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Popular Reference and Resource Site for Artists in 2022

For newcomers to the art world at once, finding the right reference material can be difficult. There are many sites that are not very good quality, and there are also issues with copyright, download and usage restrictions.
So here are the best artist art reference resources I could find online. You should know how to use them properly!

1. Unsplash

Unsplash has anything you can think of! From posing people to animals to environments and a bunch of objects. If you’re interested in any of the above, check it out.

I highly recommend it because it has a lot of photos and it’s easy to download and free. You can also create a free account to “collect” your favorite photos and save them to your account.

2. Pexels

Like the previous one, it has a lot of diversity. One thing I particularly like about this site is that you can download photos in the specific size you want. No need to download large files when you just want to reference a small file and then have to resize them using some software.

Just choose one of the pre-made sizes or enter your specific size and download! Pexels offers high-quality and completely free images licensed under the Pexels license. All photos are well tagged, searchable, and easy to discover through our discovery page.

references in pexels

3. Pixabay

It is a very nice website with a wide selection of themes and motifs, under a proprietary license you can share photos, illustrations, vectors, and movie clips. When you select an image to download, a related image will appear at the bottom to give you more references. This will usually show you a nice selection of other images that may be of interest and that you may have missed. It’s also very easy to use.


4.1 million free pictures

Although the photos here don’t look as professional as on other sites, there are still some very interesting ones. You can find grids, patterns, and general designs that you won’t find anywhere else.

5. Pinterest

This is a complete photo gallery with tons of images being added every day. I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest before and you’ve probably pinned a few things yourself. Pinterest uses a waterfall format to display image content without users having to turn pages, new images are constantly and automatically loaded at the bottom of the page, allowing users to constantly discover new images. And you can find a lot of references for your work.

6. Behance

Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work. Behance is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and is used by creative professionals around the world to showcase their online portfolios – graphic design, illustration, fashion, photography, advertising, fine art, game design, and more.

7. Artstation

You probably heard of it a long time ago. It shows users pictures, videos, models and other CG design works, including the world is the top artists’ works. ArtStation is the leading showcase platform for game, film, media and entertainment artists. It enables artists to showcase their portfolios in a smart way, discover and stay inspired, and connect with new opportunities.

On the home page, you can explore many works of art provided by great artists from around the world. When you click on an image, you can give your feedback, interact with others, and also see what tools were used for the artwork.

ArtStation gives you more than just exploration.

You can take online courses, read blogs, and check out online magazines to learn about industry trends. Through challenges, you can compare your skills and expand your network.

8. DeviantART

This is a popular international online art community in the United States, founded by Scott Jarkoff and Matthew Stephens.

The goal of DeviantART is to provide a place for any artist, photographer, or writer to show and discuss their work.


StockSnap is a royalty-free stock photography site that is worth bookmarking for presentation design.

All images on the site are free of charge for free from the best sources, CC0, use stock photos as you wish.

Browse and download thousands of copyright free stock images. No attribution required.

Of course, the reference is for reference only, the most important thing is that you can get inspiration from it for your own style and create a unique artwork. For more information on how to find inspiration, you can take a look at our previous articles:5 Ways to Find Drawing Inspiration. You will benefit a lot from them.

The reference websites have been provided for you above, so you can go there to dig some inspiration. By the time you get inspiration, it will be a problem if your painting skills can’t catch up. So, you have to keep honing your skills.

Wingfox is a good platform for you to improve your skills, and there are rich and diverse tutorials for you to learn and improve your skills in a targeted way. If you want to learn more, don’t forget to join Wingfox’s Discord group:

【Translation Fundraising】Level Up Your Digital Painting Skills 2.0: New Upgrade

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