This article originally appeared on VICE US.
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).