Stocking Up: Finding Great Images to Paint September 22, 2015 21:00 2 Comments

The paintings I make are always photo-based, whether they’re photo-transformations or paintings that begin as blank canvases — using the photo only as a reference. And I’ve found sometimes that my own photo library doesn’t always meet all of my needs. This may be the case with you as well.

What i’ve done, and what I would recommend to you would be to seek out and use (with permission of course) images taken by other photographers. These may be images posted to different photography or digital-art forums - some with an invitation to other members to retouch/manipulate/paint the posted image. Early on, as I worked to expand my skills as a digital artist, this was a great resource to me. Not only the images that were made available to me, but the feedback and encouragement I received from other members.

Another great resource I would recommend to you for the purposes of practice and portfolio-building would be the stock-image websites that are out there in increasingly larger numbers. You might be surprised to know that a large number of these sites offer use of their images for free.

Here’s a list of eighteen of my favorite sites offering free-for-use images: Pexels, Stocka, MMT, DesignersPics, Unsplash, Splitshire, Pixabay, Life of Pix, Magdeleine, Stocksnap, Gratisography, Kaboompics, Raumrot, Picjumbo, Im free, Re:splashed, ISO Republic, and Stokpic.

The stock site I use most often when I'm looking for a picture to paint is Dreamstime.  You'll have to pay to use most of their images (a very reasonable price, I think), but they do have a really large selection of free images as well.
 

So you might want to take a stroll through some of these sites. You might just find the inspiration for your next masterpiece.