How Do You Organize Your Reference Material?

Do you have any favorite books you use for reference when drawing, painting or sculpting?

I purchased the books above several years ago at a local bookstore and wish I had purchased more of the series. I’ve used these books countless times – too many to mention. Most artists keep numerous binders, notebooks and sketchbooks filled with reference images, or like me they also have an enormous collection of books –some of which have been out of print for years.

Something that I’ve found to be extremely helpful is to keep a collection of reference photos saved as jpegs on my computer. These are either photos of people in random poses I’ve collected off the internet or people I’ve setup in specific poses and quickly photographed. I’m a very organized individual by nature so I archive all of my photos in separate folders such as female, male, hands, expressions etc. When I need an image to call up for reference I’ll peruse through my collection of jpegs using Adobe Bridge. This is also a great way to keep inspirational images as well. External hard drives are relatively inexpensive these days so housing all these images isn’t really a problem at all. If you have a small studio it eliminates a lot of clutter. When I find the reference photo I need in my collection I’ll print it out and take it to my drawing table or save some trees and refer to the photo directly from my monitor. I’ve found this method to be an extremely effective way to house all these images. I still have many books I can’t bear to part with, and of course I still use sketchbooks, but at least I don’t have as many huge binders taking up a mountain of space anymore. There’s also no more cutting or gluing. Now it’s just copy, paste and save.

How do like to organize your reference material? Feel free to share your methods in the comments.

Article by LOU SIMEONE


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