouldn’t be an artist.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
Line of Action: This site offers timed and untimed drawing sessions, featuring a choice of clothed or nude models to practice from. Line of Action offers a classroom mode, where the instructor can specify the class length for timed practice. Besides figures, Line of Action also lets users choose from a plethora of animals (birds, dogs, rodents, primates) with the option to include skeletons. There’s even a section for hand and feet studies and facial expressions. This is literally a one-stop shop. The photos are of good quality throughout. Highly recommended.
QuickPoses: Poses (both male and female), faces, hands and feet are also included here. Quickposes also includes landscapes and urban settings. An interesting option Quickposes includes is the ability to view the reference photo upside down. This is extremely helpful to allow the artist to really study the form, rather than rely on memory when drawing a subject. While I like the variety of subject matter, there is a clunky two step process to close out a photo gallery. If you find the site useful, QP has a Patreon page with additional member benefits.
What if action poses are your bag? Check out SenshiShock. There are limited settings on this site, but the poses show a range of action with clothed female models, perfectly suited for comics.
Speaking of action poses, Anatomy360 markets itself as a 3D photographic reference for artists. It’s not free, but there are free samples to look at. Artists can control lighting and rotate a virtual pose in 360 degrees. The models are 3D I can’t say much about it as I haven’t purchased any packs, but I’m very interested in reviewing it. Anatomy360 offers a huge batch of 3D freebie scan dumps, though you will need to furnish your email address to view them.
Human Anatomy for Artist is another site featuring loads of photo references. To access these high resolution royalty free images, you’ll need a subscription. The hobbyist subscription is about $13 a month. Commercial subscriptions run about $37 a month. Individual poses can be purchased as well for a nominal fee. HAfA offers nude poses, detailed bodypart photos, poses in motion as well as poses involving various clothing.
What pose sites do you use and recommend?