Character Picture References for Artists
my new favorite outfit!
I LOVE IT!!!
That is such a cute outfit!!!
And equally as cool.
@Violet_Applehelp1 Can you post screenshots of the left and right sides of your Seraphim Suit? It might help artists to better draw the suit with those angles.
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Essential Tips for Drawing Drapery and Folds
Folds depend on the form they fall on. They are not universal. There are many different types and factors that influence them.
There is no single rule on how to draw folds—The best way to understand drapery is to do as many studies of folds as you can. The more realistic you want to draw and paint folds, the more references you will need. Understanding some common principles will make it possible to draw them convincingly in a more stylized way.
I’ve collected some pointers and commonalities here that I’ve come across so far.
It is very important to consider the materials that you draw when dealing with folds. They all have their very own characteristics that help to decide where to put the appropriate folds. Their texture dictates how diffused the shadows are.
Thicker material has wider folds that are usually less visible.
Hard materials are usually pulled more at the bending area or at the seams.
Soft and thin material produces the most folds, especially around the bending areas.
The amount of folds also depends on how heavy the fabric is and what kind of material it is made of. When drawing fabric it is a good idea to consider how thick/thin, hard/soft, heavy/light and smooth/textured the material is first.
Heavy fabric causes folds of a different volume and different width. It is also more idle and shows fewer folds even when moving.
All clothes have their own arrangement of parts, which heavily influences the formation of folds.
It’s good to familiarise yourself with common placements of seams. You don’t need to draw them all, but it is better to have a good fundamental knowledge of the construction.
Folds tend to pull at prominent seams, especially on clothes like suits where the transition between seams is quite noticeable at the shoulder.
Sweaters usually have their arm seams much lower and the folds don’t pull at them as much.
Clothes with a wide cut show different folds than clothes with a narrow cut. A tight cut follows the form of the body and wraps around it. Wide clothes show a lot of droopy folds that go from the pulling point towards the ground.
Clothes are often designed with folds or lack thereof in mind.
Fitted material is designed to look elegant with as few folds as possible. When clothes are too tight or too loose there are more folds that give a less elegant appearance of the clothing, especially when looking at the silhouette.
Worn-out fabric tends to crease more than new or well-maintained fabrics.
Note: When drawing clothes and folds, it can help to consider what material fits the character’s personality first.
Folds can be heavily affected by wind or water.
Wet cloth acts differently from dry cloth. It tends to stick more to the form underneath. The water makes the light material a lot heavier, so it does not move as easily anymore. Thin fabric becomes see-through.
When the body is resting the fabric is usually dragged down by gravity. More prominent droopy folds appear the wider and lighter the fabric is.
When bent the fabric is pressed together and creates hollow shapes that vary in size.
There are more bumps with more narrow material. Wide material tends to squish together with fewer folds.
The material adapts to the forms’ movement. Folds usually follow the twist. It can be very helpful to emphasize the movements.
Note that the lighter and thinner material in the example above shows fewer folds since the arm is still mostly resting.
The arms heavily dictate the pulling areas where folds emerge.
Opening a jacket absorbs some of the pulling when the arms are raised.
The fabric of the pants is supported at the waistline.
Pants start wider and narrow down to the knees because they adjust to the bone structure of the legs.
With narrow pants, creases are usually visible at the knees.
When drawing bumps in the fabric it’s good to show their origin and volume. It does make a visual difference when you can imagine the folds in a 3-dimensional space.
From the back, you can see folds forming under the butt region that go up to the hip.
The folds at the knees are also visibly pulled by the hips from the back view.
In general, when the body is just standing and resting, there are less dynamic folds.
When a leg is lifted, the knee becomes the strongest pulling point.
Be careful of the forms that the pant legs create when the leg moves.
Shadows and Highlights
Depending on the thickness of the material the shadows around the folds appear slightly different.
When shading folds, it’s good to use a combination of soft and hard edges.
When painting pay attention to how smooth and soft the material is. The smoother it is, the more it reflects light and has a brighter highlight. Rougher and more textured materials diffuse light.
The darkest area is usually where forms are pressed together and an occlusion shadow appears. This also applies to very deep creases where light does not reach.
Here are some quick tips that I noticed while shading materials.
The shading, like the width of the folds, varies between soft edges or highlights depending on the material, so it’s good to familiarise yourself with as many materials as possible to build up a rich visual library.
Lindsey Outfit Reference 1
Regular: Lindsey's primary outfit, her custom made wetsuit. She wears this more than any other outfit.
Alternate: I'm still unsure about this one. I bought this from and made one change to the outfit. The shoes and gloves on the other hand, were not included with the outfit. I may make this her Sonic Boom outfit, despite not being to fond of the series. If I do, can anyone please direct me to where I can find some sports tape? LOL.
Gymnast Leotard: One of Lindsey's hobbies is gymnastics. As such, it only make since that she has a nice outfit to perform in.
Not sure what the next set will have, but I'll probably have it on my mind for the time being.
Lindsey the Monkey owned by
Alternate outfit originally designed by and bought from
2550x3300px 483.62 KB
© 2015 - 2021 Strykeforce2005Sours: https://www.deviantart.com/strykeforce2005/art/Lindsey-Outfit-Reference-1-521998898
How to use reference images: 13 essential tips for artists
Reference images, if used well, can be dynamic resources. But knowing how to use them properly is vital if you want to end up with a believable piece. Simply relying on your visual recall is not the best way to end up with an exact representation because there are too many elements to drudge up from the depths of your memory. This is where reference images come in handy.
In this article, we list tips from professionals that'll help you use your references images in the most successful way possible. On page one, you'll find general tips on how to approach using reference images, and jump to page two if you want more specific advice on the principles to follow when using reference to create art.
Want to start with some brilliant drawing tutorials? See our guide to how to draw, which rounds up out pick of the best classes. For a more technical guide to image types, head to our guide to image file formats.
Should we use reference images?
Recently, the hashtag #ArtistConfessions took off on Twitter, and one of the most popular confessions artists shared was 'using references'. This is bizarre because, as British illustrator and caricaturist Neil Davies pointed out, that’s exactly what artists should be doing.
"That’s not something that needs to be confessed, we all use reference!" he tweeted. "Look at probably the most famous American illustrator, Norman Rockwell: I have a book just of his reference photos! Or Drew Struzan: he didn’t make up poses, he took photos of himself!"
So where has this idea – that using references is bad – come from?
"There’s a kind of purist mindset on certain parts of the internet that says using reference for anything more than studying is disrespectful," says North Carolina artist Ivy Dolamore "I think it stems from a frustration with people who trace and recreate what they see without really understanding it. Being a 'copier' isn’t flexing your creativity."
01. Identify the grey area
Using references isn't the same as simply copying, of course, but there can sometimes be a grey area between the two. "The biggest problem is when artists adhere too closely to the reference image," says California-based illustrator Kelley McMorris. "Sometimes a pose or perspective can look natural in a photo, but awkward and stiff in a drawing. It's important to modify the reference to serve your drawing, not the other way around. Or as my professors sometimes said, 'Don't be a slave to your reference!'"
Suzanne Helmigh concept artist and illustrator working in the game and film industry in The Netherlands, agrees. "The key is to understand what you're looking at and not simply draw what you think you see," she says.
"I used to teach people how to paint portraits and I made them study the skull and facial muscles before portraying actual faces. This helped them tons in understanding the proper volumes and proportions."
02. Combine your references
Davies feels it's important to use more than just one reference. "I'll always try to find a good selection of images to look at, even when I'm drawing from one main one," he says. "I'll often use one reference photo for drawing a face, for example, then another for a lighting reference, and maybe another for a colour scheme idea. Combining lots of different references is a great way to be creative."
Speak to most pro artists and you'll hear a similar story. Admittedly, one notable exception is Korean comic artist Kim Jung Gi, who famously doesn't use references. Even he, though, doesn't purely rely on his imagination. As he explains in an interview on his website: "I observe things all the time. I don't take references while I'm drawing, but I'm always collecting visual resources. I observe them carefully on a daily basis, almost habitually. I study images of all sorts and genres."
03. Watch out for copyright
So where can you find references? Google Images and Pinterest are the obvious go-tos, but don't forget about copyright. "Sometimes I worry that I've stuck too closely to a photo that I found online," says McMorris. "So if I do use photos from online sources, I try to find copyright-free stock photos, and I always try to change the reference substantially. For example, I might change the model's costume, or only use their hand for reference rather than the entire pose."
04. Create your own references
Alternatively, McMorris will simply cut out the middleman and shoot her own references. "I usually just dig through my closet for something I can use as a costume, grab whatever's lying around the house as a prop, and take a few shots with my phone," she explains. "It only takes a few minutes, but can save me an hour of struggling to draw from imagination. By taking your own photos, you'll not only avoid any copyright infringement, but you'll also learn about what kinds of poses, angles and lighting work best for reference."
That said, photography is just one way to create your own references. Dolamore, for example, creates her own 3D model references using DesignDoll, helping her to map out poses, perspective and shadows. "This gives me a result I like, although you can't just copy what DesignDoll gives you, either," she says. This does, of course, take a little time. And Samuel Read, a concept artist at Mighty Kingdom based in Adelaide, admits that, until recently, time pressures dissuaded him from using references as often as he should, even while he was recommending the practice to others.
As Read explains, "Although I used reference for things like inspiration and developing ideas, I was lacking in using photos and life drawing for task such as posing my characters, making expression studies, and designing different kinds of hands, feet, eyes, noses, mouths and so on."
05. Analyse your process
The #ArtistConfessions hashtag made Read rethink his process and focus more on these areas – and this approach has made an impact in his work. "The use of more varied reference photos, as well as drawing from life, have started to teach me more about the different ways in which people are constructed, and methods of communicating ideas, such as making someone's hands read as old, weathered and tired, or hard and strong," Read says.
Using references can be full of pitfalls, but done in the right manner it'll make you a better artist. "Listening to professionals proudly saying they use reference has helped me immensely," says Dolamore. "Learning that work I admire isn't created out of thin air gives me the confidence to think, 'Oh, I can do that, too'. I've stopped thinking as much about the purism and more about how I can achieve that initial vision. Why not use the tools available?"
The content was originally published in issue 177 of ImagineFX, the world's best-selling magazine for digital artists. Buy issue 177 or subscribe to ImagineFX.
Next page: step-by-step tips for using reference images
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Art outfit reference
When it came to last night’s Met Gala theme, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” many years of documented celebrity behavior predicted the fact that few famous faces on the white carpet adhered to the theme in 2021. Sure, there were fabulous offerings: Rihanna arrived fashionably late in voluminous black Balenciaga with A$AP Rocky on her arm, the latter looking blessed to be in her presence; polarizing Brooklyn fixture Ella Emhoff looked genuinely wonderful in red Adidas by Stella McCartney; Lily-Rose Depp came off as appropriately haughty in the vein of Kate Moss in Chanel. America-wise, obvious homages were few and far between. However, the art references came thick and fast.
One of the most striking looks on the white carpet was sported by Dan Levy, the Schitt’s Creek creator and son of Eugene. Levy’s outfit, which was designed as part of a collaboration with Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson, interpolates two different works of art by David Wojnarowicz, the artist and AIDS activist whose confrontational creations have since been canonized in the LGBTQ community: Fuck You F–got Fucker, 1984, and Untitled (One Day This Kid…), 1990–91. Levy’s look was earnestly intentioned, although not exactly successful.
Virgil Abloh, in typically straightforward fashion, left nothing to the imagination and simply wore an outfit with the word “Modernism” written across his chest. Got it! Grimes brought a sword, which is par for the course for the pop star. She’s frequently mentioned her fascination with violence and the concept of warrior goddesses, so it stands to reason that her look could have been referencing anyone from Joan of Arc to a futuristic galactic queen; however, Grimes told Vogue that the outfit was actually Dune-inspired. And as for the sword?
“The sword is based on a western European sword from the end of the Middle Ages around 1400,” Grimes told Vogue, adding that it’s “a permanent piece of the Met’s collection, and the sword is also cast from a Colt AR-15A3. It’s from these people who are getting people’s [guns] who don’t want to have their automatic rifles anymore, and are melting them down and making them perfect replicas of medieval swords, which I think is just so cool—I think it’s a beautiful thing.”
All Genshin characters outfit reference!
This was a really helpful tool i found out about a couple days ago and its seriously a god-sent for all artists or cosplayers that are utterly confused by our beloved Genshin characters' outfit. [LINK!]
Currently all of the released characters are on here! Unreleased character models however are not.
As an artist I honestly wish I knew about this sooner, the amount of times I've had a seizure over Diluc's jacket is uncanny.
You can even single out certain aspects of the outfit! For example: childes mask which I always avoid drawing because it always seems too complicated;
Literally the most helpful thing I've come across as an artist. Here's my own art made with the help of it side by side from the original reference:
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Intro To Costume Design For Concept Art
TipsProps ArtDisclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)
Entertainment has always featured costume designers from theater plays and movies up to present day TV and video games. Costume designers are necessary for imagining the style of characters and people in a creative production.
This style may be something simple like 1990s New York, or it may be very complex like a space mission to an alien planet. Artists get into the entertainment world because there really is no business like showbusiness. Specialties like costume design are just part of the magic required to bring something to the screen.
I’d like to cover a little about costume design and how it may affect your concept art practice. This post will not cover everything about costume design, but rather just the ideas that pertain to digital artists.
Matching A Character
Costumes are most often designed for people. It seems silly to clarify this, but some costumes are meant for large creatures and monsters that don’t conform to a typical human shape.
So when designing a costume for a character you’ll want to gather as much information as possible. What does this character enjoy? What are their personality traits? How do they behave? Favorite activities?
These questions are usually fleshed out by the time the costume designer has to work out ideas. And you really need to consider the character before you can design their costume.
Let’s say you have two characters who are sisters. One’s a very dignified and civil aristocrat while the other’s a tough-shelled biker outlaw. These two characters will be designed in very different, almost opposing outfits.
But setting and theme also play a role in the design process. Should these outfits match a classic 1700s style of attire? Or is this a sci-fi futuristic world? Again, these two settings will offer vastly different results for costume art.
Never be afraid of trying new things. All the best artists know that adventure is a big part of creating believable artwork.
This interview with vis dev artist Samantha Kallis is an incredible source of inspiration for new artists and pros alike.
Worlds and Moods
Every story has to set a tone for the world where it lives. Video games often have different worlds compared to kids movies, but the thematic style is always visible.
Take for example the character art of Adventure Time. This costume design surely follows a different process than Assassin’s Creed or God Of War.
A jungle environment like The Jungle Book is completely different than something like Toy Story. I recently checked out the Art of Jungle Book and it’s amazing to see how those artists created such realistic worlds and characters.
You can find so much quality inspiration just by studying existing projects. Reality is also full of costumes because we can’t all be nude in public(not yet).
I’ve always been a big fan of Pinterest because there’s a tag for everything. Lo and behold there’s one for costume concept art with 100+ different examples.
The beauty is that artistic style does not matter. A world’s mood is set by the visual designer or art director. You simply take that in and find inspiration wherever possible.
Think of all the different costumes someone could wear in a frozen arctic environment. This is your job as a costume designer and without some reference you’ll be stuck drawing the same stuff over and over.
Honestly the best way to match a mood is to fall in love with fashion. Costume designers really just create imaginary fashion trends. There are dozens of fashion blogs online that you can skim through, each with their own unique slant on the fashion world.
This interview with concept artist Claire Hummel has a bit about her process designing a costume for BioShock.
The more you study moods in existing works of art, the easier it’ll be to replicate moods in your own art. The difficulty is combining moods with character personalities to create a dazzling outfit every time.
Practicing Your Own Ideas
If you’re not familiar with matching character personalities then do some personal studies. These can be much more beneficial than you might realize, especially if you do them for extended periods of time.
One exercise is to redesign the costumes for existing characters based on your analysis of their personalities. Take your favorite character from a video game or cartoon series and redesign their clothes.
This is both really fun and very educational. After designing a few ideas you can post to art communities like /r/ImaginaryCharacters to get feedback.
The other natural method of practice is to design your own characters from scratch. This is a bit trickier because now you’re wearing the hat of a character designer and costume designer.
Although most character designers already have the ability to design costumes so it’s not much of a leap.
Many costume designers also have to behave like props designers when focusing on small costume accessories. Take a look at this concept art designed by Benedict Neoh.
It shows a mock space suit with a few different ornamentations for the helmet/hoodie. This follows some aspects of prop design geared towards costume work. So in general a costume artist should be well-rounded in many skillsets, just like all concept artists.
I still recommend practicing unique stuff as much as you can. Create your own characters, redesign others, and just try anything that works.
I also like the book Costume Design & Illustration made for artists working in film and video games. If you’re just starting out this might be a little over your head, but it will seriously up your costume design game when you’re ready for it.
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just get started and be willing to work hard. Put in the hours and recognize when you’re slacking.
If you study the work of other artists you’ll quickly build up a visual library of unique ideas. Keep working to design your own costumes from life as well. In time you’ll be surprised how quickly you can visualize ideas and put them down.
If you need a little more inspiration check out this intro video on costume design for concept art.