Jun 12 2011

How To Use Stock Photos

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Coats have been kicked out of the BP for being too photo-realistic & relying to heavily on one stock image. Here is how I avoid that problem, but still use stock photos to keep my illustrations in proportion & with the right light conditions.

Usually I use between 3-5 images for stock reference, but for my little gorilla I found two that were just perfect!

I used them as size & light referance, usually I create a really rough line-art that looks something like this:

So that I know roughly where everything is supposed to be, and go from there. Starting at the back and slowly building up the coat.

Frequently I finish an entire coat before adding extras onto it , even if those bits are going to over-lap what I’ve already done (for instance, if I wanted to put a hat on my horse’s head or something). So that later it’s very easy to go back and do minor shifts in the way everything comes together.


Before being able to create an entire coat, you need to understand a lot of drawing basics. You aren’t just trying to replicate a photograph, but create a new scene which should appear better then real life. (Less grass stains, etc. – unless that’s what you’re going for).

So you need to understand how the horse moves, what muscles are where & why, and how their bones are structured or you’re going to end up with a pretty funky looking animal when you miss-draw their cannons or something.


All these stock images are available on Deviant Art, where you’ll find lots of great drawing help.

Good luck!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “How To Use Stock Photos”

  1. Three's Peppyon 08 Sep 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I am an excellent drawer, and I can certainly do a rough sketch like your picture there ^ But how do you actually make it on the computer? :/ I have photoshop, but I dont get it. Can you help? btw your gorilla is so cute! I wanna make a horse like that! haha

  2. BeckyBlu'bryon 15 Dec 2011 at 9:58 pm

    The easiest way to get it onto the computer would be to use a graphics tablet, but it costs quite a lot (well, the high quality ones, anyway).

    It would be best to just scan the line art in (I’d trace it first with a felt-tip pen or marker) and make the white bits transparent and work from there.

  3. Mrs.Tomlinson 111on 15 Jan 2013 at 5:25 am

    I use Photobie, a free photo editing program;)

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