Reference photograph Website

Okay, so as a cartoonist, there are tons of reference books out there that are really great to have in your collection.   Mark Simon’s Facial Expressions.  Scalera’s Comic Artist’s Photo Reference.  Of course, Muybridge’s The Human Figure in Motion. (Pretty much anything by Muybridge, really.)

There are thousands, if not millions, of photos online as well.  Anything you can think of, you can find online.  (Beware, though.  Google image search is Gozer the Destroyer; no matter how innocent your search term, eventually one of the results will turn out to be a pissed-off 300 foot marshmallow monster.)
For those of us out there who love to render realistic backgrounds in our comics, we can usually find what we want online or, failing that, through the lens of a trusty camera or even a cheap camera phone.  Luckily for us, if there’s ever anything we just can’t seem to get to photograph or find online, there are resources out there such as the versatile Google Sketchup program, with which a patient artist can render his own backgrounds for tracing or insertion into his pages (I’m trying to not exclude the traditional pen and paper artist crowd out there; your models can always be printed out for tracing.)

In any case, a lot of artists choose celebrities for their models, simply for the ease of recognition and the cheesecake factor.  (Because really, who doesn’t love to read a comic wherein a thinly-veiled Christina Hendricks copy runs around in a catsuit doing aerodynamically improbable things?  No one, that’s who.)  Thankfully, there are even more celebrity images online than almost anything else.  (Again, exercise caution when searching for such things.  Don’t blame me when Zuul co-opts your refrigerator.)  Sometimes, however, we want specific images of celebrities with surroundings from, say, films or TV shows they were in.  That’s where the new website Leave Me the White comes into play.  It’s a screenshot repository with thousands and thousands of screenshots from films and TV shows.  Your average TV episode has about 400-600 screenshots, and certain films have in excess of 12,000 screenshots, for just the perfect reference.
The site is still relatively new, so for all of its photos, it doesn’t have that wide of a sampling of films.  What it has, however, should keep you busy clicking for a while.

If you’re like me and you just want to gawp at Firefly screenshots for the next sixteen hours, this is definitely the website for you.  What are you waiting for?  Click, fool!


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