• Sara

How to Start with Reference Photos for Your Fairy Art

Big title because it’s an important step! Let’s start getting into the nitty gritty of creating an imaginary ’being’ on paper.

Let’s take a moment and talk about where to find your references. For me I find them literally everywhere. The more you train your mind to see ‘outside the box’ when looking at something, the more you’ll be able to convert it into fantasy in your mind.


I used to (and still have) a paper and folder filing box filled with magazine clippings and calendar tear outs. This was long before Pinterest and having my own printer. Nowadays I use primarily Pinterest and Deviant Art to store and find my references. Careful tho, they’re both filled with rabbit holes and you could literally spend HOURS on either site.


If you visit my Pinterest you’ll discover MANY ’folders’ filled with ideas, how tos, and imagery to get the imagination going. When I am going down a rabbit hole I just save whatever inspires me.


in·spire /inˈspī(ə)r/ verb fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. "his passion for romantic literature inspired him to begin writing"

What Inspires You?

First things first, you need to find what inspires you and start an Inspiration Board. These come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. It’s truly up to you what works best. I have made them using bulletin boards, Pinterest boards, sketchbook pages with tape/glue, and even as a teenager I used to just fill my bedroom walls with imagery that inspired me. I’m sure my parents loved all the sticky tack stains on my walls.


Make An Inspiration Board

Before you start with the reference drawing/painting, make an inspiration board. Then, share a link or a photo of it below in the comments. Let us know how it goes. Keep in mind that it can be more than just faces and bodies. It can be colors, textures, objects, etc. Spend some time with this and then we’ll discuss actually putting a piece together from those references.


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