Every great artist should practice figure drawing. In fact many pro artists practice figure regularly to keep their skills sharp.
But not everyone can get to a live figure session. That’s where online practice helps a lot.
If you don’t have gesture pose photos on your computer then you’ll need to find some online. And I’ve listed all the best sites that are full of amazing gesture photos for practicing your figures.
No matter what your skill level or how long you’ve been drawing, gesture is a great place to start learning and fantastic for warm-ups too. And these free gesture pose websites will prove invaluable to your learning process.
I personally use Quickposes all the time for my gesture practice. They have an online timed session webapp where you queue up a number of photos, set a timer and let it run.
This way you can practice gestures based on time limits like 30 second poses or 90 second poses.
Now they also have a random pose generator that works basically the same way. You can decide the specifics of your photos and customize your entire figure session to work on areas that need improvement.
Some of the customizable options are:
If you visit the main library page you’ll find a whole host of images right there for download. So you can even use Quickposes to build up your local storage of gesture photos!
This is generally my #1 recommendation for online figure drawing practice.
It may not beat real drawing from a live figure but it’s certainly better than nothing.
The Line of Action website has a bunch of great free tools for artists.
These include various photo galleries for drawing faces, animals, and naturally human figures.
Visit their figure drawing tool and choose whichever options you wanna run. You’ll find similar options just like Quickposes so you can filter out the types of photos you want(or don’t want).
Select from semi-clothed models, fully nude, or only clothed. Then choose which sex and how long to run each photo before moving onto the next one.
You can pick between 30 seconds to 5 minutes or even set your own time interval. Stan Prokopenko, the guy behind Proko.com, recommends practicing both short gestures(30 seconds) and longer poses(2 minutes) in his figure drawing course.
I’ve also found those time limits to be the most useful way to really delve into poses. You start by capturing the likeness of each model quickly, but as you get more accurate with your drawing skills it’ll be easier to work on the details of each pose.
Line of Action does have a larger variety of photos compared to Quickposes so it can feel like a totally new photo library. But generally they behave very much the same, although I haven’t found a non-timed option on Line of Action’s site.
You can set the timer to 99999 seconds if you want to run each photo for as long as possible.
And it’s great how LoA splits up the site into different sections for each subject.
You’ll probably spend most of your time in the figure drawing tool. But LoA has animal photos, facial expressions, and a hands & feet tool for practicing those pesky limbs.
I’ve often found the hands a lot more challenging but these photos are superb. You can also study the work of other artists to get an idea for hands, feet, or even full gestures.
It’s one reason I often recommend Proko’s course so much because just watching him work can radically alter how you practice gesture.
SketchDaily is a community on Reddit where artists practice drawing a new subject posted daily. This is a fun way to force yourself into the unknown and start drawing things you’re not familiar with.
Granted there are many art subreddits out there but SketchDaily is one of the largest with over 130k subscribers. Part of that community developed an app called the SketchDaily Gesture Reference.
The whole thing is maintained for free by the team and it’s one of the best community-run gesture pose photo sites on the web.
From the sidebar you select which features you want in your photos and change the options accordingly.
You can pick from human gesture poses, human body parts, or animal photos. Then inside each category you can change your gesture slideshow options including total time intervals for each photo.
Notice towards the bottom of the tools panel you’ll see a counter that updates with the total number of available images.
At the time of this writing I can see about 1,950 total photos in the gesture poses category. Not super large but definitely big enough!
And once you click “start” it’ll display the photos in full screen along with smaller slideshow controls near the top.
Once you’re nearing the end of the counter the image slowly fades out which is a nice touch.
And if you wanna change any settings you just click the square “stop” icon in the toolbar. This brings you right back to the main page where you can alter some settings and get your next batch of images running.
The SenshiStock website is another community-run site with a long list of followers.
It runs on Creative Commons images which are released for free to the world, often without attribution if published under CC0 in the public domain.
That means you can save images from this site and use all of them offline for gesture drawing practice at home.
Gesture pose photos mostly come from the DeviantArt page and they’re primarily submitted by the community.
So yes, this is a really cool site with lots of free gesture photos. But what about practicing online?
The SenshiStock Gesture Webapp has you covered.
This free tool opens a new page with a totally new look. It’s not specifically part of the main website and it’s meant to work globally in all web browsers.
It even works on mobile devices if you wanna practice sketching from your smartphone!
But SenshiStock’s gesture app works a little differently than the others.
You can set a time limit so that’s similar. But the photo styles are categorized by tags. If you click the little tag icon button you’ll see a list of different categories for these photos.
Pick what you want and click “save selection” at the top. Then restart the gallery.
It can feel a little clunky at first but I think this gesture pose app is actually simpler than most of the others in this list. Plus you get details about each photo with two important links:
Really this is one of the better webapps for practicing gestures because it can run on any device, has a pretty simple interface, and curates thousands of photos all released for free to help artists master gesture.
I mentioned Proko earlier for his phenomenal figure drawing course. And it really is one of the best out there—every budding artist should really check it out.
But Proko also offers a pack of free model poses when you sign up for his newsletter.
You can do that on the homepage if you scroll down to the very bottom. You’ll find an email signup and if you join his newsletter you get a free pack of sample pose photos.
I definitely recommend grabbing a copy since these are high-quality pictures. They all come in HD sizes ranging from 2500-3000px large. There’s also a good variety between portrait and landscape orientations.
Now if you want to see how these photos look check out Proko’s free playlist of figure drawing videos.
Most of these vids feature some model poses and you can even work right from the video if you pause every so often.
The only caveat is that these free photos may not be enough. There’s a good amount here, but if you’re practicing regularly you’ll want way more.
I recently grabbed one of the Proko photo packs and use them constantly for gesture practice.
These are not free packs but they are surprisingly cheap.
Not to mention one photo pack typically has 300-400+ photos.
Granted the whole point of this article is to share free gesture pose photos. Not everyone wants to spend money on this kinda stuff, but if you do have some extra scratch I highly recommend sticking to Proko’s photo packs.
He actually just released a new hand pose photoset which totals over 1,500 pictures in all.
Really, where else can you find that?! I’m not even sure the free gesture apps I listed earlier have that many pictures of hands.
Now you can totally get by without any of Proko’s photosets. But I had to include them here because they’re all such high-quality resources and they fit perfectly into Proko’s curriculum if you’re following his online videos.
Last but not least is a site that some love, others hate, but either way it can’t be ignored: Pinterest.
This is a huge social photo sharing site and it’s growing larger every year. People from all over the world create Pinterest boards to pin up artwork, food, home décor, everything.
So you can bet your sweet patootie there’s some gesture pose photos on there.
I see this like a last resort site to hit if you’re in desperate need of unique gesture photos. Many of these are pics are shared without permission from the photographers so you can’t do much with them besides keep them locally for practice(that’s all you’d need them for anyways).
Although you can also make a gesture board dedicated to model pose photos for gesture practice.
Plenty of people do this and it’s a great way to keep photos accessible on the web from any computer.
Not to mention you can even create secret(or “private”) Pinterest boards that only you can see. This way you’re not sharing anything with the public but you still have access from any computer with Internet.
Gesture drawing is one of the quickest ways to improve your art. It’s also one of the best ways to maintain your drawing abilities and avoid getting rusty.
These resources are some of my absolute favorites to practice gesture drawing from photo references online. I’ve yet to find many others that match the quality of these tools.
But with thousands upon thousands of photos in these websites you’ll be busy practicing gestures for years to come.