Using a photo reference for drawing?

Hi…I’m thinking of drawing my own cover & art scenes
(ofc after my exam ends :sob: :sob:)
But am I allowed to use a photo reference to draw it? I’m not such a great drawer and I need photo references for poses of the characters and stuff…is it okay if I copy their poses but change their clothing and hair etc? Or would that also have copyright issues?

Thank you in advance :blush:


I think you are. I use photo references all the time. As long as you change things up enough to make sure it doesn’t look like an exact copy of the original photo, it should be fine. Try not to trace directly, as that could be an issue. Using more than one reference and combining them can also help it look completely new if you’re concerned about copyright. Sorry if this is completely wrong, this is just what I think! :heart:

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I say yes
My art teacher doesn’t like when we dont use photo references ESPECIALY if its drawing realistically
So just grabe a couple or more photos you like and reference them in your drawing.

What I do sometimes is take a picture of my hand to reference hands
that way I can control the lighting as well

Yes I think its okay. But dont copy every-single thing
when we use the light table at school we are only allowed to trace one item per photo

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I don’t see why not. For example if you’re learning to draw hands or faces, how else would you learn? Use them to see how to make realistic poses.

Do not trace. Try to make it your own. You don’t want to copy their art style, you want to discover your own.

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You can
Just like @K.Logan art teacher, mine hate when we don’t use a reference photo when we drawing realism which makes sense cause your mind doesn’t really know how something really looks like


Thank you all! Ofc I’m not going to trace/outline, I feel like I can draw better if I do see a photo reference. That was really helpful! I’ll keep in mind to use multiple photo references and try to create my own…tough…but I’ll try!
Thank u!:]


Glad to hear. Even though you already know, here’s an explanation by Melanie. Click on the picture if you want to read the entire post.

Traced VS Referenced



Oh! Never knew someone explained something like this! This is really helpful.