A Gold Mine of Free Stock Photos for Fantasy Images

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One of many excellent landscape stock photos available on deviantArt. Image by Resurgere.
One of many excellent landscape stock photos available on deviantArt
. Image by Resurgere.

Today, we’re going to look at how you can use deviantArt as a resource for free stock photos for your fantasy work, and as a place to learn and grow as a digital artist. For fantasy artists, deviantArt is truly a gold mine of free stock photographs. Not only are they free, but they are images you are unlikely to find on a regular stock photo site, free or otherwise. The community members on deviantArt are incredibly generous, taking professional-quality reference photos of models dressed in costume, in every imaginable pose. They make these photos available to all deviantArt members, free of charge. Usually all that is required is that, when you post your creation on deviantArt, you credit the folks who created your source images. (Please read the restrictions stated by the copyright holder before using their work.) 

This method of giving credit means that you can see exactly what images an artist used to create the final composition. This is a great way to learn, and to get your creative juices flowing. For example, take a look at this wonderful image by Moonmomma (Pat Brennan), one of my favorite artists on deviantArt:

Briar Rose by Moonmomma
Briar Rose by Moonmomma

Just looking at this image, you can’t really tell what the artist did. Luckily, on deviantArt the artists put links to the source images used, down in their comments section. The icons you see here are links to the images used, or to the member’s page. You may have to do a little hunting to find the image used. 

The artist\'s comments include links to the three images used in the creation of Briar Rose.
The artist’s comments include links to the three images used in the creation of Briar Rose.

Clicking on each link, we can see that these three images were used during the creation of Briar Rose.

Statue stock image, by fairyandturtlestock
Statue stock image, by fairyandturtlestock
Celtic frame graphic by DeviantNepStock
Celtic frame graphic by DeviantNepStock
The face for the image came from this stock photo by bobbistock
The face for the image came from this stock photo by bobbistock

Seeing the images used only gives me a greater appreciation of the work done by Moonmomma in her image Briar Rose. I’m just amazed by what she’s done here. Notice that the source image for the face is actually turned the other way, and had to be flipped. Keep this in mind, when hunting for your own source images: usually the images you find will need to be tweaked somehow before you can use them. 

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