SPECIAL FEATURE: Over 600 Free Reference Photos For Artists And Writers

Freshly Curious Free Reference Photo Library For Artists And Writers courtesy of Doodlewash.com Main Image

Freshly Curious - Over 700 Free Reference Photos for Artists - Courtesy of Doodlewash.comYears ago, before I started Doodlewash®, I had a photo blog where I shared a new photo each and every day. The blog was originally called Always Curious and then later, Freshly Curious, but I hadn’t updated it in years. I was looking through the photos recently, and thought they just might be helpful as reference photos for artists, or to illustrate blog posts if my writer friends are needing something visual to add to their stories, or simply for inspiration. Since it’s my birthday month, and that means gifts all around, I figured I’d share them with all of you! So I’m starting with over 600 photos (closer to 650 I think!) that you are free to use in any way you like, provided you make a little note that says “[photo or photo reference] courtesy of Doodlewash.com” when you post it, with a live link back to this site. That’s all I ask!

Though painting directly from life is a wonderful approach, I’ve found that painting from photo references is also a good way to practice sketching things you might not see on a daily basis and mix things up a bit. For example, I once saw a beautiful blue yellow macaw that was particularly striking, but I wasn’t sketching at the time and there would never be one flying outside my window where I live. And, honestly, had it been moving around, it would have freaked me out to try to sketch it when I was just starting out. Using a photo reference, I was able to study the form of this unique bird at my own slow pace (at least back then… I’ve gotten faster now!) and in the privacy of my own home. All the while getting a better understanding of the shapes and structure.

Painting From Photo References - Blue Yellow Macaw Watercolor Sketch Painting

I hope you’ll find some use for these photos and if nothing else, enjoy a visual tour of my photographic past. Much like my doodlewashes, it’s mostly just a bunch of “stuff” but you’ll find a large gallery of nature photos filled with flowers and butterflies along with some odd and random things that caught my eye once upon a time. I’ll be adding more photos as I find them, but hopefully these will be a good start. If you have any questions or thoughts, as this is something brand new that I’m testing out, please share them in the comments!

To View The Freshly Curious Free Reference Photos Click Here!

Hope you’ll enjoy! Happy painting and writing!

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  1. Monique 6 years ago

    Charlie this is really nice of you..

    I take a lot of photos..it’s a passion of mine..but I am doing your monthly challenge..my first..and really have had to Google” Hummingbird”..Images..and painted from that..etc.”.puddle” lol..but having all your photos in one spot will be great..I can go through my photos and not find one hummingbird.
    Thanks again!
    You really are such a nice guy:)

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Monique!😃💕 Hope you find something useful in this mix! I don’t think I have a hummingbird there though… 😊 hehe… which I was pretty sure I did at one point. I’ll be adding more and more as I find them on various backup discs, etc.

  2. dapplegrey 6 years ago

    What a lovely thought Charlie! Thanks for the gift of your wonderful photo library. I wondered – do you have any pictures of people, and particularly faces? There’s an iPhone app called Sketchy full of hundreds of faces that people post themselves for artists to practice drawing from – but I have an android phone and there’s no app for android. Very frustrating. I particularly want to practice drawing faces and features of different kinds. Do you think there’s any way you could add a collection of faces? Could any of your readers generously contribute photos!?? Just a thought!

    • Author

      Thanks! Happy you liked this! 😃💕 That’s a great thought! I’m actually adding a “Human Curiosities” section to the mix soon, but not as many faces as I’d hoped. The recognizable portraits were fine in my previous context, but to release them as royalty-free photos like this might not be okay without a model release in some cases. I’ll have to keep digging through my archives and see what I can come up with! I don’t currently have a way for people to upload images the way my site is hosted, so I’ll have to figure out how to do that.

  3. joyacey 6 years ago

    Charlie, Do you believe the Universe provides us with what we need? I do. You are that blessing to me. Thank you. I’m a children’s poet and I have been struggling keeping my blog going this year. The format is fairly simple– a picture, a poem to go with the picture, a writing challenge for kids, and an inspirational message or quote. Because I’m a firm believer in copyright I have hesitated to “just grab something off the Internet.” I have preferred to supply my own kid like art. But as you know it takes a lot of time. Now here’s where the story gets more dramatic. On Sunday I was bicycling on the bike trail along the beach just north of Kapaa in Hawaii. I was looking out over the beach trying to see a monk seal that had crawled up on the sand. I wasn’t watching where I was going and I hit one of the posts in the middle of the bridge going over a small inlet. The posts are there to keep motorized vehicles from using the bike path. I pitched off my bike, and I fractured my pelvic ring. They tell me it will take 6-8 weeks for it to heal. Long story short, you are a blessing that has come into my life at just the right time. I thank you. I will let you know when I use one of your photos or pieces of art, and I certainly will link back to doddlewash. Mahalo and aloha

    • Author

      What an amazing story!! Wow… I’m glad you’ll be fine and hope you heal more quickly than they tell you. Sending you healing thoughts! 😃💕And thrilled you like the idea of these photos. I thought it better to share them than to let them lanquish on a sight nobody visited, including myself! hehe Hope you’ll find something inspiring to create with them!

  4. Pattie Kelley Fuller 6 years ago

    What a sweetheart you are , Charlie! Thanks for your generosity and the gifts of your photographic talents! You have built something very wonderful for artists here at Doodlewash!

    • Author

      You’re quite welcome Pattie! 😃💕 That’s so sweet of you to say. I hope you’ll find something useful in this assortment. I’ll be adding more photos as I go along!

  5. First Night Design 6 years ago

    Thank you!

  6. Jodi 6 years ago

    thanks for sharing!

  7. Anya 6 years ago

    So generous of you, Charlie! Thank you so much for this 🙂

  8. Pao Alfonso 6 years ago


  9. Snehal Kank 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! That’s wonderful 👍🏼

    • Author

      My pleasure, Snehal!! 😊💕 I’ll add more as I uncover them… hehe… but this should be a good start. Hope you’ll find something inspiring!

  10. Sharon Nolfi 6 years ago

    Thank you, Charlie, for these terrific photos! I’m wishing you a Happy Birthday Month and all good things throughout the coming year.

  11. Carol 6 years ago

    Awesome, Charlie! Thanks for your generosity!!

  12. Sew it up Buttercup 6 years ago

    Thank you Charlie. Your blog has inspired me to take up water colours. I have set myself the goal of doing one small doodlewash a day. I find it very relaxing and enjoyable. Your photos will inspire me to try painting new things and extend myself. Thank you for sharing your gift of kindness with us.

    • Author

      Awww I’m SO happy to hear that!! Yay!! I’m thrilled to know you’ve decided to doodlewash as well. It’s so incredibly fun! Happy painting my friend!! 😃💕

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    This is an incredibly generous thing to do, so thank you from the bottom of my heart and the top of my head. I am not a photographer (which end of the camera do you dip into the paint?) and I planned when I started my blog to illustrate each post with a simple piece of my own art. Good grief, it was hard enough to get the posts done (and I’m a week behind today) so no art unless I can find a freebie.

    Thank you thank you. I will give correct credit when I use anything – big giant smile here. Very grateful.

    • Author

      Awesome!! Would love it if you can find a place for these, Sharon!! 😃💕 yay! I’m happy to do it. No sense in letting all this stuff just sit there if people might be able to do something creative with it!

  14. debiriley 6 years ago

    Wow, stunning shots Charlie! you’re very generous. you have a great eye, and whatever Camera you have – wow!
    I really liked what you said about things just sitting around …… I’ve recently started to go thru my library of art books, & am giving 3/4 of them away. someone, needs to get use from these things.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Debi! 😃💕 Yeah… I figured… It’s silly to just keep these things around for posterity… why not share! I love your idea… I now have a stack of sketchbooks. I should give them away as well!

      • debiriley 6 years ago

        its funny, sometimes giving a single piece of paper makes someone’s day. you never know…. 🙂 cheers Charlie!!

  15. artbynao 6 years ago

    I think this is amazing! Thanks for helping out artist every where!

  16. Steve Whitworth 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your amaximng photos and talent, very much appreciated.

  17. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Thanks Charlie! (K)

  18. tayslowe 6 years ago

    This is cool! 😀

  19. Miriam's Art 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing…great post!

  20. Fantine Ponter 5 years ago

    Thank you Charlie!

  21. Thrilled with these photos for reference for my paintings. You are such a generous and talented guy! Thanku so much. I am thrilled to have come accross you in my art journey. Thanku!

  22. Brenda Mohr 4 years ago

    Thanks so much Charlie. These photos are fun to see and you are so generous to share them with all of us. Happy Birthday month 🎂!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      My pleasure!! So thrilled you found them and hope you find something lovely to sketch and paint here! 😃💕

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