sarah forde posing with knives

Stock Art for the Masses

Known as SenshiStock on DeviantArt, Sarah Forde is, according to the platform, ‘considered by many to be their first stop for stock photography,’ particularly for anatomical study, illustrative pose reference, and assistance in drawing perspective.

This article appears in VICE Magazine's Means of Production issue. Conceived of pre-COVID-19 and constructed during it, it explores the organization and ownership of our world.

I have my BFA in sculpture/3D studies from UMass Dartmouth. I started using pose references for my illustrations after I took life drawing classes in college. The classes and subsequent study drastically improved my work, but I had trouble finding dynamic poses without a lot of clothing obscuring the form.


Nude references were an option, but the poses were limited to either classical or sexual. I really wanted more variety, so I started taking my own.

Mostly I just do poses I think people may want to use. Sometimes I have a character or concept in mind, but usually I’m just trying to make interesting shapes. I get a lot of flak from people who have technical expertise in things (archers and violinists are the most vocal) but technical accuracy is rarely my goal, and I figure if that’s important to an artist using the poses, they can supplement with additional research.

On the flip side, I also post every pose that I take, even the “bad” ones, because I don’t think any reference is inherently bad. The non-perfect pose might be exactly what someone needs!

Forde’s photos are available to anyone for free download on DeviantArt (with credit, please).

sarah and other posing
sarah on a bench
sarah in a mirror
sarah in the bath; pregnant; relaxing
sarah with a stick
standing on feet
shoe shots
weapon in hand
with cards
with wings on bench
crosslegged on bench, flying away
more jumping