Photo of the Saco River in Maine

Build your own visual library

As an artist it is important to have a good visual library, while Google can offer you quite a bit of assistance with it, there is always the ugly head of copyright rearing when you find your reference on Google, so you can do yourself a huge favour by picking up a simple point and shoot camera and get in the habit of taking photos whenever you are out and about.

I just returned from my yearly summer vacation with the family. We went to the Saco River in Maine, which is a gorgeous area and offers a rich opportunity for some nature photography. I never know what reference I might need for future artwork so I have gotten in the habit of just shooting everything I find the least bit of interest in. Not only does it help my artwork but I find my photography skills improving with time and as an added bonus all those photos add up to a wonderful collection of photo albums to share with friends and family.

Taking photos of people and animals is an obvious addition to your library. If you’re a digital artist though, consider taking close ups of textures that you can utilize in your artwork later on. Bark on trees, interesting patterns in rocks, cement or even paint can really help bring your digital art to a whole new level.

You do not need a super fancy camera to take good photos. A simple point and shoot will do and the internet provides a great resource for learning how to fully utilize your camera, so with a bit of practice you can get some great shots. My own camera is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS.

Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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