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Let’s face it – in the world of professional illustration, time = money. It’s true in most professions, but when the work to create your product is work that you can’t delegate, you need as much time to produce as you can get your hands on. Many of us still have to do the rest of our ‘run the engine’ work on our own and that makes the time crunch even worse.

We Need to Work Faster

How do you make yourself more productive in less time? How do you make yourself more efficient? You work on speed. You work on understanding forms and figures and settings so that you can draw them faster.

Possibly the best tool that I’ve ever come across to help with this very thing are the tools made available by the awesome Kim at her website She’s crafted a set of automated web tools for displaying photos of reference images for artists to work from – in a timed fashion.

Did I mention that she offers this to the public for free? (You can, and IMHO should donate to her via Paypal, but she doesn’t require it for the user of her site.)

Currently the tools allow you to use both human figures and a wide range of animals for reference material. Humans can be filtered by both gender and clothed or nude. Animals can be broken down by type (birds, canine, insects, etc). All of the above can be gone through in time increments of  30 seconds, 60 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes for fast sketching. If you prefer to take your time and focus on quality over quantity? No problem. Kim’s got you covered by allowing you to ‘take a class’ and set the timer to 30 minutes, 1, 2, 3, or 6 hours.

Did I mention that it’s free?

How Photographers Can Help

Kim/Pixelovely really could use your help. She would like to expand the set of tools to include two new options – one for portraits, and one for hands/feet. Any of you who are willing to donate your existing photos (or some portion thereof) should contact her via her contact form and let her know!

She does give credit for every photo with a link to the site of your choice and you would have her (and my!) thanks. So you would receive a little publicity and some gratitude for work you’ve already done. Doesn’t seem like a terrible idea to me, and you would be helping artists everywhere get better at working faster. What a way to support your fellow artists! So if you’re a portrait or hand/foot photographer, please please please drop her a quick email and lend a hand.

I know I will be.

(Thank you!)