Portrait photographs I can draw
February 12, 2007 3:21 PM   Subscribe

To keep my skills sharp I draw from models I find online. I do 3 or 4 pencil drawings daily, usually head shots or 3/4 length portraits, quickly, in front of my laptop. I'm looking for more of this type of photograph, in bulk.

At the moment I browse http://www.thefashionspot.com where lots of new photographs of fashion models in predictable poses are posted daily. Drawing the same beautiful faces gets old and I'm now looking for other sources of photographs I can copy. I'm looking for

- Mainly traditional poses and photography - head shots, seated, 3/4 length. Think Mona Lisa and traditional portraiture, no zany jumping about or bright flash, filters etc.

- Decent size and quality of photograph (600px on one side at least)

- Any type of face - old, young, beautiful, ugly, disfigured, anything.

- Volume. Somewhere I can return to daily, pick a few shots, and draw.

Doesn't matter where the photographs come from, it can be an online photography portfolio, mugshots, anything as long as the photographs are well lit, decent size and there are a good few to choose from.

I've seen sites that cater for life drawing like 3d.sk and I would prefer to avoid the stilted poses and lighting offered in those photographs, I'm looking for something more natural.
posted by oxala to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I would check out http://www.deviantart.com/

Browse through the categories, it should sort by newest photos.
posted by peripatew at 3:23 PM on February 12, 2007

Perhaps free porn sites?

Google (safesearch off) search for "metart"?
posted by porpoise at 3:24 PM on February 12, 2007

This actually sounds like it would make a great project. Create a site where you could request photos and people all over could forward them to you. Think about the wide range of photographs you'd get: School photos, wedding head shots . . . who knows what else.

Sorry, I didn't really answer your question. I'll bet you'd find a ton of this sort of thing on photographer's websites.
posted by necessitas at 3:26 PM on February 12, 2007

Flickr portraits.
posted by polyglot at 3:28 PM on February 12, 2007

I've no time to sift through deviantart and the like, I need to find sites that cater for a specific type of photograph - headshots and traditional standing/seated portraiture in decent volume. Porn is also no use as I need to be able to draw clothes :)

Flickr portraits are better but there is still an element of sifting. On fashionspot it's the same type of photograph over and over, that's what I'm looking for.

is the sort of traditional pose I'm after.
posted by oxala at 3:31 PM on February 12, 2007

imdb includes head shots and other similar publicity photos for lots of actors.

Rock and Roll Confidential list of bad band photos that are entertaining ;->
posted by alikins at 3:31 PM on February 12, 2007

Getty Images - Portraits?
posted by Urban Hermit at 3:40 PM on February 12, 2007

You can do Google Images searches, and limit it to only show large images. A good keywords would be "portrait" for example. Another technique is searching for this:

*.jpg site:bus.wisc.edu

That finds all jpg images hosted on the server of U. of Wisconsin Business School. Replace the domain after "site" with various university websites, and you'll find all kinds of images of people. Choose "large images" to filter out most of the crap you don't want.
posted by edlundart at 3:55 PM on February 12, 2007

Least Wanted has sets of mugshots from the '20s through the '50s. There's a lot of character in some of those faces. Some sets have large images, others aren't as useful. There are also some sets with full length poses.
posted by TimTypeZed at 4:00 PM on February 12, 2007

I've done this with a high school yearbook.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:49 PM on February 12, 2007

Modern day mugsots from Minnesota 480px x 600px when you click on the thumbnails on their details report.
posted by TimTypeZed at 5:22 PM on February 12, 2007

well, the best thing to do would be (imo) to find a local figure drawing session being offered at a school or elsewhere, rather than find more web images to work from. drawing a body that exists in front of you in real space is quite different from drawing from a photograph (i'm not valuing one above the other, necessarily--the experiences are simply different). some traditional studio model work would, if anything, be a good supplement the drawings made from photographs.
posted by wreckingball at 9:08 PM on February 12, 2007

Just to second wreckingball - I'm not so traditional that I think drawing from photographs is bad. However, it astonishes me as an artist how differently a photograph presents the same space and perspectives I might view in real life. You haven't said what your project or aims are, but if no one has ever encouraged you to take life drawing classes let me join wreckingball in recommending them if you have the time and budget. One of the nice things about life drawing is that it's such a foundational course in art programs that it's offered every semester and by pretty much every school (public/private/community college etc.). You can probably also find sessions that are not taught but rather simply administered if you want to figure it out for yourself or otherwise do it on your own. If you have already taken life drawing then you know what it's about and can probably disregard my advice.

And again, drawing from photos can be completely useful for the most obvious reason being that you can capture and therefore see things you couldn't see unaided.
posted by Slothrop at 12:22 AM on February 13, 2007

I don't know if you want to make a project out of this or not, but you could try necessitas' idea within Flickr... You could open an account, find a few Flickr users' images to draw, post the results, and comment on the originals with a link to your set & a call for more images. I bet you'd start to get users coming to you with suggestions.
posted by Tubes at 1:04 AM on February 13, 2007

I believe there are some reference model sites to be found with judicious web searches. For example
posted by mikshir at 9:27 AM on February 13, 2007

Just searching the archives tonight, looking for this very information - I do however have a couple of sites I use that haven't been mentioned here - so, for future searchers - check out:
30 second poses
Character designs

I use these two sites quite often.
posted by soplerfo at 4:50 PM on November 5, 2007

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