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Here at Anime Art Magazine and Anime Art Academy, we’re always promoting the use of reference images as one of the very best ways for our students to improve their anime drawing. Even top-level professional artists will regularly use reference material to make sure their poses look believable.
But with the amount of unusual poses and situations found in anime and manga, finding the right reference for your work is sometimes easier said than done!
That’s where AdorkaStock comes in! An independently run, totally free source of pose stock images, put together specifically with anime artists in mind!
We got in touch with Sarah Forde, the creative force and main model behind AdorkaStock, to have a chat about what it’s like to create such an extensive collection of artistic reference photos!
Sarah, as a huge fan of Sailor Moon, started out taking photos for personal reference in 2007, to help with her own Sailor Moon fanart. From her experience with life-drawing in collage, she knew how helpful observation and reference can be, and found she drew best when looking at something she could recreate.
“I was finding some model stock on places like DeviantArt,” Sarah says, “but they were mainly focused on pretty costumes and targeted at people who do photo manipulations. It was hard to find models wearing form fitting clothing so I could see the body shape. I could find some nude models but the poses were fairly limited. So I just decided to start taking photos of myself for reference!”
As they say, if you want something done right – do it yourself! And that’s what Sarah decided to to.
Sarah’s friends complimented her work, and suggested making the photos available for other artists to use online. As an outgoing person who loves performing, she was more than happy to put her photos out there, especially if it was going to help other artists in the same situation as herself!
She continued the venture as a hobby for many years, before her private and work life started demanding more time. This was when she decided to start creating some premium content like themed pose packs and merchandise to help support both her pose project and her family.
One of the things we absolutely love about AdorkaStock, is the way Sarah’s personality, and love for her craft shine through in her work. This comes across in her choice of fellow models too!
“When I first started out” Sarah says, “I would just ask friends to come over and model with me. I don’t think most of them REALLY knew what they were getting themselves into. Now that I am doing this somewhat more professionally, I’m able to hire models and pay them.”
Whether it’s with her friends, paid models, or collaborations with other models, it’s clear how much everyone involved loves their work, and enjoys working together. This chemistry makes for even more dynamic poses, and very intimate and natural interactions.
Sarah says it’s her ongoing goal to work on diversifying her cast of models, and will be continuing to do so into 2022!
Poses and Props
Take one look at AdorkaStock’s extensive library of stock images, and you’ll see that Sarah doesn’t hold back with any of her poses, and doesn’t skimp on props! She’s always coming up with more fun and inventive ways to expand her pose collection. Whether it’s harnesses, ropes, or cleverly timed jumps, there’s plenty of action poses that it’s hard to find elsewhere!
We wondered how she pulls off all of these poses, and whether she had any favourites among her many props.
“I have a studio in my house. There’s a backdrop and a mirror so I can see myself and I have a big light. I’m not a photographer by training, so I hired my professional photography friend Blue Amrich to set the studio up for me. As for props, I have lots! My broomstick is my favorite because it’s so versatile for inspiration, but I also have various swords, prop guns, plastic knives, hammers, bow and arrow etc. I have also used ribbons, stuffed animals, and ordinary items like mugs, bowls, and vases. Sometimes before a shoot I will walk around my house just looking for items that give me ideas! My new favorite prop is my giant 56′ angel wings – they’re too big for the studio, so I’m looking forward to summer when I can shoot models wearing them outside again!”
When we asked if there was anything her poses have taught her about the human form, Sarah said it was definitely the importance of stretching!
Further creative adventures
Whilst working on her amazing collection of poses, Sarah also creates artwork herself! This comes in the form of pretty, one of a kind, hair accessories and pins named AdorkaBows. No doubt inspired by her love of Sailor Moon, these accessories are overflowing with cute anime designs and are a must-have for any fashion-conscious otaku!
Sarah also co-writes a free blog called Mind. Body. Artist. about taking care of your whole artist self.
“I hope the people who use my poses can be kind to themselves and make sure they take care of their body. Making art is a lot of work and you have to make sure you’re stretching, taking breaks, and doing some light exercise to keep your muscles and tendons happy! Be kind and supportive to yourself so you can learn and grow and make beautiful things!”
Words to live by, if ever we heard them!
We love Sarah and AdorkaStock, and are so pleased to have discovered such a rich source of resources to share with our students. Look out for more AdorkaStock in upcoming articles, as we give you advice on how best to use stock images to support your anime art studies.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, and all the poses AdorkaStock has to offer, be sure to show Sarah some love on her social media!
Our online art school Anime Art Academy offers lots of advice on how to use reference images most effectively in your art studies, so be sure to check our lessons out too!